Say ‘Hey’ To The New .Gay Domains!

Image via Top Level Domain & humberto chavez on Unsplash

Say “Hey” To .gay!

Gay visibility on the internet is getting a new upgrade!

The domain name company Top Level Design is publicly releasing a .gay domain extension to support the LGBTQ community. Starting September 16, anyone who wishes to buy a website domain will have the option of it ending with .gay!

This new top level domain name by Top Level Design has been a long time coming and is the result of a “near decade-long application process.” Part of that long process was working alongside LGBTQ organizations like GLAAD to make sure that LGTBQ people and our wishes were at the very heart of this endeavor. Then, the company went through a test period where several early adopters like Instinct Magazine, George Takei, Roxane Gay, PFLAG, and more were able to acquire .gay domains and troubleshoot the process. And then, of course, the company had to contend with a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. BUT, this has all led to this eventual release of the .gay top level domain.

But that’s not the only good news! 20% of the revenue from all .gay domain registrations will go towards LGBTQ organizations GLAAD and CenterLink. GLAAD is a media watchdog that supports the erasure of LGBTQ discrimination and CenterLink is a global hub for LGBTQ centers that support local communities. Plus, some domain registrars like Namecheap will be giving 3% of their revenue, with a total commitment of up to $10,000, to these organizations too!

In addition, .gay has a joint project in the form of a new web series called The Library. The Library, which was directed by Courtney Eck, Aubree Bernier-Clarke, and Sarah Whelden, helps to explain many of the common (and uncommon) terminology and concepts found within the LGBTQ Community.

Image via Top Level Domain

An Interview

But why is Top Level Design putting in all of this work to create visibility and space for LGTBQ people online? We spoke to Logan Lynn, Top Level Design’s Public Relations Director, to find out.

Instinct: What is your vision with .gay?

Logan Lynn: I personally hope the whole world gets gayed at some point, so I’m all for any way we can help push that agenda forward — online and in real life. With .gay specifically, we’re creating a dedicated, safer space for LGBTQ communities around the world, and the spirit behind .gay is that the platform is here for everyone. We’re committed to highlighting the depth and breadth of LGBTQ communities, in all of our diversity, with everything we put out as a brand. .gay brings together national organizations, local community centers, activists, businesses, gaylebrities, and others who are allied with our communities.

It’s really fun to already be seeing so many inclusive, welcoming domains acting as a virtual Pride flag by way of their .gay names. It’s like a very gay bat signal! When I first started working with .gay, I was moved by the historical weight of the word “gay” and that huge moment fifty years ago at the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day march when our people rose up, shouting  “Gay is Good!” as they marched together to stand up as their true selves, in daylight, against persecution, bigotry and hate. It’s that spirit and history that inspired us to create .gay. It’s 50 years later, and you know what! Gay is STILL good.

Instinct: What prompted the early adopters process with orgs like Instinct, celebs like George Takei, etc.? How did that process go? 

LL: We know there isn’t an all-encompassing LGBTQ experience, so it was imperative before launching .gay that we work within our LGBTQ network and community at-large early on to learn from a variety of lived experiences. We listened with friends, family, colleagues, and leaders in LGBTQ and technology spaces to get it right, and every moment of that was time well spent. Early adopters like Instinct, were a part of that collaborative process too, so it was natural that once it came to launching, they would be among the first to proudly have new .gay sites up and running.

We knew we were on the right track after doing extensive research and surveying people from all over. We found that more than half of LGBTQ community members said they would likely use a .gay site because they see it adding value to their overall online experiences, and we have really leaned into that ever since. From day one we have taken a real “Nothing about us without us” approach, so all of our policies, all of our marketing, all of our engagement strategies, were born in community.   

What prompted your project, “The Library?”

LL: With the launch of .gay, we wanted to create a gay “library” where anyone could visit and learn, in bite-size portions – information that we all crave as members of LGBTQ communities and that allies should know. The Library, will be an ongoing web series and essentially a record of all the bits of queer life or education that are at risk of being lost or misinterpreted. It’s really funny, super touching, and there are 10 episodes in Season 1 in all. We created the show in partnership with Two Penguins Productions, who I’ve worked with on several projects over the years. They are a talented bunch and I love their work. The show stars Gregory Gourdet from Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef All Stars, Kaia Wilson from 90s grunge rock band Team Dresch, myself, and a bunch of other folks who I adore.

What were some ups and downs with establishing .gay and “The Library?”

LL: For the Library, shooting a series at this level during a global pandemic was a real challenge, but we pulled it off — under super intense safety protocols — and I just could not be happier with how the show turned out. The process of pivoting with Covid and having an entirely new set of protocols for creating this type of thing was really intense, though. I’m super proud of the show, and just as proud of how seriously we took safety throughout the process. It was very .gay of us, tbh. 

And with .gay as a whole, bringing a new domain to market is a complicated process and took nearly a decade to come out!  There have been many folks involved along the way and we’re excited that it’s finally happening. It’s cool to watch all of that strategic planning come to life. We knew that it was essential to get it right and make sure that .gay directly benefits LGBTQ people — both online and in the physical world. The goal is to create an inclusive, welcoming future for all of us, where we are seen, supported and celebrated – I think we’ve accomplished that.

And, lastly, which part of.gay or all of the factors involved are you most proud of?

LL: I have a long history of being a publicly gay, out and loud about it person — in my life, music, on TV — and it’s no secret that I have experienced massive amounts of really gross, painful, homophobic abuse and trolling as a result. I know I’m not alone in that experience. So for me, .gay and its bottom line mission to create a safer space for LGBTQ communities, feels deeply personal. .gay is an important moment for all of us — for our gay history — and really feels like the next step for LGBTQ representation online. I’m so proud to be a part of that, and I am seriously excited to watch this corner of the internet get even gayer!

Get Your .gay Domain!

Doesn’t that all sound amazing?! If you’re interested in acquiring your own .gay domain, you can pre-order your domain now and the official launch is September 16!

What do you think?