Wiki goes queer with new online LGBT resource

Posted on 01 Mar 2012 at 10:33am

Screen shot of WikiQueer’s homepage.

Yesterday, Wiki came out of the closet launching WikiQueer as a resource of LGBT topics, issues and people. The intent is for the global queer community to document its collective knowledge on the site. The project has been in the works since late 2010.

Read the official announcement after the jump.

Ann Arbor, MI and Washington, DC — February 29, 2012 — The Aequalitas Project has announced the public launch of WikiQueer, the nonprofit’s LGBT wiki program. WikiQueer is a web-based, not for profit, free-content encyclopedia and resource project, based on an openly editable model, specifically for and by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and ally communities.

In a manner similar to Wikipedia, WikiQueer is written collaboratively by volunteers. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to WikiQueer articles — except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. However, unlike Wikipedia, they can also include dynamic content from existing online LGBT and wiki projects, content geared towards activism around issues, and in-depth information on the LGBT communities which may not presently meet Wikipedia’s notability standards.

While development of the website dates back to 2010, WikiQueer has been in a soft launch since July 25th, 2011 preparing for the Inauguration. “I felt drawn to the concept of presenting LGBT information via wikis for years,” said WikiQueer founder and lead administrator, Gregory Varnum. He continued, “Helping with dozens of pages and projects on Wikipedia and assisting with the development of specialized LGBT wiki projects fulfilled some of that. However, I consistently came back to the need for a truly comprehensive wiki by and for the LGBT communities, free of any community politics.”

Content partnerships with organizations like OutHistory and the Movement Advancement Project allows WikiQueer to display live content from other online projects; providing an abundance of dynamic content beyond the traditional encyclopedia entry. This allows WikiQueer to collect, combine and enhance — rather than duplicate — existing work. Including being able to display information continuously updated by Wikipedia. Users can then enhance it with empowering knowledge permitted on WikiQueer, but perhaps not other online resources.

WikiQueer is a program of The Aequalitas Project, a nonprofit organization serving as an incubator for new progressive programs. In addition to The Aequalitas Project, a global advisory board and participating content partners oversee the administrative and strategic aspects of WikiQueer. The global advisory board is a diverse group of individuals from across the globe recognizable within the LGBT and wiki communities. The group of over 25 inaugural members includes Ron Buckmire, Michael Colby, Daniel MacKay, Dan Massey, Cathy McElrath Renna, Guillaume Paumier, H. Alexander Satorie-Robinson, John Shields, James Toy and Shane L. Windmeyer. In addition to this dynamic group, all members of the WikiQueer community are encouraged to provide input on the future direction of WikiQueer and take the initiative to create new content or projects.

Sean Strub, inaugural member of WikiQueer’s global advisory board and founder of POZ Magazine commented, “WikiQueer enables a wealth of information about the LGBT community to be shared. It’s a far cry from the time — not so many years ago — when looking up “homosexual” in the card catalog at a high school library was so often the first step to finding ourselves and each other. I’m looking forward to the creative ways the growing WikiQueer community will develop and utilize the information we share and collectively own.”

WikiQueer’s Inauguration includes the announcement of a number of new initiatives with Campus Pride, Family Equality Council, the Harvey Milk Foundation, LGBTsupports, the Movement Advancement Project, The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, and other LGBT organizations. More information on these initiatives will be announced over the coming weeks on WikiQueer.

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