This is a giveaway post that goes to a great cause. There are details at the bottom.
(For the record, the originator of this post is a straight male who very much supports equal rights.)
I have the privilege of knowing some amazing people. There’s Allie, the winner of the Accelerade comeback contest and a future Ironman whom I’ve blogged about recently. There’s the Eskamani twins, the leaders of UCF’s College Democrats who have been commended by Barack Obama for their work on his campaigns.
And then there’s my friend Camille, the founder of a Tumblr called Gay Writes.
I know Camille from my days at the Poynter Institute, where I participated in and then volunteered at the High School Journalism Program. Camille was a student in the program during the summer when I volunteered.
At Poynter, and in college journalism schools, instructors talk about self-branding a lot. Find your own voice, they say. Cover a niche, they say. Instructors, professionals in the business and all the journalism blogs swear up and down that the most successful journalists in tomorrow’s world will make a name for themselves using their own blogs, podcasts and websites, as opposed to being signed on by Rolling Stone or the New York Times.
Despite all the rhetoric and lectures, though, most journalism students see the self-made journalist story as a sort of fairy tale. Sure, there are examples from our generation, like Jeremy Porter and Suzanne Yada, who have made their websites into must-haves for the RSS readers of young journalists, most of us talk ourselves out of even trying for that path. Instead, we opt for the easier route of stringing along internships and entry-level positions in small-town papers, quietly moving up a step every few years or so until we hit our mid-30’s.
But Camille, to use an over-quoted line, has taken the road less traveled. In June 2010, when she was a sophomore in Northwestern’s journalism program, she made a Tumblr called GayWrites as a class project. Most blogs created as part of a class get a little bit of action in the beginning of their lives, but when the class ends they grind to a halt. (I know I have a few that have languished after their classes ended.)I followed it in the beginning just to show support for a fellow Poynter veteran, but I didn’t think anything would come of it.
Camille, it seems, didn’t get the memo that she should slack off. She started covering the gay community tirelessly through her new blog, and it slowly began to grow. I remember when she was excited about having 50 followers. And then 100. And then she was ecstatic when she reached 250.
Last time I checked, she was sitting at more than 15,000 followers spread out over 90 countries.
Camille has worked her ass off on this blog, and it’s been paying off for her. She posts at least three times per day and collates news from all sorts of sources, including news sites and human rights organizations. She does all her own research (and gives credit to those who give her story tips, including Yours Truly), writes and edits all her own commentary, and is responsible for all of the upkeep and moderation on her blog.
In short, Camille is a shining example of a new model of journalism, an inspiration to me and a genuinely good person who has worked hard to build something wonderful.
Now here’s the deal: Up until now, Camille hasn’t made any money from her work with GayWrites. She doesn’t have ads on her site, and the one contest her blog was entered into that paid any money was stolen using vote hacking. She does accept donations, but they go to cover the costs of running a website that has gotten more than 160,000 hits since the last time she reset her counter.
This is changing. As you can see from the post below, she’s turning GayWrites into a nonprofit corporation, which means the site will be able to support itself through ads. It will also raise money to help found gay-straight alliances in schools, which is a cause that will help many, many teenagers struggling to find their way in life.
To do that, Camille is selling GayWrites bumper stickers through her blog for just $2 plus shipping. All proceeds go to pay for the process to incorporate GayWrites as a 501(c)3.
I just bought five. You can get yours here.
But I only have one car, so I’m going to try doing a giveaway for the other four.
Here are the rules:
I’ll hold this giveaway for a month, from now until March 13, 2012. You must reblog this, from either me or someone who has reblogged it, in its entirety to enter the contest. (Read: likes don’t count.) I’ll be giving out four GayWrites bumper stickers to four random rebloggers, the names of which will be drawn at the end of the month. Following me is appreciated but won’t help you win the contest (unless you believe in Karma.) Following GayWrites won’t help you win either, but is highly encouraged. And finally, while multiple reblogs are great for getting the word about about supporting Camille, only one entry is allowed per blog for the entirety of this contest. I’ll post the winners in March, and they’ll get a message from me.
If I’ve missed anything in the above rules, use common sense and don’t try to find a loophole. If you don’t win the drawing, don’t have a Tumblr or you just don’t want to wait a month for a sticker, please support Camille and buy a sticker for yourself.
Thanks for reblogging. Have a nice day.
Camille’s original post is below:
I’ve been hinting at big news for GayWrites for a couple weeks now, and it’s finally time to reveal what I’ve been working on.
First: the site is getting a redesign. Starting in a few weeks, GayWrites will have a whole new look. You’ll get the same coverage of LGBT news and media,…
It’s officially Spring semester 2012. How does this make me feel? Scared, eager, worried, excited. This will be another post about how a year ago I was at my worst and my lowest and how still to this day I am baffled by how far I’ve come.
At RUF this week, Ande started talking about James and how he deems himself as a slave to God and that’s his calling card and what we’re slaves to. He said that we like to get our ducks all in a row and Jesus loves to come and knock them all out of the way and make us start all over.
This analogy is exactly what happened to me and I’m still scared that it will happen again. I’m scared that I’m going to plan for the future and attempt to figure out what I’m doing with my life and God is going to tell me that, yet again, I’m not listening to Him and He’s going to make me start all over again.
I’m worried because I’m afraid. I’m still walking on eggshells not only with my future, but also with relationships. For some reason, I don’t want to get close to anyone, I’m holding a lot of people at arms length and I don’t know why or how to embrace them properly. I’m worried that I’m going to show them my issues and my hurt and they’re going to abandon me, which is a silly stupid fear. I’m worried that everyone will leave and I’ll be alone. Maybe this is what God needs for me, for everyone to be gone so I have no choice but to lean on him.
I’m eager because my future is there. I can reach it and possibly even touch it. I’m ready to jump into it all and wade around in the water. My future is bright again and my life is back on track and I’m in such a better and more hopeful place. I have plans. My mother is a bit baffled at what I’m planning, but I’m ready. I’m still very worried that this will all collapse, but I’m ready.
I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the mess in front of me: grad apps, job apps, new apartments, new cities. I’m excited to go off on this crazy adventure that is the rest of my life. The plans I’m making are exciting and awesome and new, things I had never ever imagined before. And they are close, but I have to reel it in and remember to graduate undergrad first. I need to remember to put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time.
I’m unsure with where I’m going and when it will be, but I know it’s soon. I’m learning how to trust God with everything in my life, which is harder than I thought it would be.
"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center."
I read this quote today and it struck something in me. I often want to be in the center of everything. I want to be on everyone’s minds, I want to be the person that people always think of and the person they want to do things with. I have so many different groups of friends, but I want to be the center of all of them. I am so selfish when it comes to this. I often feel lonely when I think the center of a certain group is doing something and I wasn’t invited.
But, I am on the edge, just as everyone else is. I am on the outside, just like everyone else. The older I get the more thrilled I think I am to be on the edge. I like to be alone now, solitude and loneliness are two very different things. Here out on the edge, I see things differently. I am free to be only me and not worry about what every one else is thinking about me. I am breaking free of the chains that society has bound on me. Even though my family still teases me, my friends sometimes are no where to be found, I am on the edge. Looking at all the beauty the world still holds.
I have to be careful on the edge, because just like Kurt, I want to keep looking, as far as I can, but I have to be careful not to fall. And I often do fall over the edge. But I climb back up and keep looking over.
This is a post I made when I first found out that I did badly on my grades, it’s interesting that this is the moment and the start of a lot of my problems, but I’m still so hopeful.
here is your warning *if you do not give a shit about my life then don’t read this*
So I got my grades back for the semester, 2 D’s 1 D+ and 1 C. Yup, I did that awesome.. I’m so disappointed in myself. I feel like my whole life everyone told me I was so smart and that I was going to go so far in life. But I feel like I’ve hit this huge wall, like *smack* hit it without seeing it, forehead is red cuz I hit it so hard type of wall.
The problem is, I think, is that I have no direction. I do not know what I want to do, what kind of job I like, where I want to be, none of that bull crap stuff. No idea whatsoever. I’m so sick of people telling me it’s ok not to know. It’s not, I’m almost 20 years old, I feel like I’ve wasted two years of my life attempting to get a degree in something science related because that’s what I’m expected to do. I’m suppose to be awesome when it comes to science, and be so driven and all that.
Honestly, I’m just lazy and tired. I don’t want to do science anymore, but I’m not good at anything else. I’m looking at other majors, and I’m awful at all the topics I’d have to study. On top of that I already have two years worth of science credits that would go down the drain and not count for anything. I understand that maybe I shouldn’t be in college, but then what do I do? How does one even go about finding a real job without having a college degree? Does this mean I’ll be working in a fast food joint for the rest of my life? I wanted so much more than that, I don’t want an average life. If that means no college, so be it, but I don’t want to settle. I want adventure, and I want to help people! I want to make a difference.
But how can I make a difference in the world, when I can’t even help myself? I love reading books and interviews about these people who move to India and liberate people from sex-trafficking, or people who move to Africa and help the Invisible Soldiers. I feel like I want to help these people, heck I even want to help the homeless in Orlando. But how do I make a life out of that? In order to help these people I need, money. And security. I have to be able to take care of myself before I can help them. I have to be able to get to India, or Africa before I can help them. In order to do this I need a job, one that pays well. But I’ve been so lazy my whole life and I’ve only have like one real job on top of random babysitting.
I’m also afraid that if I do get a job now while I’m attempting classes I’ll do even worse than I already am. I don’t want to flunk out of college, that would feel like the end of the world.
I know that God has big plans for me. I understand that I’m in this rut because I was doing something wrong and it wasn’t in His plans. But just once, I’d like a map. Just a map that I could look at and realize that a month from now, a year from now, it would all be better, I would know where I’d end up, where I was headed, it would all be easy. I want an easy life, but I know that’s not going to happen. My life is this complicated mess for a reason. It sucks. I’m am at rock bottom, completely empty, lost… but I will find my way. I just pray that it’s somewhere I’ll know… I guess. Obviously what I want is not what God wants.. sometimes that is the hardest thing to hear and to admit.
It’s officially December: simultaneously the best and worst time of the year. It’s almost finals week and I find myself reflecting back on this semester. What did I do, what do I have to show for it?? Did I waste another 4 months pretending like I know what I’m doing with my life?
I thought I had semi-answered the question of what I want to do with the rest of my life. Sitting here tonight and thinking about life after college, I realize I’m still just as lost as I was three years ago. Instead of creating a clearer path, I created a mess of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mess my life is. I love that I’m stuck in the wilderness indefinitely. The wilderness is a magical weird place that I feel like I will wander in for the rest of my life. There are so many paths in front of me, but I just want to stop and look around awhile. Look above at the sun streaming through the trees as the wind blows their leaves. Feel the leaves crunch under my feet. See all the wonder and beauty that God has created.
But, the world has another plan for my life. I constantly struggle with the balance between what I think God wants for me and what I want for me. I find myself getting trapped inside this lie that society has created for what a successful life looks like. I’m afraid to stray from the norm sometimes. But, I know this with every fiber of my being, God has never ever ever planned for me to fit in with the norm. I was born to stand out and step up and lead a different life. My family will never understand, my friends may think I’m insane, and I may doubt myself everyday, but I was made for so much more than the lies that the world had told me.
What does this look like? I don’t know, you should know this by now, I have no idea what the heck is going on. But it’s nice to sit in my unknowing and trust that God has a bigger plan for my life, one bigger than anything I could ever imagine. I invite you to forget your plans and learn to truly live, because ten years down the road is too far away, today is still not over.
He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
It is probably too early this Sunday for me to be writing this post, but I’ve been putting it off long enough and there’s no time like the present, right?
What do you do when you think you’re sliding back to where you were a year ago? You were standing on a nice smooth granite slab on the edge of a cliff, and you weren’t worried one bit, you were strong enough to stand there and be strong and move on. Then one day, out of absolutely no where, you fall, slip on a slippery bit of the slab, but it’s so smooth there is no where to grab on to. So, you slip and slide slowly down the side of the cliff wishing you had never moved an inch.
But that’s the hard part about change. Sometimes you can move forward to a healthy place, but sometimes you fall down, down into the same pit you were stuck in for so long. You thought you knew how to stay out, you thought you knew everything about that kind of hurt, but in reality, you were just lying to yourself, yet again. I’d like to say that this is new and I’m confused with how I got here, but in reality I probably saw it coming when it was a mile away, but being the stubborn person that I am, I ignored it. It was far enough away that I didn’t need to worry, I was so good and so long past that pain. And then one day, boom. It hits me, like a sack of potatoes to the face, that unbearable pain and hurt that has no reason to be there.
Saying it’s a chemical imbalance could be true, but maybe there is no happy ending with me. Maybe I’m doomed to be stuck in this limbo of a being stuck and getting unstuck. I’m getting whiplash from the seasons in my life that keep drastically changing. I like to tell myself I’m a good person, when maybe the reality is, I’m not. I get tired of fighting and struggling, and sometimes the only thing you can do instead of slipping is to stand up with your arms out-stretched and free-fall backwards into the dark abyss because you know you’ll find your way out.
(and any other celebrity getting crap from everyone)
I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and Coldplay. I had gotten the album A Rush of Blood to the Head for Christmas one year and didn’t really bother with it, til I was 14 and on a bus in the middle of Nice, France. I was feeling lonely and miserable even though I was visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world. That is when I thought I’d give that album a try and put it into my portable CD player. My life was changed forever. Your lyrics and the music brought me to life, feelings I didn’t even know I felt were being played for me through my giant headphones. I’m convinced I listen to that album on repeat for an entire year.
Then X&Y came out, and just when I though you guys couldn’t exceed my expectations, you did. This album was also when I realized that many people don’t love you guys the way I do. I started hearing about how you guys sold out, and that you guys made crappy music… were they listening to the same stuff I was? X&Y had to be one of the best selling albums when it came out, yet, people seemed to hate it. You started getting crap about being an awful person, a socialist, and anti-American.
Every time one of Coldplay’s albums come out, I am reminded of the saving power that music can have. It renews my soul. It breaks my heart when every review I read talks about how people think you are a crappy person, do they even know you??? I do not believe for one second that someone who can write the lyrics for Every Teardrop is a Waterfall can be this awful person that everyone else says you are. I simply can’t believe it, until I’m sitting down drinking tea with you and hear it straight from your mouth. Until that moment, I will forever be a devoted and loyal fan. Screw the haters, they’re just jealous.