LGBT Group Blocked From Using '.gay' Domain Because It's Not Gay Enough

Man waving rainbow flagGetty/Win McnameeOnly 10 out a possible 16 points of gayness.

A gay rights community group seeking permission to win the use of the “.gay” web domain has had its request refused by the organisation in charge of internet domains because the group isn’t gay enough.

Slate reports that the “dotgay Initiative” has been campaigning for years to be allowed to establish an online gay community using the .gay domain, which was recently created by ICANN, the group in charge of the world’s domain names. The group envisioned .gay for gay community use in the same way that .edu is used for schools and .org for charities. The policy would have meant that commercial use of .gay domains — most obviously by porn companies — would have to go elswehere on the web.

Under ICANN rules, community groups are allowed to apply for ownership of new top-level domains. But to win exclusive rights to a domain, they have to pass a Community Priority Evaluation. The CPE is a test designed to examine whether a community is suitable enough to be granted ownership of a domain, and the dotgay group failed to pass the test.

ICANN released the results of dotgay’s Community Priority Evaluation. In the document, it’s revealed that dotgay failed to win the .gay domain mainly because the group simply isn’t gay enough. Here are the reasons why ICANN turned them down:

They’re Not The Official Gay Community

In its evaluation report, ICANN sets out the official process that people go through to become gay:

The membership criterion to join the Gay Community is the process of ‘coming out’. This process is unique for every individual, organisation and ally involving a level of risk in simply becoming visible.

Because every gay person in the world hasn’t officially joined the dotgay Initiative, ICANN decided that the community cannot call itself the global gay community.

Transgender And Intersex People Aren’t Gay

The dotgay Initiative included in its application for the .gay domain information on how sites would be used to support transgender, intersex and gay allies. ICANN ruled that these groups aren’t directly related to the .gay domain. Here’s how ICANN explained its decision:

Included in the application’s community definition are transgender and intersex individuals as well as “allies” (understood as heterosexual individuals supportive of the missions of the organisations that comprise the defined community) . However, “gay” does not identify these individuals.

The Global Gay Community Hasn’t Officially Endorsed The Group

ICANN decided that the dotgay Initiative failed to demonstrate community endorsement because there is no official worldwide global community that can endorse the group.

There is no single such organisation recognised by the defined community as representative of the community

ICANN did concede, however, that the dotgay Initiative has support from many gay rights groups around the world. But that wasn’t enough.

Despite the wide array of organizational support, however, the applicant does not have the support from the recognised community institution, as noted above, and the Panel has not found evidence that such an organisation exists.

The dotgay Initiative scored 10 points out of a possible 16 on the Community Priority Evaluation. They needed 14 points to pass the test and win the .gay domain.

If there are no successful appeals to ICANN’s ruling then the .gay domain will soon be put up for sale at a domain auction. Domaincite reports that a collection of domain resellers have already expressed their interest in the domain, meaning that it could be sold to porn sites or other businesses. The dotgay Initiative will have a chance to buy the domain, but it will be costly. Auctions for top-level domains often see prices escalate into millions of dollars.

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