I took over responsibility for the Dayton Gay Men's Chorus
website this month. Our director, Gregg Sewell, set it up, and it looks pretty, but it got stale to the point that our March concert wasn't advertised on it until a week beforehand.
Now, I'm definitely not criticizing Gregg for not keeping on top of the site because when it comes to stale websites, I live in a glass house and because Gregg's responsible for a lot, from picking music to preparing for rehearsals and retreats to finding musicians to getting demo recordings made. But still an up-to-date website can be an asset to an organization, so we're going to do better.
The offensive material
Trying to uphold that spirit, I updated the site after our fabulous March Savory Songs and Decadent Desserts
concert to thank everyone who came to that and to promote our Pride concerts in June (the 10th and 17th
). I even posted a fun picture taken in the choir room at Shiloh before the concert.
Well, the picture, or perhaps the caption, or perhaps both, was deemed inappropriate by DGMC's officers and board, and yesterday I was asked to take the pic down pronto, which I did. At first I thought it was an overreaction, but I asked my best friend to look at the site and tell me what he thought, and he did think it was a bit much. I do see that it may not have presented the image that DGMC's board would want for the group, and I agree completely that my role as webmaster is to maintain a site that shows what the board wants shown.
So what image should DGMC project? Part of it is that gay men aren't just about sex, which is an important message. Back in 2004
, DGMC was disinvited from participating in the All Ohio Boychoir Festival because of what they felt people associate with the word "gay." So I can see that saying on our front page that our director was "getting a little horny with the boys before our Savory Songs concert" might not help our cause.
But do we have to pretend to all be characters from Gay as Blazes
, a bunch of noble gay men interested in nothing but culture and good works? Pretending is what it would be. Gay men aren't just about sex, but sex and kidding about sex is part of who we are (a part of who all men are even), as anyone who would attend one of our rehearsals would quickly discover. At times we're like a bunch of junior high boys, laughing about anything that has the slightest sexual connotation.
Nothing to offend here,
and no one to recognize either!
Besides, a staid image, such as the one to the right, which is from our last Christmas concert and appeared on the site until this month, isn't going to convince people like Reformation Ohio
's Rod Parsley
that we're fine upstanding moral citizens who deserve respect and equal rights. The only thing that might please them is if we posted on our front page that we were becoming the Dayton Ex-Gay Men's Chorus.
One more thing about that pic from December: see anyone you know? No, of course, you don't because you're not supposed to. A concern the DGMC board has is that of displaying photographs or names of people in the chorus who don't want to be identified. There are no photos on the site of anyone in the chorus. Members quoted on the who we are page are identified by first names only.
If DGMC were allowed to have but one message, it should be that we're proud of who we are. I realize that not everyone who's gay feels comfortable coming out or is in a place to do so, and that's fine. But if you're singing in this chorus and marching with us for Pride, you have to have reached a certain comfort level in strangers knowing that you're gay. If you're a gay married Republican Southern Baptist preacher, then perhaps joining DGMC isn't the right decision for you.
DGMC's board is going to work on establishing some guidelines for what goes on the site, and it's going to be an interesting discussion. All opinions and viewpoints have to be considered. And I do see that even if we decide that there's room on the site for some fun pictures from rehearsals or parties, such pictures may not be what we want to showcase on the front page (though I do hope we don't try to lock them up tightly in a members-only section — do we really not want non-members to know we have fun?).
Regardless of how DGMC's site develops, I am glad that there's a site over which I have exclusive editorial control. davidlauri.com
may get stale from time to time, but if I ever feel like saying something, I've got a place to say it!