The tug of war between the virtual and physical worlds is happening in every strata of society, but in the gay community the shift has been especially poignant and with significant implications. Social groups helped start the gay civil rights movement, and in recent decades they have raised millions of dollars for causes like same-sex marriage and the battle against H.I.V./AIDS....I wonder how the gay rights movement would have unfolded if the internet had been available all along. I imagine that gay people would have remained more physically dispersed if they could have found each other and formed relationships on a much more decentralized level. I'm guessing there would have been far less intertwining of gay rights issues and liberal/left politics. The core rights have to do with individual expression in the private sphere. These would have been won without forming large groups that meet in person.
The roots of many gay and lesbian social groups date to when homosexuality was a crime and gatherings were illegal.
“Social groups and networks founded the G.L.B.T. community as early as the 1950s,” said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. “It represented an ability to find each other.”
The linked article ends with a second quote from Boneberg: "I don’t see the transition as a weakening of the community." Life on the internet is different. It's weaker in some ways and stronger in others. The "event organizer" is sad. People who used terms like "community" are equivocal. But I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't want to be organized and don't feel like they're in a community just because they have a particular sexual preference. The internet makes you stronger, if you're inclined toward individualism.
If the internet had been around all along, then, many private persons would have created satisfying lives for themselves, and some expressive, individualistic voices would have gained immense influence. And the amassers of groups would have had a lot less to do.
More sex. More speech. Less community organizing.