“If you see something .gay, I’ve got something to do with it,” says Portland musician Logan Lynn, smirking audibly. Lynn, who made headlines in 2018 for leading a campaign against Reddit that caused the site to implement new antiharassment policies, is the public face of .gay, a new domain launched in September by Portland company Top Level Design. With it, he and his colleagues hope to “create a safer internet” for LGBTQ people—a small team monitors .gay’s social media 24/7 for hate speech and blocks attempts to register any abusive URLs.
Back in 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opened up public applications for new generic top-level domains—URL-enders like .com or .gov, which ICANN had previously strictly limited. Top Level Design lodged an application for .gay in 2013 (sometimes these things take years), and Lynn came on in 2018, establishing community partners and heading ancillary projects like The Library, a web series that interviews queer Portlanders from chef Gregory Gourdet to drag queen Flawless Shade. Twenty percent of new registration revenue goes to queer advocacy orgs GLAAD and CenterLink.
“I’m excited about turning the internet gay,” Lynn says, clearly not having searched the name “Julianne Moore” on Twitter recently. At press time, around 5,600 .gay URLs have been registered, including sites by George Takei, Billie Jean King, and (surprise) Grindr.