StartOut Members Kathy Wolfe & Maria Lynn Launch New Venture: Lesbian.com
imagined the possibilities, but then Wolfe knows how to make things happen for lesbians.
In 1985, she founded Wolfe Video-initially a video outlet for films by, for and about lesbians and now the world's largest purveyor of LGBT films.
According to Wolfe
, Beckwith had concerns about what would happen to the site in the future.
"Sue wanted to be sure it stayed lesbian and for lesbians for generations to come," Wolfe
Wolfe added that initially Beckwith had wanted to remain a partner in the venture, to have some control over it, but Wolfe wanted to be able to direct the project herself.
Terms of their agreement disallow Wolfe from saying how the plan came to fruition or exactly how much was spent to purchase the domain, but Wolfe did tell Curve that the amount was in the six figures."We didn't have that money in our pockets, you know," she explains with a small laugh, but noted that the three co-founders of the new site have a host of supporters who believe in the promise of the project.
"What we want to do," Wolfe
says, "is empower lesbians by bringing them together.
We want to find a way to have everyone have a place at the table.
notes that she
wants to coalesce lesbian businesses under one umbrella.
can be very competitive," she
"But we don't want to take anything away from anyone-we want to build it.
We can support the many smaller blog and media sites by making it possible for them to connect to our over 200,0000 visitors each month."
asserts that she
partners want to "Make everyone stronger, bigger, better.
We're only limited by our ability to do it.
Part of doing it means finding out what women want from such a site.
was adamant that she
wants lesbians to create the site that they want.
"Let's talk lesbian health issues," she
would like to see Lesbian.com
as a hub that links lesbians together on myriad levels.
mentions the vast array of small blogs available that could be under the Lesbian.com
umbrella as well as creating an events calendar, entertainment links, resources for lesbians.
The possibilities truly are limitless.
To that end, Lesbian.com
has posted an in-depth survey asking lesbians what they want.
For example, Curve
would make the site global and she
Adding, "I'd like to see people waiting for a bus in South Africa and streaming [a Wolfe video] on their phone while they wait," she
noted that in anticipation of the global nature of the project, Wolfe videos were being subtitled and translated into other languages.
"We don't want anyone left out," she
noted that most online sites are run and operated by men, and as a consequence don't really value women or focus on their interests and needs.
In addition, Wolfe
explains that the technological advances of the past three decades while she's
been building her
global video business make it easy to access an audience and for that audience to access what she
partners have to offer.
could offer almost anything.
"Of course with the changes in technology it makes everything different," she
"There are technological tools that you can use.
You don't have to write software for everything you do-there are things already in place that you can tap into."
has already experienced that in the course of building Wolfe video
notes, the expansion of queers into the mainstream has meant a much larger out audience and also a politicization of issues in the mainstream as well as online, whether it's discrimination or bullying.
"As activists, we have spent the past 20 years working to make lesbians visible in the mainstream.
Coming out, same-sex marriage, anti-bullying, discrimination and you name it," Wolfe
asserts, "we have worked to be less marginalized and victimized as a community."
adds that her
experiences with Wolfe Video
uniquely suited to expanding Lesbian.com
feels strongly that Lesbian.com
will draw advertisers as it draws hits to the site.
The site already has the support of two businesses, Kimpton Hotels and Orbitz, but Wolfe
believes that there will be easy expansion based on the 200,000 people Wolfe says are already visiting the site.
is certain that lesbian-owned and operated businesses will want to be involved, as well, because the potential market is huge.
"The vision we have is that we are going to stay in the hands of lesbians, be a resource for lesbians, continue to grow and thrive," she
"We're a hub, and that's just going to expand and expand.
We want to pull in anyone who wants to be there.
urges lesbians to go to Lesbian.com
, fill out the survey and become participants in the process of building that hub that has the potential to link lesbians all across the planet.
Wolfe's enthusiasm for the project is palpable.
"It's incredibly exciting what we are doing this," she