Last week, I was invited to speak at UCSD with the GLBT student association. I was asked to talk about issues legally important and relevant to the GLBT community. Preparing for that talk was more difficult than I had anticipated. I wanted my talk to impact each student directly, and not be some amorphous discussion forgotten as soon as it was over.
Being seven years out of an undergraduate program myself, I had to think hard about what a group of GLBT students preparing to work in today's economy and legal/political landscape would benefit most from, in a 20 minute talk.
Blogging is where I found my answer.
Before the talk, I visited the local UCSD pub. The owner, who himself is not gay, was hugely supportive of the GLBT association and was honored to have me and some of its members in his pub. In fact, he hosts many of the social events for the student association, despite his pub's floor damage caused by the recent San Diego rains.
After a quick drink, I made my way up to the GLBT center, which, to my amazement was the GLBT's center's size. It is enormous! It has a library, video library, seating/tv viewing lounge, break room, conference room, kitchen, three offices, reception area, private study room, and many hallways decorated with current news and events.
The welcome was extremely warm, and the number of students attending the talk exceeded 50.
Wanting to focus on each individual as well as the GLBT group, I began my talk by introducing myself. Moments into this introduction, however, I was interrupted by a question wanting to know what my PGP is. I had never heard of this before. Immediately, I felt a little out of place and lost. Luckily, one student sitting next to me noticed my nervousness and quickly stated, "your preferred gender pronoun?" Quickly, I answered "he," but still felt nervous, wanting to talk more about this question to calm myself. Nevertheless, I moved on because the group itself appeared already comfortable to a question I learned later was routinely asked.
Upon reflection, however, I can see today how this type of discourse, a gender specific question in this instance, demonstrates the power of blogging, ironically the focus of my talk.
With blogging, a question such as "what is your PGP" posed to a larger audience, much larger than this particular GLBT group, can be accomplished instantaneously.
For instance, if UCSD's GLBT group had a blog, a discussion could immediately commence about this very topic. I could have shared my feelings about being asked that question, and a discussion immediately would commence. People could post comments, ask questions, and inquire further into what this gender probing really accomplishes. Moreover, the discussion expands beyond the walls of the GLBT's center, inviting thousands of people of many different sexuality- and gender-specific backgrounds to contribute.
Blogging gives people a voice and provides amity where needed over a fast and efficient medium. With this group, blogging could give each individual an opportunity to create and share ideas and goals directly with each other and other students instantaneously. It allows each individual an opportunity to engage in a conversation they already care very much about on a larger playing field, helping to empower their cause.
Not only could the GLBT students of UCSD reach out to their fellow student body quicker and easier, but also they could connect to other UC campus's or the San Diego community as a whole. In fact, political campaigns such as repealing Proposition 8 or ridding the military of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" could be helped by reaching more people through their blog. It might be cliche, but the sky truly is the limit with blogging. And, with Google's free Blogger program, there really is not an excuse not to have one.
Thomas Hughes, Esq. Was born and raised in San Diego, and got his Law Degree at Whitter Law School in Orange County, Ca. After three years prosecuting as a Riverside County deptuty District Attorney, Hughes returned to San Diego to start his own criminal defense firm. He has law offices in San Diego and Temecula, and also works as a technical advisor to C.S.I Los Angeles.