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  When I first came across Sylvester they had just started their community. One of the founders of a Swedish IT-company wrote the first chronicle about tight jeans and letting out whatever it is that you have in your closet. He had a painted black mustache on his photo making it look like something of a cabaret promotion. There was nothing politically correct about the site, and later I noticed they didn't want to be accepted on anyone else's terms and said neither should you.

The picture of the gay society they gave didn't match what I've seen and experienced. They would write about artists because they liked their music, not necessarily because they were gay or the music what gay people were expected to listen to. Later during the interview Henrik says it can be difficult for people to define themselves in the gay society, gay is becoming more of a lifestyle, a way of living. Perhaps you don't even have to have sex with people of the same sex to be gay. Therefore came the concept queer, but the same problem appears there. In fact queer is an old concept, made a comeback.

Tomas Hemstad and Henrik Thornberg, at Sylvester, are working on the third issue of their print magazine when we meet them at the Spray building, in Stockholm. Daniel Bergqvist, who is also a part of Sylvester, is currently on vacation across the sea, driving through the states. The printed magazine as well as the community is focused on a gay audience. The members of the community has escalated some 250 000 people. "We want to write about the things that are interesting to us, not necessarily about gays. If you take a women's magazine for example they don't write girls girls girls on every page. We write for gays about things that are interesting for gays."

And the name, Sylvester, shows to be simply a name that came up. "Sylvester is mostly a sweet name", says Tomas and Henrik. "It's very manly, Sylvester Stallone, the disco queen Sylvester. It's a good male name and a bit too much. And we launched the site on the Sylvester day (new years day)".

What did you do before Sylvester?
Tomas: I worked with advertising and as reporter at QX, and freelance writer.
Henrik: I worked as a project manager, and was editor of a fanzine, robin1 fanzine.
Tomas: Also arranged queer punk parties, and held a club. We were rookies standing out of the crowd all the three of us.
Henrik: We're still the new kids on the block.

Did you expect the community to grow as big as it has?
We didn't really know how it would turn out. The number of members grew very fast, and people use the site for more purposes than we first had planned. You don't have to merely date people on the site. Many people just use it for everyday small talk, it's become the natural place just to meet your friends and say hi. We have straight people who look for other straight people of the opposite sex on the site. There are about twenty per cent straight people, most of them are girls. But there are totally about as many girls as there are guys on the site. Some people start out as straight to later change to bisexual. We allow people to change their information so you can really switch around with your sexual preferences as you wish.

Then you get a lot of mail from people in the community?
We get all kind of mail. All from praises for articles to threats saying we shouldn't be allowed with computers, when there have been problems with the site.


part 1 | part 2

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