140 Characters to Freedom

The Gay Revolution Will Be Twittered

fox-news-tweetSacramento Bee Online Content Developer Nathaniel Miller says, “I first learned about the Iowa gay marriage Supreme Court ruling from Twitter.” He’s not alone. On Friday, “Iowa State Supreme Court” was the highest trending topic on the site, highlighting how Twitter has quickly become integrated into our daily lives, or at least the lives of the hyper-wired. For gays and lesbians, the service, which allows users to blast short messages of up to 140 characters each, has become not only a source of news, but a way for communities to connect. We asked the gay Twitter horde (by Twitter, naturally), how they’re using it and who they’re following. If you’re just getting started with Twitter or want the inside scoop on the best of the LGBT Twitterverse, look no further.

How Gays are Using Twitter

Twitter was originally designed to allow people to give short status update, essentially answering the question, “What are you doing now?” But in practice, the service has become much more, especially when it comes to news. The immediacy of Twitter, coupled with its ability to deliver messages to your phone or web-client, means that breaking news is even more, to coin a Colbert-ism, “breakier.” All the major news services use Twitter to deliver headlines, but for LGBT folks, gay-specific LGBT twitter news accounts serve as one-stop gay wire news services. Camilo Arenivar of L.A. says Twitter “can be used for news reliably, I like it more for that than anything else, it can be incredibly useful for specialized news.” Kevin Cobb of Ft. Lauderdale explains that “I follow @qrty and @tlrd for national news + entertainment; @SteveRothaus for South Florida news.”

Twitter’s not just for breaking news, however. Unlike traditional one-way media, Twitter allows users to respond to each other, meaning that news becomes a conversation. Consider Same Sex Sunday, an idea hatched by the kids over at the Billerico project. The concept is simple: Tell folks about your favorite gay Twitterers and include the “hash tag” (a way of making similar tweets easily searchable) #samesexsunday. By putting like-minded folks in touch with each other, news carries.

The community aspect of Twitter had special significance for LGBT people the last few months in a way that is both radical and practical. As Prop. 8 protesters marched and rallied for equality, they used the service to organize and keep each other abreast of what was going on as it happened. Bao-Viet Nguyen of California says Twitter is “great to follow during marches and rallies… [I] got updates on March route changes, celeb sightings, police activity, new “chants” going on in other parts of the march, etc…” I have personal experience with this. During the Prop. 8 marches in L.A. I used my Twitter account (that’s japhy79, folks) to keep updated with fellow marchers as well as get news about where the police were moving crowds and let those at home get an on-the-ground view of the marches. Prop. 8 protester Mark Oshiro tweeted his arrest after an altercation with a Yes on 8 supporter and the news was up online in minutes. As civil organizing tool, Twitter is an ad-hoc Nextel device on steroids.

10 Gay Twitterers You Need to Follow

So, who should you be following? We asked around and here are the hottest LGBT twitters out there today (as well as some personal favorites):

qbug_bigger @qrty: Oh, sure its self-promotion, but Queerty’s own Twitter feed was mentioned by nearly every person we asked (and on Twitter, anyone can reply to you, so it wasn’t just our friends). You get our latest posts sent to you as soon as they’re posted, plus we often live-tweet important events, such as the inauguration and the Prop 8 Supreme Court hearings, giving our Twitter followers a sneak peek at our news stories as they happen.

t_lit_up_towle_bigger @tlrd: Andy Towle’s twitter account is a rehash of what’s on his site, but the man has mad skills at covering New York gay news and gay violence reports. Since we’re talking about Towle Road, his last name is pronounced “toll.” We only mention it because everyone keeps talking to us about Andy “Towlie.” Consider it our good citizen move of the day.

davidbadash2009a_bigger @davidbadash: New York based LGBT activist David Badash is Twitter’s gay uncle. In addition to keeping folks updated with news, he can be awfully chatty and enjoys discussing the latest news with people who reply.

fb_prop8_logo_button_bigger @noonprop8: Love or hate em’, Equality California’s Twitter account is a great source for authoritative news about the LGBT struggle in California.

g_bigger @gaysdotcom: While we don’t have time for the world’s “social network” for gays and lesbians, Gays.com’s twitter feed is uniformly excellent, pulling up stories that don’t get covered elsewhere.

qs_logo_twitter_bigger @queersighted: A very gossipy London-based feed, you’re as likely to get tips about how to date via iPhone as you are to hear news about UK gay issues.

flyer05-both-h_bigger @qpocc: A good example of an “event-based” Twitter, Queer People of Color is covering the conference by the same name held this weekend at UC Davis. Feeds like this become watering wells for participants before, during and after the event, keeping the discussion going long after you’re back home.

sig_mug_bigger @msignorile: Michelangelo Signorile’s own feed is an inside look at the work that goes into his radio show (as well as the occasional random discussion about glue traps) and a good example of a “celebrity” twitter done right.

overtun8_crop_bigger @JoinTheImpact: The official Twitter of the Join the Impact site is a great resource for the latest demonstrations and protests across the country, if you can wade through the middle-school-esque acronyms and overuse of exclamation marks.

rainbowflag_bigger @queerunity: A little gem of a Twitter feed, Queer Unity is a San Francisco based feed that wears its activist heart on its sleeve. Worth following just to see the occasional flame wars that erupt between them and social conservatives who provoke them via tweets.

Are you on Twitter? Who are you following? Share with us in the comments.

–Japhy Grant

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  • douglasgibsonjr

    @goodasyou – 1st to get me the news about Iowa
    @dayofdecision – actions that will be occuring when the CA supreme court announces its decision
    @GavinNewsome – following Mayor Newsome’s campaign for Governor
    @theNER – the National Equality Rally

  • H

    @greymattermusic – all girl ;) folk rock

  • Mark Woods

    Great article, strongest point is its informative brevity. Very good stuff for me, but what about my scores of consumerist gay a-political friends who haven’t the slightest interest in anything activist, radical or political?

    It seems to me that another more comprehensive and inclusive gay twitter revolution is occurring that doesn’t acknowledge or privilege those of us in the educated elite.

    And its partly dating/porn-driven, but it’s more about relationships (i.e., work, home, community) and pop culture, it seems to me.

  • Tanya

    @girlports is all about lesbian travel

  • Pet Rock

    “140-character ‘relationships'”? How deeeeep!

    The mentally-poor man’s e-mail.

    For decades the parallel dimension of the Planet Clueless was populated by tourists traveling thousands of miles only to experience his/her vacation, the endless wonders of the world and every living thing, through the tiny viewfinder of his/her camera; then it was the cell phone; then the world seen through LCD camera “windows”;then Blackberrys; then the iPod Touch with e-mail; then the iPhone…that is when they weren’t running into each other literally or trees or, quelle amusant, “telephone poles” or, worse still, while driving (“Woman gets six years for flaming fatal texting crash”)…now something else to hasten their social crypt er cocoon.

    Another Techier Than Thou fad for those whose social skills stopped at gazing at themselves in the mirror, perfectly portrayed by Samantha Bee on “The Daily Show” who complained that her Stalker had just Grunted on her Twitter.


    A pseudo revolutionary tool for a pseudo revolution perfectly illustrated by @JoinTheImpact:

  • Mad Professah

    You can also follow me at


    and there are lots of other bloggers that I follow like


  • James

    @Mark Woods:

    I totally second this!! I also object to the intense male-born-male, “gay” identified amount of Twitterers listed. Where are the trans people? Where are the lesbians? Where are the queer people of color listed?

    Just like Out magazine, there’s a lot of underrepresented groups here.

    @cindyscott54 – lesbian musician
    @MassTPC – Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
    @qpocc – Queer People of Color Coference (UCDavis)
    @ethanethan – trans radical activist
    @brandonlacycamp – gay person of color in nyc

  • rogue dandelion

    twitter is everything that is wrong with our culture. abbreviated and largely anonymous interactions, necessity for the sake of newness, stupid stupid new verbs- count me out.

  • Bil Browning

    @James: #transtuesday is tomorrow :)

    Thanks for the shout-out about #samesexsunday Japhy! If folks want to follow Bilerico Project it’s @bilericoproject I’m @bilerico and Michael Crawford is @dmcrawford We had a lot of fun starting #samesexsunday and it ended up one of the most used hashtags of the day yesterday. :)

  • Matt

    @ProjectQAtlanta for LGBT news from Atlanta and Georgia.

  • sam

    I’m @swizzard.
    I don’t follow that many queer tweets, but @stephenfry is awesome.

  • Ragemanchoo82

    LMAO ^_^ “How gays are using twitter”? For real? To hook up. Duh.

  • Project Reveal

    @ProjectReveal – a smart new social network for lesbians and the whole LGBT community, plus straight allies, aimed at connecting and rallying to effect the future.

  • AladinSane

    @cobracommander (hilarious)

    And a note for those that hate on Twitter, just because you don’t find something useful doesn’t mean that others won’t. Technophobes are almost as annoying as homophobes.

  • Lyndon Evans

    On Thursday April 2 I sent over a hundred tweets covering the same-sex marriage vote in the Vermont House on the Twitter feed for my blogsite LGBT Rainbow Links Newscenter.

    Tweets started about 3:30 PM and went until 9:30 PM with a bit over an hour break while the House was in a dinner recess.

    While not twittering every minute, I was able to provide links to live tv or radio coverage via websites and tell readers of the Twitter feed what was going on and even what was said at times.

    Having been in radio broadcasting and doing play-by-play, twittering such an event is much like covering a basketball or football game except the fingers are going instead of the mouth.

    It was quite an experiance to do this and one I will do again if a news event comes around that would warrant it.

    I use the Twitter feed daily to let readers know what LGBT news stories have been linked in the newscenter and also for any breaking LGBT news.

    Twitter has become a very effect communication tool for me as an LGBT journalist and publisher.

    The Twitter for The LGBT Rainbow Links Newscenter is:


  • Lance J. Gosnell

    As the executive director of the Bayard Rustin Social Justice Center I have an account on twitter which is listed as bayardrustinsjc. We follow many of if not all of the top ten list but are always seeking more followers

  • Gay Dreamer

    Thanks for this article. Its really exciting to be able to see all of the different ways we can use social media to carry the voice. I went ahead and followed all the names mentioned above.


  • Nick Henderson

    Shameless self promotion here but if you want to be first to hear about Same Sex Marriage in Scotland and other UK LGBT issues follow


  • LGF

    The UK-based Lesbian & Gay Foundation are Twittering @lgfoundation – please follow us and send us your suggestions/recommendations.

  • Sam


  • GLSENLeigh

    @dayofsilence : for up-to-date info on the upcoming Day of Silence, April 17!

    @glsen : to learn what’s going on in the safe schools movement.

  • Dean Meyers

    @harveymilk – you must follow him, a Philadelphia favorite and activist

  • Caprifool

    @Caprifool a gay swede/american living on a farmette in rural Sweden.

  • Fair Wisconsin


    Statewide organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

  • Danielle Stern

    oh, and my Twitter feed is @daniellestern

  • menina digital

    I am the co founder of a Brazilian site made specially for lesbians written in portuguese. For the Brazilian girls that look for a social network made from brazilian lesgirlz TheSaltoAlto.com is your place. Follow us @thesaltoalto

  • Bradley Traynor

    The staff over at Big Gay News would like to plug themselves (since they’re so darned good at it):

    @biggaynews – daily headlines and podcasts
    @biggaynoticias – lgbt news from spanish language media
    @biggaynouvelles – lgbt news from french language media

  • @journalistnate

    Thanks for the mention. Once I saw the headline, I wasn’t sure which direction this post would be going. Your post should be helpful to anyone following this story.

    At The Sacramento Bee, we regularly look for Prop. 8 stories and gay marriage / civil union stories across the nation. Feel feel to add @sacbee_news to your list of followers.

  • Ragemanchoo82

    So apparently the Twilight author gave a bunch of money to the Prop 8 campaign, secretly. Or at least, she thought it would be secret.

  • TwaggotNYC


    local meetups for gays in the NYC area

  • Lesbian Cafe

    You have picked some great ones for the top 10. I love them all. Twitter is a great place to find great LGBT people and companies/organizations to connect with. Come join us all for a tweet. You will feel the love I promise!

Comments are closed.