Community bid for ‘.gay’ web domains rejected again

A group representing the LGBT community has had its bid to control ‘.gay’ domains rejected by internet watchdog ICANN.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) handles the creation of new top level domains (TLD) to rival .com and .org – from .ninja to .eco.

The body was criticized last year when it refused to hand over control of the ‘.gay’ domain to a group representing the LGBT community, leading to fears it could end up exploited for porn if put up for auction to the highest commercial bidder.

ICANN later agreed to re-consider the domain for the ‘Community Priority Evaluation’ process – but this week again rejected the proposal.

A second evaluation conducted on behalf of  ICANN this week found that ‘.gay’ could not be applied to the LGBT community, because the LGBT community includes “male or female homosexuals, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, ally and many other terminology”.

ICANN said: “The Community Priority Evaluation panel has determined that the applied-for string does not identify or match the name of the community as defined in the application, nor is it a well known short-form or abbreviation of the community. It therefore does not meet the requirements.”

It added: “The Panel has determined that [.gay] does not sufficiently identify some members of the applicant’s defined community, in particular transgender, intersex, and ally individuals.

“Transgender, intersex, and ally individuals are not likely to consider ‘gay’ to be their ‘most common’ descriptor, as the applicant claims.

“These groups are most likely to use words such as ‘transgender’, ‘trans’, ‘intersex’, or ‘ally’ because these words are neutral to sexual orientation, unlike ‘gay’.

“Both within the community and outside of it, such as in the media, acronyms such as ‘LGBT’, ‘GLBT’, ‘LGBTQ’, or ‘LGBTQIA’ are used to denote a group of individuals that includes those described above, i.e. transgender, intersex and ally individuals.”

The group dotgay LLC, who had hoped to harness the domains for the benefit of the global LGBT community, lamented the decision.

They wrote: “It is not unusual that people outside of the community would not be able to see our community in the same way we do.

“It is in fact the normal reaction received by those pushing the leading edge of our community forward in national and international human rights, business, government, policy and indeed the perception of the general public.

“dotgay LLC will continue to move forward in efforts to create an inclusive community TLD, working with our community endorsers, investors and the global LGBTQI media.