for this month's
tasteless crip humor, don't miss the very bottom of the page . . .

July 2001




When I look at the contents of this issue and then look back over the last two years of BENT I am pleased and surprised at how much we have achieved together.

In addition to first-person accounts that treat cripgay lives with wit and candor, your writing in BENT has addressed broader issues of cripgay culture, from fetishism to the metaphysics of disability.

Direct Discourse, your place for personals, is growing slowly but steadily.

Bent's subscription list has increased by 25% in the last month, with subscribers checking in from all over the world.

Bent's association with Disgaytalk has resulted in a give-and-take between list and webzine that, according to your e-mails, is meaningful and supportive in ways you don't find elsewhere.

We hear inflated and largely empty claims of how the Web creates community, but maybe in this case it really has made a small contribution in that direction. We gimpy queers are, after all, "a body of persons having a common history or common social and political interests." Even more to the point, we are "a body of persons of common interests scattered through a larger society."

"Scattered" is the operative word. We represent a minority of a minority so small that it's often hard to find one another in that larger society. But here we can find one another any time of day or night, whenever we need our own Small World Reality Check.

So let's sit back and enjoy this comfy niche of fellow-feeling we've cleverly crafted, right? Not so fast.

"Think big but build small" appeals to me as an adage to live by. Yet in this case the proponents of growth may have a point. In order to attract contributors who will continue to provide the kind of content that characterizes BENT, the kind you log on to read, we need to increase our visibility.

If it's true that BENT readers become BENT writers, then it's true we need lots more of both. For a tiny webzine that offers its contributors no pay, there's no other way to go. For once, growth may not only be good, it may be essential.

I've taken a step in the direction of greater visibility by initiating plans for an anthology of writing from BENT. Getting the word out in hard copy can be an effective adjunct to the mission of any webzine. Talks are underway with a publisher, but this is a project that won't happen overnight. In the meantime, here's what I'm asking you to do:

1. Get someone you know to subscribe. And remember, you don't need to be a queer or a crip to read BENT.

2. Tell a friend to place a personals ad in Direct Discourse. Submit one yourself.

3. Convince your local newspaper, fagrag, community newsletter, or disability organization to run a story about BENT. Write to me for a press release.

4. Stop procrastinating: Write something for BENT yourself.

5. I know there are lots of good ideas for a higher BENT profile that I've been too dull-witted to think of. Let me know what they are:

I enjoy hanging out with you and I'm grateful for what you've taught me, so I hope that BENT grows bigger and better. I hope that BENT lasts for a good long time. But there's no guarantee that those good things will happen.

So pitch in, spread the word, enlarge our niche.

Bob Guter

Bob Guter has been a bilateral amputee since the age of six as the result of multiple birth defects. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Stagebill, and other publications. He lives in San Francisco.

© 2001 BENT

Don't go yet!!
It's CALLAHAN time . . .


BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/July 2001