Monday, June 24, 2019

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

(What's happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@presspassq.com)
BALTIMORE OUTLOUD entered its 17th year of publication with its May 10, 2019, issue.

Robert Fieseler
BOSTON SPIRIT celebrated its 14th anniversary in March 2019.

DALLAS VOICE celebrated its 35th anniversary with its May 10, 2019, issue.

ROBERT FIESELER, columnist for New Orleans-based AMBUSH, was recently awarded the JUDITH A. MARKOWITZ Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers by LAMBDA LITERARY.

THE FIGHT, based in Los Angeles, published its 100th issue in May 2019.

GET OUT, based in New York City, celebrated its 10th anniversary in June 2019.

QNOTES, based in Charlotte, N.C., entered its 34th year of publication with its May 3, 2019, issue.

RAGE MONTHLY, based in San Diego, celebrated its 12th anniversary with its June 2019 issue.

Rivendell Media's Todd Evans
RIVENDELL MEDIA, which represents most LGBTQ publications and web properties in the United States and Canada for national advertising, celebrated its 40th anniversary on June 1, 2019. President and CEO TODD EVANS, who is also publisher of Press Pass Q, also celebrated his 25th year with the company.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., has won a Sigma Delta Chi Award, in the category of Non-Deadline Reporting (Non-Daily Publications), from the SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS. The winning series, “Sex Predator at the Pride Center,” was led by Executive Editor JASON PARSLEY.

JAKE STEVENS, art director for Orlando-based WATERMARK for the past 12 years, has stepped down to be the lead designer for the TAMPA  BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE has been honored by D.C.-based CAPITAL PRIDE with its Paving The Way Award, acknowledging the newspaper’s “exemplary contributions, support and/or advocacy that has impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.”

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 21
Issue 3

NYC media to cover two competing Pride marches, plus World Pride

by Joe Siegel

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the fight for gay liberation in the United States, this year’s New York City Pride celebration on June 30 – which is also site of this year’s World Pride – will be bigger than ever.

According to Heritage of Pride (HOP), the group that produces New York City’s annual Pride Parade and related events, there will be 150,000 marchers and 150 floats in this year’s event, as reported in New York City-based Gay City News.

Meanwhile, a rival organization, Reclaim Pride Coalition, is holding their own march and rally. The members decided last year to move forward with their own events after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the theme of the march produced by HOP.

“A lot of the drama between the two factions was resolved as a result of the decision to do a separate march,” said Paul Schindler, editor of Gay City News. “That ended the fighting of what the big march itself should be like. Yes, there is division, with the organizers of the Queer Liberation March (Reclaim Pride) believing that the commercialization of the big parade has gutted its political message. That said, many very dedicated activists will be marching in the big parade. And some people will march in both.”

Schindler noted though, “The Queer Liberation March will be far more informal, will attract thousands — maybe several thousand, may 10,000 — it will be earlier in the day, and it will have a very activist feel.”

Schindler believes the separate marches will enhance, not diminish, the significance of Pride.

“Despite all the divisions that led up to this point, I think it's a sign of community strength and diversity that both events are happening the same day — plus Pride in all the boroughs on other days, up in Harlem, and a million other events,” he said.

Gay City News and other LGBT media will have their hands full covering not only the two pride marches, but World Pride as well. According to TravelGay.com: “It’s estimated that 3 million people will be participating. The festivities will culminate in New York’s famous Pride March on Sunday 30th June.”

The World Pride opening ceremony on June 26 will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and will feature appearances by Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter, Chaka Khan, and Ciara.

“The Stonewall 50/World Pride juggernaut is far too big to even take it all in,” Schindler said. “There will be many occasions where many people will have a very good time. And activists will voice strong political messages in the Reclaim Pride event, but many other activists will also have their say in the main event later in the day.”

Schindler believes all the various festivities will get plenty of attention from all corners of the media landscape.

“It's really not possible, in my view, to ‘detract’ from the big event. … It is so massive, gets broadcast on local TV, and goes on for 9 or 10 or 11 hours. That plus the big closing ceremony for World Pride later that day will be the huge event.”

TOP STORY
Volume 21
Issue 3

GLAAD offers guide to Stonewall coverage

by Fred Kuhr

In anticipation of World Pride in New York City — and celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall all over the country — GLAAD has released “Stonewall 50: A Journalist’s Guide to Reporting on the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and the Legacy of Pride.”

The guidebook offers story ideas, a history of the Stonewall Inn, an overview of significant event in the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement, and a discussion of issues affected the community in the United States and around the world.

“This guide is intended to help journalists cover Stonewall 50 with fairness, depth, and accuracy,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “It is designed to ensure that media shine a powerful light on this landmark occasion and give it the attention deserved within the evolving American experience.”

Story ideas include: Interview LGBTQ elders, focus on transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary communities, and explore the Trump Administration’s attempts to roll back protections for LGBTQ people.

The guidebook puts an emphasis on international issues, noting GLAAD’s media and public education work during the World Cup in Brazil and the Olympics in Russia as well as its assistance in bringing 10 Chinese same-sex couples to the United States to be married at West Hollywood City Hall.

The publication also highlights a new resource, “HIV & AIDS in the News: A Guide for Reporting in a New Era of Prevention & Treatment,” designed to help media cover the newest HIV related issues. That is available at www.glaad.org/hiv

GLAAD also offers a language and terminology guide to provide guidance for reporters “to reflect the current language used by the community,” a thorny subject even for those who are a part of the LGBTQ community. That is available at www.glaad.org/reference


SIDEBAR
Volume 21
Issue 3

Washington Blade writer seeking asylum in U.S.

by Joe Siegel

Yariel Valdés González, a contributing writer for the Washington Blade, is seeking asylum in the United States.

Valdés, 28, legally entered the U.S. on March 27 through the Calexico West Port of Entry between Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali, Mexico. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) transferred him to Mississippi a few days later.

Valdés, who hails from Cuba’s Villa Clara province, graduated from Universidad Central Marta Abreu de las Villas in 2014 with a degree in journalism.

Yariel Valdés González
He explained in a Blade story that the reasons he is requesting asylum are based on his experience working for Vanguardia, a newspaper published by the Cuban Communist Party in Villa Clara. Valdés began to contribute to independent media outlets in 2015.

Valdés said he signed a letter against the “censorship and harassment” of independent media outlets in 2016. The Cuban Communist Party then began to harass him and his “life became hell.”

The State Department’s 2018 human rights report notes the Cuban government “does not recognize independent journalism.” A report that Freedom House released in 2017 notes Cuba “has the most repressive media environment in the Americas.”

Valdés told the Blade that an ICE officer has determined his asylum claim is valid.

He had his first appearance before an immigration judge on May 23. He told the Blade his second hearing was scheduled to take place on June 13, but Valdés said he does not know when ICE will release him on parole.

Valdés remains in ICE custody while activists voice their outrage over the Trump administration’s overall immigration policy.

He first described the conditions at Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, La., during a telephone call he made to the Blade on May 3 after ICE transferred him from the Tallahatchee County Correctional Facility, a privately run prison in Tutwiler, Miss.

“The conditions are bad,” said Valdés on May 31 during another telephone interview from Louisiana.

Valdés told the Blade “there is no privacy” and he is sleeping on a “thin mattress. It’s like a prison, not an immigration center,” he said.

A Blade story published on June 5 noted: “The Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana last week filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration over the denial of parole to hundreds of asylum seekers who are in ICE custody in Louisiana and Alabama.

A press release the two organizations issued on May 30 notes the New Orleans ICE Field Office, which oversees the facility in which Valdés is currently detained, granted parole in only two of the 130 asylum cases it heard in 2018. The press release also notes the lawsuit “calls attention to the impact of the dehumanizing treatment — especially the excessive use of solitary confinement and inadequate health care — received daily in immigration prisons, many of which are operated for profit.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 21
Issue 3

SPECIAL REPORT: Why do we need LGBTQ media?

by Karen Ocamb
(This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Blade. It is republished with permission of the Los Angeles Blade.)

It was the last day of Passover, a calm and tranquil Sunday in West Hollywood. And then the news started bubbling up about an attack on the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in San Diego County by a 19-year-old with a semiautomatic weapon. One woman was dead and three others, including the rabbi, were wounded.

The shooting came one day after President Trump’s speech before the National Rifle Association and major news coverage of former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video using the Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville where white supremacists carrying tiki torches chanted “Jews will not replace us!” The teenager arrested for shooting up the Poway synagogue apparently left an anti-Semitic screed on the Internet. Authorities said they would investigate the attack as a hate crime.

I read these news reports through rainbow-colored glasses. White supremacy isn’t limited to anti-Semitism or racism. But hatred for LGBT people is such a given, we often don’t even get a mention in their screeds. 

Los Angeles Blade's Karen Ocamb
That’s what I look for or extrapolate as an LGBT reporter.

LGBT people live intersectional lives and feel an empathetic gut-punch when any bias-based attack hits the news. But LGBT African Americans are not included or cross-indexed in an overview of racist hate crimes. And there is a whole separate category for the epidemic of murders of trans women of color. The Consumer Health Foundation, taking in access to healthcare, housing, jobs and violence, for instance, said in 2018 that the life expectancy for a trans woman of color is 31. Bamby Salcedo, founder and CEO of TransLatin@ Coalition, puts it closer to 22.

This horrifying statistic is ignored, as are other facts and assessments. The Williams Institute and the Center for American Progress have reported that those most at risk for poverty are African-American lesbian couples with children in the South. How can you put food on the table if you can’t get a job because of your real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity? But where is discussion of the Equality Act in the mainstream media?

LGBT people are officially second-class citizens, no matter how much money we do or don’t have; or how much we contribute to politicians or non-profits; no matter how many voters we turn out; no matter if the media is taken with one of us credibly running for president of the United States.

To be sure, the mainstream cares when there’s a big newsworthy event or a phenomenon like the epidemic of gay teen suicides that led to the It Gets Better movement. Remember that? Well, LGBT kids are still killing themselves.

But for the most part, we are ignored or erased from the narrative. For example: on Feb. 22, 2019, Thomas T. Cullen, US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times entitled, “The Grave Threats of White Supremacy and Far-Right Extremism,” which is posted on the Justice Department’s website.

In it, Cullen writes: “In 2009, Congress took an important step in arming federal investigators to deal with hate crimes by passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This law makes it possible to prosecute as hate crimes violent acts committed against victims because of their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or disability. The law provides stringent maximum penalties, including life imprisonment, if someone is killed during a hate crime.”

Matthew Shepard was gay but Cullen curiously omits sexual orientation when talking about the hate crime bill.

The LGBT press offers an alternative to that void, to that willful and benign ignorance. And we have since at least 1947 when Lisa Ben typed Vice Versa onto several carbon copies to distribute the “magazine” to other lesbians she met covertly. Homosexuality was criminal in many states until 2003 when the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law criminalizing consenting adult gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas.

But ironically, it was the Supreme Court that enabled gay people to find one another through the distribution of ONE Magazine. ONE Inc, which had broken off from the Silver Lake-based Mattachine Society, founded in 1950 by Harry Hay, started publishing ONE Magazine in 1952. But in 1954, the Los Angeles Postmaster Otto Olesen refused to mail the publication, describing the October 1954 issue as “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy.”

But ONE fought back and while it took until 1958, it prevailed in the landmark First Amendment case. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner credited the victory in One, Inc. v. Olesen with enabling him to distribute Playboy magazine through the mail, thus jump-starting the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

ONE reported in the next issue: “For the first time in American publishing history, a decision binding on every court now stands, … affirming in effect that it is in no way proper to describe a love affair between two homosexuals as constitut(ing) obscenity,” according to a report about the case in the LA Times.

That perception, however, didn’t hold with the general public and the LGBT community is still fighting harmful beliefs that we need to change or die.

Nonetheless, LGBT people have persisted throughout our history: Jim Kepner, a writer for ONE Magazine, collected many of the publications aimed at informing and bolstering LGBT people, all of which he turned into an archive that now resides with ONE Institute at USC. That includes The Ladder, published by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, co-founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, from 1956 to 1972, and The Lesbian Tide, published by Jeanne Cordova, who ensured that ONE had a lesbian section curated by Yolanda Retter. ONE also houses Alan Bell’s BLK Magazine and other publications such as The LA Advocate, first published before the Stonewall Riots to let gay people know about protests against LAPD bar raids.

Perhaps most importantly, the LGBT press recorded the devastation of the AIDS crisis — and not without financial risk and consternation. When Frontiers publisher Bob Craig reprinted Larry Kramer’s explosive essay, “AIDS 1,112 and counting…,” — first published in the New York Native, Issue 59, March 14-27,1983 — bar owners threw the magazine out lest it scare off patrons who didn’t want to even think about the mysterious new disease killing gay men.

As the alternative to the mainstream media, it often falls to us to ask the questions other reporters may not even think about. That’s what happened in April 1992, after the LA Riots finally forced longtime anti-LGBT LAPD Chief Daryl Gates to resign. Mayor Tom Bradley and the LA Police Commission introduced new Chief Willie Williams at a news conference broadcast live to the city.

I sat up front. LGBT civilians had major problems with the LAPD — the Christopher Commission Report indicated that cops often dubbed gays “NHI” – meaning “No Human Involved.” But gay and lesbian officers also felt harassed on the job — as evidenced by Sgt. Mitch Grobeson’s lawsuit that included testimony that he did not receive backup in a dangerous situation.

When I asked Williams about how he would treat gay officers and how he would enforce non-discrimination policies, the whole room went silent. Officials blanched with consternation since they clearly had not prepared him for the question. Seconds later, the clicks from photographers’ cameras deafened the air as Williams answered that he had a track record in Philadelphia of working with the city’s gay community and would do so here. One of his first stops after being sworn in was at the LA Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center. It was all major news, but mostly to us.

Today, we have Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon as broadcast stars and the general public seems more inclined to like us. But on the ground, it’s still hard to come out, LGBT teen suicide is still prevalent, trans murders are still an epidemic, and Trump and some states are still trying to roll back or stop LGBT rights.

And yet we continue to prevail — and the LGBT press continues, as well.

Take Luis Sandoval, who recently came out on Univision. It’s had a big impact on him and his audience. “I finally was honest and transparent with the audience and by doing so, I was opening a little door to start the conversation about important issues that have been part of my own experience: such as bullying, suicidal thoughts, lack of rights, depression and many more issues that affect our LGBTQ community,” Sandoval told the Los Angeles Blade.

“Growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, most of the gay males I would see on TV were dying of AIDS. It was terrifying to think I was also gay,” he said. “There were no role models to look up to. Now that I am on the other side of the screen, I feel it is my responsibility to make a difference, even if it is only one person at a time. If I can save one life, or make someone’s life a little easier, it will be worth my while.”

And this is why reporting on LGBT people not as a “social issue” but as human beings fighting for civil rights is central to the mission of the LGBT press.

SPECIAL REPORT
Volume 21
Issue 3

GUEST COMMENTARY: Why we need LGBTQ media

by Kevin Naff
(Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. This editorial originally appeared in the Los Angeles Blade. It is republished with permission of the Los Angeles Blade.)

As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, panel discussions are breaking out all over the country about the LGBT movement, its history and future. One of the topics getting some attention is the role of the LGBT media in the movement.

Kevin Naff
The Los Angeles LGBT Center hosted a panel discussion on May 8 titled “Breaking News, Breaking Barriers,” a conversation with LGBT journalists about the coverage and representation of LGBT people in the media from the late 1960s through today. The Los Angeles Blade’s tireless news editor/reporter Karen Ocamb served on the panel, along with LZ Granderson and Bettina Boxall of the LA Times and Luis Sandoval of Despierta America.

One expected question: Why we need the LGBT media in 2019? It’s a question I encountered countless times during the 2016 presidential campaign, when Hillary Clinton was assured victory and would cement all the progress toward equality of the Obama years. Clinton may have neglected the Rust Belt during her campaign, but she remembered her LGBT base and granted the Blade an interview late in the campaign.

We get the rather insulting question about why we need our own niche press a lot in social media comments, usually after identifying a source as LGBT. “Who cares if Pete Buttigieg is gay?!? Why does it matter?!?” Cable news pundits have wondered the same. The reason it matters is that it’s never happened before at this level. And imagine the inspiration Buttigieg is providing to the confused, closeted kid in Indiana right now.

Insulting the LGBT media and questioning the need for our existence is a particular form of disrespect and homophobia. That disrespect has come from all sides. Prominent Washington Post opinion writers for years relied on the Blade’s coverage to inform their commentary without citing us, a professional faux pas bordering on unethical. The Democratic National Committee’s former director of communications, Karen Finney, once wrote in an email that she used the Blade to line her birdcage during a tumultuous period when the DNC was being sued by its former LGBT liaison and we were running critical stories. The birdcage line is a lame insult, but if she’d directed it at the African-American press or Jewish press, she would have been fired.

The need for our work is clearer now that we’re back to a hostile administration in the White House. Mainstream reporters rarely ask questions in the White House and State Department briefing rooms about LGBT topics. As Barney Frank used to say, “If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” Underrepresented communities need to tell their stories through their own lens. Take a look at the New York Times or Washington Post straight-washed obituaries of prominent LGBT people over the last 30 years and compare them to obits in the LGBT press and you’ll see that importance.

More recently, the Blade has focused on Latin America and immigration, embedding with LGBT migrants at the border since their plight is unique and largely ignored by mainstream outlets.

LGBT media outlets also speak the language of our community — and in a way that’s not patronizing. Take the recent trolling in the New York Post of a supposedly closeted bisexual presidential candidate jealous of Buttigieg’s surging poll numbers. We know they’re talking about Sen. Cory Booker, even as the Post hides behind dated, cheeky innuendo in raising the longstanding but unconfirmed rumors.

LGBT media are also unafraid of writing about the sexual orientation of public officials when they are attacking their own or working for an administration undermining our equality. Most heterosexual, mainstream reporters and readers would be shocked to learn that President Trump has possibly appointed a gay Cabinet secretary in the EPA’s Andrew Wheeler. 

That as-yet-unconfirmed rumor has swirled since his days as counsel for the notorious homophobe Sen. Jim Inhofe. We’ve never had an openly gay Cabinet secretary, so Wheeler has a chance to make history if it’s true.

And he’s not the only senior Trump official who may be hiding a gay secret (stay tuned). LGBT outlets were ahead of mainstream outlets on everyone from Sen. Larry Craig to Fox News’s Shepard Smith.

As the Washington Blade prepares to celebrate its own 50th this year, all of us are working hard to fulfill that longstanding mission of telling LGBT stories and writing the first draft of our own history.

GUEST COMMENTARY
Volume 21
Issue 3

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Beau Magazine of Charleston, S.C.

Interview with Publisher Maria Rivers
by Joe Siegel

Year founded: 2014

Staff size and breakdown: 4 main staffers plus local guest writers


*****

PPQ: What feature or features of Beau have been the most popular with readers? 

Publisher Maria Rivers: Our articles we do inside the art of drag have seen some pretty high feedback. I do recall the issue that Harlan Greene – head of the College of Charleston Library and our local “Godfather of LGBT History" – was on the cover, we couldn’t keep the magazines stocked. They flew off the stands.

PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it? 

Rivers: Oddly enough, the name was blurted out when a couple of my local friends and I were having a beer. Peter was from England originally, and his wife Ashley and him had recently returned from a visit there. Ashley and I were trying to hash out some options and Peter, out of the blue, was like “BEAU!” When I asked why Beau, he simply answered, "Because it’s friendly and sexy.” I loved it. After further research into the name, we found “Beau" to be multicultural in relating to someone fondly. It’s also the root word of BEAUtiful. We found it apropos to our mission and Beau was born. 

PPQ: What challenge has Beau had to overcome since its inception?

Rivers: Like many businesses that start in a small town, gaining the loyalty of your core market may be challenging when you are an outsider. Even though I had been in Charleston since 2010, and Jen and Jamie (Social Media Director and Sales Director) had lived here their whole lives, we found some sincere head-butts from a few people that considered themselves “leaders” in this community. Persistence, sustaining a positive attitude, and the enormous increase of population here since 2014 has helped us reach the populous as intended.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Beau facing now?

Rivers: Printed magazines are becoming obsolete. Local magazines are failing left and right. We don’t mind the change. We actually believe digital is better for the environment. We have amped our digital up to create up-to-date info everyday on BEAU-Magazine.com, including daily (and sometime hourly) updated RSS feeds from local to international LGBT news, fresh and original content filled with inspiring stories of our local heroes and underdogs (not to mention educational bits and humorous fun), and our widely focused LGBTQA business directory that we appropriately named the BizBEAU Guide (also with a direct link, BizBEAU.Guide). We are still publishing hard copies of Beau Magazine.

PPQ: How has the publication changed since it was first launched?

Rivers: We have and will always be a free publication written for our community, by our community. But I can say the biggest change has been the increase of population of LGBTQA people here. Our little community has proliferated to a mass population and still continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It’s really fun. We LOVE that. 
Maria Rivers of Beau Magazine

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Rivers: We have currently found the area of our transgender population to require more education to the public about their lifestyle, pronouns, diversity, etc. Beau will be teaming up with We Are Family, our non-profit support group for LGBTQIA youth (www.wearefamilycharleston.org). From there we will become a platform for voicing concerns, publishing information, activating support teams, and writing many stories and with many voices that thrive through the “T” luminosity of the rainbow.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Beau has covered?

Rivers: We LOVE our regional Prides. Jonatan Guerrero-Ramirez, Beau’s Editor and Social Media Director, had the best idea last year to travel around to the regional Prides and get videos and interviews of people in the celebrations. He asked the question, “What does Pride mean to you?” The responses were off the charts.

PPQ: On the Kinsey Scale of 0-6 (exclusively straight to totally gay), how gay is your publication?

Rivers: We had sent surveys out in the beginning and found that more than one third of our readership identified as allied straight. But the population has not only quadrupled in size since then, the areas of identifying have blurred in a way where it’s hard to lock down any type confirmed number. Transgender people may identify as straight now, those who have been and identified as bisexual may identify as lesbian or even straight – and vise-versa. Many people that identify as gay, lesbian and straight now identify as transgender.

PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way?

Rivers: We activate the people to tell their story while providing them encouragement, resources, and visibility. So yes, I would say we are activist journalists for the pioneers of LGBTQIIA movement in the 21st century.

PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader?

Rivers: For me personally, it was actually an advertiser that surprised me the most. Her and her husband owned a real estate group. Their daughter had recently come out to them and didn’t feel like they handled it right. They wanted to go a step further to support her in her coming out. So they decided to put their business, which attracted primarily straight, uppity, non-LGBT supportive clientele (her words, not mine), inside Beau Magazine loud and proud.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 21
Issue 3