Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Homo Sent Home for the Holidays

What a surprise. After a quick six-month stint, the only lesbian blogger at parents.com has been cancelled.

Merry Christmas from the Meredith Corporation, as they officially gave Harlyn Aizley, the sole lesbian mom blogging for their new site parents.com, the pink slip.

It seems Ms. Aizley, the author of “Buying Dad” and the editor of “Confessions of the Other Mother” did not get enough “hits” on her blog to continue being a valued member of the payroll.

I’m not a fan of Meredith Corporation’s corral of magazines. Parents, Baby, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle are all rags that tend to make middle class white women feel good about themselves as decorators, housewives and mommies. Sure, I’m white and I’m a mom but nothing said in those magazines even remotely speak to me.

Until Aizley started posting. Then I started reading. Her blog, Are You My Mothers? made me willing to fill out all the forms to read her work on a regular basis. Finally, mainstream press found my lifestyle and decided to celebrate it.


“Each of our brands attracts an enthusiastic audience based on life stage, lifestyle and affinity.” Meredith proudly proclaims, under a banner of images of women, their body parts and plenty of smiles. Unless you are a lesbian. No room for our lifestyle, life stages, or affinity.

The top bloggers at parents.com, in October, received about 11,000 unique hits per month while writing about their lives as parents. Straight, mostly white, parents. Aizley, a lesbian, single, and raising her daughter received 6,000 unique hits a month. She had plenty of straight women reading her blog not because they were cruising to find a lesbian experience but because Aizley is a good writer.

I don’t want to get too picky but… let’s look at the numbers. Aizley got more than 50% of the traffic of the straight writers that means she outperforming the demographics 10x. And how many are queer parents are out there? 5 million lesbian/gay parents raising 9-10 million children and spending $22 billion on them?

Ah, but that’s the businesswoman in me speaking. All those silly little numbers make me wonder who is running the place and if they need to borrow my calculator.

Aizley expresses the world in which she’s navigating with her five year old daughter with humor, honesty and an edge only a lesbian mom can give- the reality of what it is to be just outside of the mainstream, trying to be a good parent, and maintaining her dignity. What it feels like when a play date request is denied- all the normal stuff moms go through and then added fear- is it because I’m gay?

I’ve had a lot of straight suburban moms over the years, who have wanted to be friends, who wanted to be hip, and cool, and come over with their kids for play dates. Nervously, the initial conversations always involved a proud proclamation their near brushes with lesbianism.

I once had a roommate who had a friend who was a lesbian. Really.

To which I would smile, nod and try not to let my eyes roll. They were proud of themselves for being so progressive, and open to the idea that two moms were raising kids in their neighborhood.

Some would even start to flirt, as if I were the ultimate safety net- another woman who kind of looked like a man but wasn’t really one.

They would ask questions about how we got pregnant, was it really true about turkey basters? They were tickled by the idea you could shop for the kind of sperm you wanted- no being stuck with your husband’s family history of manic depression. They were honestly curious.

It created bridges. I knew the next time they met a two-mom family? They would get past some of the silly questions and get to know them. It made life for my kids easier. It made their kids more accepting not only of gay families, but any structure that was different from their own.

Aizley’s blog was doing that, online, every day, across the country. The people who wrote in and pleaded for parents.com to keep her? Mostly straight women.

It is not Meredith Corporation’s job to be progressive. It’s not their job to do anything but sell magazines. They proclaim: “In distinct editorial voices, they address the core categories of home, family and personal development. Across the spectrum, we support and inspire the reader, serving her needs and celebrating her joys.”

Just not lesbian inspiration, needs or joys.

Aizley will be finished at the end of the month. I know she will be posting at familyequality.org’s blog, a LGBT family resource site. “It’s like moving back to my small hometown in the mid-west after fun and games in the big city,” she said. “Thank goodness for our people.”

Yes, I agree. I am thankful.

But it should not be a choice between preaching to the choir and having the richness of new and different experiences to read about, learn from, acknowledge. I am grateful to write for Huffington Post where I can create some bridges.

Meredith Corporation took a bold step when they invited Aizley to blog, including a lesbian mom in the spectrum.

Shame on them for canceling her.

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Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Damn. I had her bookmarked.
Their loss.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous annieru said...

Damn, It's almost as if they said "ok, we've done our token lesbian blogger route, we can check that box." They need to hire you as their numbers person because obviously they aren't doing a great job w/ analysis! And, Aizley should write for Brain, Child -- they don't care what your mom-identity is, but just that you appreciate great literature.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a gay male and never read her blog before however, I am going to spread the word that parents.com is against gay people. AOL last month discontinued it's gay blog, Queersighted. No doubt there are people and/ or groups sending threatening messages to these companies to drop the gay blogs or else. We have to push back against this bigotry.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Her blog ALWAYS made me laugh. Sad news!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Joejoe said...

Many things come to mind with this incident. I say, don't let this get us down....and it won't. "We" haven't gotten this far in life from us accepting "no". Further, I am certain, and no offense, what parents.com is paying Aizley is a drop in the bucket in comparison to their revenue and as it is a "blog", space is never an issue. My holiday wish is that those villages that have lost their many idiots would call them back. Does the HRC know about this?

9:26 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

How frustrating and ridiculous!! I didn't read her blog, but I know she is very funny. Now I'm pissed... It is easy to forgot those kinds of biases when you don't deal with them in your daily life, when you live in a safe little bubble.

How lame. I'm so sorry I missed that blog.

5:19 AM  
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