There will be one less social network online. Connexion, a site aimed toward the LGBT community will be shutting down this month.
Connexion was founded eight years ago by CU alum and current Denver resident, Tim Gill. Like Facebook, the website serves as a social network, but also provides users with information about news and events in the LGBT community.
In a letter to users posted on the homepage of the site, Gill stated that the decision to shut down the site, effective Sept. 14, stems from financial issues.
“Though 2011 has been the best year for us in terms of income and site growth, it has not been enough to make us profitable,” Gill said in a statement.
Gill also stated that the funds directed towards Connexion can best be used elsewhere. Gill currently runs the Gill Foundation, which is an advocate for the LGBT community.
Kevin Correa, the interim director at CU’s GLBTQ Resource Center, said that Connexion is a great online resource for those wanting to network.
“I think Connexion is a unique site in that… Connexion is the only one, that I’m aware of, that’s LGBT specific that combines networking with dating with groups with news,” Correa said. “I think it’s a great sort of one-stop shop to get connected with people in whatever way people are wanting to get connected.”
Corey Wiggins, a 21-year-old senior political science major and a Connexion member, said he got involved with the site to network with students who may not be involved in CU groups. Besides this, he said one of the benefits of the site was the forums.
“I think it’s important to give people safe places where people can talk about what they go through,” Wiggins said. “I mean, one of the coolest things about it, it’s got all these forums where you can just talk about issues and how they affect you based on your identity.”
Wiggins said that the shut down of the site doesn’t greatly affect him, but may affect others who don’t live in such a large LGBT community.
“The thing that’s such a bummer about it, is that it’s more upsetting for folks that live in rural communities or communities that have smaller queer populations, because it’s not necessarily safe for them to go out and meet other people,” Wiggins said.
Kyle Warner, a 22-year-old senior journalism major, said he used the site when he first came to CU to help him meet people.
“I didn’t know any other gay people in Boulder,” Warner said. “I, myself had just come out. I didn’t know about gay culture, or having gay friends. I didn’t know what any of that was like. Someone told me about it and I thought it would just be a very non-threatening way to meet people.”
Warner said that the site shutting down was a surprise to him, mainly because he had never heard of a website just closing the way Connexion is. He said that sites like Connexion can be double-edged swords, providing a place to meet friends, like he did, while also providing a place that fuels certain stereotypes.
“I definitely know people who use it for other reasons, which is unfortunate,” Warner said. “I feel like using online sites like that for random hook-ups are just perpetuating stereotypes.”
Despite this, he said it is unfortunate that incoming freshmen, who may be in the same situation he was when he came to CU, won’t have this resource.
Correa, who said he agrees the site shutting down is a loss, said it isn’t the only way people are staying connected. He also said that while there are many benefits to a site aimed at the LGBT community, being part of a larger community can be good as well.
“There’s a benefit to that [kind of site], and an appeal to that,” Correa said. “I believe in the “both/and approach.” I think there’s value in having LGBT specific spaces, whether they are virtual or they are actual, but there’s also value in integration and being part of a larger community.”
For students looking to get involved in LGBT groups at CU, there are currently 12 students groups on campus.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Isa Jones at Alexandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.