How .Gay Is Creating a Safer Internet for the LGBTQ+ Community and Brands That Support Them

How .Gay Is Creating a Safer Internet for the LGBTQ+ Community and Brands That Support Them

How .Gay Is Creating a Safer Internet for the LGBTQ+ Community and Brands That Support Them

by Desdemona Dallas

Creative director Logan Lynn discusses the process and mission behind a powerful new LGBTQ+ community tool and website domain.

Online safety has been an ongoing issue since the beginning of the Internet. Marginalized groups can often be the victims of trolling, discriminatory campaigns, and the central figures of online hate groups. For many folks within the LGBTQ+ community, these forms of harassment are increasing.
.gay is a top-level domain for queer creators, entrepreneurs, and pretty much any LGBTQ+ person with a web address. The platform seeks to create community and safety online and establish a space for queer joy on the internet.
Like any platform, branding creative direction is crucial to making this project shine and connect with a wide audience.
Luupe photographer and writer Desdemona Dallas caught up with .gay’s creative director Logan Lynn – a prolific queer artist in his own right, working as a musician with Portugal the Man and the iconic record label Kill Rock Stars. They chat about how .gay came to be, its message for online safety, how it’s implementing educational content to inform its users, and the role visuals play in communicating its vision and mission.
Desdemona Dallas: Where did the idea for .gay come from?
Logan Lynn: The concept for .gay was initially inspired by LGBTQ+ family members and friends of the CEO and co-Founders of Top Level Design, which owns and operates the .gay domain.
When ICANN opened up the opportunity to bring new domains to market over a decade ago, the dream for what .gay would become began to really take shape.
I personally started partnering with .gay back in 2013 and always felt like there was a huge opportunity for the domain to really make a difference around LGBTQ+ visibility, safety, and direct financial support for our communities.
I officially joined the team in 2019 to help shape the abuse policies, as well as help create the community impact model, and have directed all PR and creative for .gay since that time. It's been really moving to see all of the big .gay dreams from way back when coming to life in such spectacular ways.
Meet Logan Lynn, Creative Director for .Gay
Dallas: What issues do you hope to address with .gay and have you seen results towards changing those issues?
Lynn: We set out to reject the status quo around the lack of concern for LGBTQ+ safety online and implemented industry-first policies which are designed to keep .gay a space where you either love and celebrate LGBTQ+ people or you get the hell out of here. It's really that simple.
If a site is even remotely anti-LGBTQ+ and it's on a .gay domain, we take it down. That's never been done before and it has felt so amazing to take the power back around hate speech and social violence. Big SCRAM! energy around here.
Dallas: SCRAM! That's amazing!
Lynn: Also on the financial side, every new .gay domain registered generates a 20% donation to our beneficiaries GLAAD and CenterLink. We've raised and donated over $167,000 so far -- all just since the pandemic began. So while we are keeping folks safe online, we are also supporting organizations working to keep folks safe out in the world. Those donations will continue to grow over time as the .gay community of sites grows.
Dallas: The website for .gay is full of such fun and colorful imagery. What has been the visual narrative behind the work?
Lynn: Thank you! From day one our main priority at .gay has been to make sure the domain is an authentic representation and celebration of the diverse LGBTQ+ communities we serve.
Visually, in our marketing copy, through video, and with all of the earned media and storytelling that has happened around .gay, the only thing that actually matters to us is that everybody sees themselves reflected and feels that .gay is a safe, supportive space for them, for their brands and businesses, and for their community.
My entire vibe is leaning into gay joy in general, and that is absolutely a throughline in our creative direction. The .gay community holds a ton of identities and experiences, and our commitment is to continue to highlight the depth and breadth of all of that with everything we do.

Dallas: In your series The Library you utilize video to share information about the gay experience. How has bringing video into your visual branding been an important aspect of the brand?
Lynn: Well, we knew that .gay was going to open a queer door into the mainstream, and it felt like an opportunity for us to really lean into LGBTQ+ visibility. The Library is all about creating a space for us all to learn and laugh together.
Not everybody has a ton of LGBTQ+ people in their lives, and not all LGBTQ+ people are connected to community history, so we created that series as a way for everybody to have LGBTQ+ friends. You watch that show and we suddenly aren't strangers anymore.
We also wanted to showcase a variety of queer and trans experiences as a way of really putting the .gay narrative back into the hands of the communities we created the space for in the first place. Like...the .gay domain is whatever LGBTQ+ people make it into. That's the beauty of it. The Library is us giving a platform to that beauty.
Watch on YouTube
Dallas: How are you working with photographers and filmmakers to bring this vision to life?
Lynn: .gay has partnered with all kinds of creators, filmmakers, producers, and photographers since its conception and launch. Most notably, we linked up with Edelman to do a ton of audience testing ahead of launch, which informed the initial creative direction.
We then partnered with Two Penguins Productions to cast and produce The Library series and will be releasing some additional episodes of that for DotGay Day 2022 -- our second anniversary, happening on September 16th.
We have a ton of new partnerships on the horizon, ranging from Gaybors Agency / Gaybors Spaces, to queer photographers and influencers activating .gay domains for their brands. Stay tuned!
Desdemona Dallas
Desdemona Dallas is a multi-media storyteller who works and lives in New York City.
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