When Christian Grantham grew up in rural
Tennessee, the Internet was the sole propriety of government officials, academia and
geeks. It wasn't until he came out in college in the early 1990s that the net exploded
into what it is today.
Nowadays, Christian, 28, spends his time in
Washington, DC working with national civil rights groups and living his life live on the
Internet. "The webcam has really become like a piece of furniture," Christian
says about the slender hardware that feeds his life to a global online audience.
"There are always times I have to remind myself that the world is sitting in the
corner of my livingroom."
Christian was introduced to the Internet at
18 in college in 1990 and remembers sharing the excitement of what he saw coming in the
next decade with his parents, who then bought him his first computer. He recalls being
able to explore his sexuality from a safe distance in chat rooms, which at the time had no
"If I were able in high school to log
on and see just how normal being gay is like we can today," Christian says, "I
would have come out much earlier. This medium has saved so many kids lives and has
literally transformed our movement in the past 10 years."
Christian lives his life online with
roommates Josh and Chris and says the most moving email comes from older gays logging on
and coming out. "These guys are just getting into computers and are looking for
something other than porn that reflects their ideal life," Christian says.
Since starting his website in December 1999
a few days before his 28th birthday, Christian has logged over 3 million hits and email /
mail from all over the country and world.
"I've gotten mail with personal notes
and gifts from the back woods of Australia and inner city London. It's been very positive
and I enjoy providing the space for people to chat and be entertained by the mundane
details of me and my roommate's lives."
Being entertained, Christian admits, is
only the half of it. The entertainment value has provided a brilliant mechanism for him to
share his flare for activism.
Christian moved to Washington, DC for work
experience at the White House where, as a November 1997 Washington Times article
describes, he used his position on an programme development committee to jump start gay
and lesbian student applications. His national involvement with gay rights groups came
after receiving death threats and protests for campus activism in Tennessee.
"I was ready for Washington,"
Christian says, "but people with my experience seemed a dime a dozen in Washington,
and I needed to express myself along with the work I continued doing."
Christian started his site as a scaled down
version of failed online media project with former roommate Sean Patrick, who pioneered
online webcams a few years prior.
"Sean was very supportive and came at
a time when several things had him considering ending his site," Christian says.
"I think my enthusiasm had inspired him to continue and evolve his site as much as
his know how opened me to the medium I needed for my own creativity and commentary."
When asked what his friends and family
think of him inviting the world into his home he laughs. "I don't know what they
think, but I know they watch. I can tell by the voice mail messages they leave, 'I know
you're there, I can see you!'"
Christian attributes his site's wide appeal
to being selective and careful with the content. "I don't share anything on the net I
wouldn't share or do in any public place. I'm not knocking porn sites, but there's a time
and place for that, and it's simply not the main focus in my public life. But accidents
happen, and I've had my share of embarrassing moments on the cam."
Catch the site at www.christiangrantham.com