Last year, when we launched the GA Voice, the topic for this space was defined for me. It was our premier issue and I said something like people still need gay media, people still read, we have the staff and talent to deliver quality coverage, etc.

This year I have to actually decide on a topic. I could talk about the obvious —what a wonderful and successful year it has been, how proud I am of this team and how grateful I am to everyone who believes in and supports us.

All of those things are true, of course, but not particularly interesting to anyone except me and those I would pat on the back. And within a few sentences I have already said it.

GA Voice fights against bullies

My inability to settle on a topic is due to enormous distraction, a growing lack of patience and a shrinking attention span all caused by advancing age and trendy technology. At the risk of sounding too much like Andy Rooney, this is my reality. I cannot slow the proliferation of silver in my hair any better than I can keep up with the next generation of iPad or iPhone, or the latest Facebook thingy.

Trying to keep up with the pace of change in media alone consumes much of my time. If I make the mistake of Googling something before I have accomplished the things on my “to do” list for that day, I will wander in the trap of the web for hours with nothing to show for it but strained eyes. An even worse mistake is checking in on what my “friends” on Facebook are saying.

My patience has taken a huge hit over the years and if I cannot reach resolution or a decision quickly I move on to the next problem. Never a particularly forbearing person, lately I find I have zero tolerance for a number of pet peeves with bullying and bad manners landing at the top of that list.

Once upon a time I physically stood up to bullies, more than once, which was foolish, but at least I was strong enough to take care of myself in most situations. Not true anymore, yet I still cannot resist calling out a bully and offering to rearrange their thinking for them. This usually works as bullies are cowards at their core and run when confronted head on.

Watching someone bullied makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It’s a primal response that I find impossible to ignore which, as I think about it, is the fundamental reason I started both Southern Voice and GA Voice. It is my response, my counter-punch, to the old game of “smear the queer.”

There is likely no end to this game in my lifetime, in your lifetime. But we can stand up to it, unfurl our capes and defend both ourselves and those too weak to do so. No, I am not suggesting violence or even physical confrontation, although it is tempting at times.

When we stand up as a community, show our strength both in our numbers and in our resolve, bullies of all stripes eventually fold. The problem is more are created every day, which means the fight never ends.

A bully-proof vest would be handy, something that protects from hateful bullets and arms you with information and support for a counterattack. For me, GA Voice is that vest. I hope it is for you, too.

I guess I found a topic after all.