Wednesday, September 30, 2015


What’s happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at

THE GAY ALLIANCE OF GENESEE VALLEY, publisher of Rochester, N.Y.-based THE EMPTY CLOSET, has moved to news offices in the city’s Neighborhood of the Arts. The new space will be known as the Gay Alliance Offices and LGBTQ Resource Center.

SHARON HOPE GITTLEMAN, a former writer for Livonia, Mich.-based BETWEEN THE LINES, died on July 7, 2015. She left the newspaper eight years ago due to kidney disease and ultimately passed away from complications of dialysis. She was 56.

GLBTQ.COM, which billed itself as the world’s largest encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture, closed down on August 1, 2015, due to lack of advertising revenue. It was launched in 2003, and in 2005, it was named one of the “Best Free Reference Websites” by the American Library Association. The website’s materials are still available at .

GUY CENTRAL FLORIDA MAGAZINE, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., published issue #001 on July 22, 2015.

STEVE LENIUS, a columnist for Minneapolis-based LAVENDER MAGAZINE for over 20 years, was selected student commencement speaker at Metropolitan State University and was chosen outstanding student in the university’s College of Individualized Studies.

SHANE LUECK, assistant managing editor of Minneapolis-based LAVENDER MAGAZINE, received a master’s degree in multicultural college teaching and learning from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

NIGHTSPOTS, a stand-alone biweekly publication of Chicago-based WINDY CITY MEDIA GROUP, merged into the weekly WINDY CITY TIMES in July 2015. NIGHTSPOTS, and its predecessor NIGHTLINES, published as a stand-alone publication for over 25 years. Editor and art director KIRK WILLIAMSON continues as leader of the new-look insert.

UNITE INDIANAPOLIS celebrated its first anniversary with its June/July 2015 issue.

Volume 17
Issue 6

NYC’s Troy Masters moves to L.A. to launch new publication

by Joe Siegel

On October 9, there will be a new gay publication in Los Angeles.

Troy Masters, a figure in the world of New York City LGBT media for over 25 years, is launching The Pride L.A. The newspaper will be printed bi-weekly and will serve heavily LGBT communities including but not limited to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Silver Lake and Downtown. The newspaper will have a print run of 20,000 in October and will also be available online at

Last month, Masters departed New York's Gay City News, which he helped launch in 2002. He had most recently served as associate publisher. He stepped down on August 21.

Masters was also founded Gay City News’ predecessor, Lesbian and Gay New York (LGNY), 1994. Before that, he was an advertising executive at New York’s OutWeek (1989-1991).

Troy Masters
Masters has joined Mirror Media Group, the publisher of the Santa Monica Mirror and five other community publications, according to a report in Gay City News (

Masters said Los Angeles is lacking a true community newspaper. He notes there are some other publications, but they don't provide the type of comprehensive coverage of the LGBT community, such as bills being debated by the state legislature, anti-gay hate crimes and business news.

“Essentially what I want to do is what I've always done throughout my career with LGNY, Gay City News, Outweek — to create a community platform,” Masters said.

“I started Gay City News. It's a part of my life, “ Masters said. “I will miss it desperately but I'm excited by this challenge.”

Volume 17
Issue 6

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trans* elders, faith and HIV coverage all hot topics as NLGJA convention and LGBT Media Summit “come home” to San Francisco

by Chuck Colbert
with additional reporting by Fred Kuhr

SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of LGBT news industry professionals and allies attended the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s (NLGJA) annual convention and 11th LGBT Media Summit, a four-day gathering held this year over the Labor Day weekend in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis.

This is the organization’s silver anniversary. The theme of this year’s gathering was Coming Home, a reference to the founding of the organization in 1990 in the Bay Area by the late Leroy F. Aarons, an openly gay pioneering journalist, editor and author.

During the main convention, attendees heard keynote speakers, panelists, and workshop leaders address a variety of topics, including the LGBT movement after marriage equality, freelancing, social media trends, transgender coverage and being out in broadcast media.

The one-day summit focusing solely on LGBT media featured two plenary sessions, one on faith and LGBT youth and another on misgendering in the news. Other panels focused on HIV/AIDS coverage in LGBT media and AIDS specific media, documentary journalism with filmmakers, transgender children coming out, journalism and activism, journalists as authors and the history of LGBT media.

At the end of the day, CNN's Richard Quest interviewed The Weather Channel's Sam Champion on stage for the opening night reception, Sept. 3.

Windy City Times publisher and executive editor Tracy Baim, co-chair of the LGBT Media Summit, was pleased with the day’s proceedings.

“The LGBT Media Summit went very well this year,” she said in email correspondence. “We had fantastic speakers, plenaries and panels on a wide range of topics. Many general conference attendees came early to attend the sessions, so attendance was up from last year. We tried to have a wide range of voices so media could get a sense of issues ranging from misgendering to faith and families, so that reporters would have a sense of how to better cover these issues, and have connections to new potential sources.”

Windy City Times provided photo and video coverage of the summit and convention, along with a news story at

Moderator Ashley Love (left) with panelist Miss Major
Grifin-Gracy at LGBT Media Summit luncheon plenary
(Photo: Fred Kuhr)
The Media Summit luncheon plenary featured a panel of trans elders, including Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Veronika Fimbres and Jamison Green, Ph.D., who discussed misgendering of transgender people in the news, culture and Hollywood. Examples of misgendering include the use of improper pronouns, abandoned names and sensationalized gender stereotypes.

"Misgendering trans people is akin to bullying LGB people," said moderator Ashley Love, a transgender advocate.

Fimbres said, “Misgendering is the wrong calling of a person’s gender at the wrong time by the wrong people who don’t know what they are talking about. I think there is a rush to label people so quickly that the press, especially, has a tendency to rush to say things about somebody because they don’t want somebody else to break the story before them, which has a tendency to get something in the paper. It doesn’t matter what. It could be wrong, but they can prove it wrong later. Possibly and a lot of times, the police and people who cover trans murders or trans anything are misgendering and giving misinformation. And so we need to be a little slow and wait and see before we start calling people out for what they are or what we think they are.

Fimbres, the first openly transgender commissioned officer in the city and county of San Francisco, added, “The best way to find out what somebody is, if they are still living, is to ask them.”

For his part, Jamison, an advocate, educator and author of “Becoming A Visible Man,” said, “Misgendering [of trans people] is looking at you and going, ‘I am judging you now.’”

Griffin-Gracy said, “Misgendering is more than just word usage. It’s an attitude, it’s how you look at us, how you receive us, It’s … your rule and your point of view on our bodies. It’s an attempt to make us real … and not take into account and credit who we are, how we got here, what we stand for, what our abilities are, what we can and cannot do. We are judged immediately by the opinions you all hold in your heads over us. …

“Whether you he-or-she me, I don’t give a damn, as long as what you say is with some sense of respect. I’ll be he, fine. I didn’t do this shit to pass … I am too big and too beautiful to do that. … So if you want to stop misgendedring, stop judging people by what their appearances are, by what you think they are before you get to know them. Introduce yourself. Find out who the hell they are, and then meet them on their grounds.”

Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion. In fact, the upcoming movie “Stonewall,” became an example of the culture and Hollywood “whitewashing” history by portraying the story of Stonewall through the eyes of a white man, rather than the trans people and people of color who actually fought back against the police on that pivotal night in 1969 that launched the modern gay rights movement.

Another controversial topic was Caitlyn Jenner, who panelists agreed did not represent the totality of trans people’s lives. After much discussion of Jenner and “Stonewall,” Griffin-Gracy had had enough. She apologized, but left the room before the discussion was over.

For fuller reporting of the plenary, see Liz Highleyman's piece in Bay Area Reporter at

The LGBT Media Summit’s opening plenary, “Faith, Family, and Futures for LGBT Youth,” was moderated by Cathy Renna and featured Rabbi Debra Kolodny; Mitch Mayne, an openly gay Mormon active in his church; Dr. Caitlin Ryan, founder of the Family Acceptance Project; and Holly Montgomery, a Mormon mother of gay son.

Renna is a senior executive vice president at Target Cue, LLC, a consultancy that specializes in providing public relations and marketing communications services to not-for-profit organizations seeking to reach highly-defined audiences.

Mayne told attendees that when he began his outreach to make the Mormon culture in the Bay Area more welcoming, “the floodgates opened.”

“I can’t underscore how agonizing these stories were to hear,” he said. “Married men or women who had known they were gay or lesbian and had gone ahead and married someone of the opposite gender with the hope that over time they would change or had been told they would change.”

Mayne also heard from “single LGBT Mormons who desperately wanted to return to their family of faith,” he said. “Our faith is not something we do for three hours on Sunday. It’s very much a culture. When we extract ourselves from that culture, we lose our families and our friends. That changes our life trajectory and often in not great ways.”

The other stories Mayne heard were from parents of LGBT Mormon youth.

Wendy Montgomery shared her experience when her 13-year-old son came out.

“My neatly ordered Mormon world turned upside down. I had no context for anything LGBT,” she said. “All I knew was God considered it an abomination, evil and wrong. AIDS was God’s punishment to the homosexual community. My question came from how do I love him as a Mormon. My pain came from feeling like I was being forced to choose between the child I loved and the God I loved.”

Mayne and Montgomery credited Ryan’s groundbreaking Family Acceptance Project — a research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for LGBT children and youth — for their efforts to reconcile faith and family.

In her remarks, Ryan spoke to the risks of suicide, self-medication, drug abuse and risky sexual behavior.

For her part, Kolodny said that studies show bisexual youth have the highest rate of suicide attempts, highest substance abuse and highest incidence of lack of family support.

And yet, she said, the landscape of various faith communities over the last 50 years shows real change for the better, with more and more denominations welcoming LGBTs.

One panel focused HIV and AIDS coverage, specially in LGBT and AIDS media. This was a followup to a panel at last year’s convention about media coverage of HIV/AIDS. 

POZ Magazine editor in chief Oriol Gutierrez (left) with
Olivia Ford, contributing editor at, at  "AIDS
and HIV Coverage in LGBT and AIDS-specific media"
(Photo: Fred Kuhr)
Moderator Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor-at-large of The Advocate and editor-in-chief of Plus magazine, presented a style guide put together by Plus magazine regarding words and terms related to HIV/AIDS.

“There are a lot of stigmatizing words, and you still see it in our own media. Things like ‘full-blown AIDS.’ There’s no such thing as ‘full-blown AIDS,’” said Anderson-Minshall. “You either have AIDS or you don’t. It doesn’t blow.”

The full style guide is available at

Yet another summit panel focused on the history of LGBT media.

Mike Flannagan, who writes a history column for San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter, spoke to the difference between mainstream and LGBT media.

“The big difference is that mainstream media, even if they cover our community, [do so] for the benefit of the mainstream community,” he said. “They are not covering our communities for our communities.”

Windy City Media Group's Tracy Baim (right) with Bay Area
Reporter columnist Mike Flannagan at "Queerly Beloved:
25 Years of LGBT Media" (Photo: Fred Kuhr)
Panelist and publisher Baim spoke to the business side of LGBT media vis-à-vis mainstream outlets.

“It is immensely frustrating to me that what little advertising there is targeting us often gets swallowed up by The New York Times.”

Referring to BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, she added, “Yes, they exist and they cover LGBTs, but it is so low cost to respect and honor and get the depth of coverage that LGBT media provides relative to a New York Times ad.”

Advertising needs to be in both mainstream and LGBT media, Baim said.

During the convention’s Authors’ Cafe, Baim also spoke about her new book, “Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer.” It is the first full-length biography of the woman often referred to as the mother of the gay-rights movement. This is Baim’s 11th book on LGBT history.

Mark Segal recounting stories from
his forthcoming book,
"And Then I Danced"
(Photo: Fred Kuhr)
 Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, also spoke at the Authors’ Cafe, telling stories from his new memoir, “And Then I Danced: Travelling The Road to LGBT Equality.” Among the stories he chronicled in the book, Segal spoke of his protest against and ultimate friendship with CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. Segal’s book comes out in October.

For Tammye Nash, managing editor of Dallas Voice, this was her third convention as an attendee.

“There has always been a dichotomy at these conventions between those of us working in the LGBT media and LGBT journalists in mainstream media,” she said in email correspondence after the conference had ended. “A lot of the issues we deal with are the same, of course, but there are so many things that are different.

“I believe the main reasons NLGJA was founded were to support LGBT journalists in mainstream media in advocating for better coverage of LGBT issues and in advocating for better treatment of LGBT journalists/employees by mainstream media outlets. Those aren't — at least, shouldn't be! — the same issues that those of us in the LGBT media are personally concerned with. So some of the sessions on Friday and Saturday weren't as personally pertinent for me as the LGBT Media Summit on Thursday.”

Since Nash hasn’t attended a conference since the 1990s, she was struck by how the focus of the conference had changed over time. “Sessions used to be all about getting protections for LGBT journalists in the workplace and about how to improve mainstream media coverage of our community. There was still a focus on those issues, of course, because the prejudices still exist. But, there was also focus on just improving ourselves as journalists. One of the sessions I attended Saturday was about how to improve your 'it' factor as a broadcast journalist. It wasn't on the surface really relevant to me as a print journalist in the LGBT media, but I actually felt like some of the tips they offered could be translated to print. And one of the Thursday sessions I went to offered advice for LGBT journalists interested in becoming book authors. Seeing the broadening of focus is a good sign, I think.”

Volume 17
Issue 6

Georgia Voice hires its first African-American editor

by Chuck Colbert

Atlanta-based Georgia Voice has a new editor. He is Darian Aaron, who joined the staff on August 21.

“I’m humbled by this amazing opportunity to lead one of the premier LGBT publications in the country," Aaron said. "With this new role, I will become the first African-American editor of The Georgia Voice. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I look forward to returning home to help tell the stories of one of the most vibrant and diverse LGBT communities in the nation.” 

Aaron is an award-winning digital journalist, blogger and author who is best known for his award-winning LGBT blog "Living Out Loud with Darian."

Darian Aaron, new editor of
Georgia Voice
Aaron's journalism experience includes both print and television. He has been a contributor to numerous publications including CLIK Magazine (where he served as a staff writer), the Advocate, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Project Q Atlanta, the Montgomery Advertiser, AOL Black Voices and several LGBT websites including Keith Boykin, Rod 2.0, Pam’s House Blend and Mused Magazine. He recently completed fellowships in television and radio news reporting at WSFA 12 News and WVAS FM 90.7 in Montgomery, Ala. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Alabama State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

"We are extremely fortunate that Darian made the decision to join our staff," said Chris Cash, managing partner of Georgia Voice. "His energy and enthusiasm, combined with his journalistic talent, is an unbeatable combination. It can't be easy to follow in the footsteps of Laura Douglas-Brown and Dyana Bagby, but I have no doubt Darian will prove to be a great asset to us and to the community."

Aaron has volunteered his time and talents to numerous LGBT causes. He has served as a member of the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition and as an organizer for the annual State of Black Gay America Summit during Atlanta Black Gay Pride. In 2011, he was one of dozens of black gay activists invited to attend the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD’s) first Media Institute in New York City. He received a GLAAD award for his work in Atlanta's LGBT community the following year.

In the spring of 2014, while a student at Alabama State University, he founded AMPLIFIED, the first ever LGBT chartered student organization in the history of the university. 

Aaron is a member of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Volume 17
Issue 6

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Bobby Blair
What’s happening at your publication? Let us know. Email editor Fred Kuhr at

BOBBY BLAIR, CEO and founder of Florida-based MULTIMEDIA PLATFORMS and a former world-ranked tennis player, took part in a celebrity tennis exhibition on June 7, 2015. The event, which also included Major League Baseball’s BILLY BEAN and former NBA player JASON COLLINS, was part of the City of West Hollywood’s Pride Tennis Tournament.

GED (GAY ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTORY), based in Long Beach, Calif., entered its third year of publication with its June/July 2015 issue.

ARIN JAYES is the new administrative assistant at the NATIONAL LESBIAN & GAY JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION’s Washington D.C. headquarters.

Michael Key (Photo: Blake Bergen)
MICHAEL KEY, the WASHINGTON BLADE’s photo editor, won first place honors in the D.C. Society of Professional Journalists Dateline Awards in the category of photojournalism. Three other Blade staffers were recognized as finalists in the competition: Blade Arts Editor JOEY DIGUGLIELMO in the category of Arts Criticism; and Blade Reporter MICHAEL LAVERS and Editor KEVIN NAFF in the Commentary category.

METRO WEEKLY, based in Washington, D.C., celebrated its 21st anniversary with its May 7, 2015, issue.

THE MIRROR, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its fourth year of publication with its Summer 2015 issue.

OPTIONS, based in Rhode Island, has moved its office from suburban Pawtucket to Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood, close to the city’s downtown core.

UNITE VIRGINIA, based in Richmond, Va., published its premier issue earlier this summer. It’s the latest publication under the Unite banner, which includes UNITE TENNESSEE, UNITE BUSINESS and UNITE INDIANAPOLIS.

LAUREN WALLESER has stepped down as assistant editor of Boston-based THE RAINBOW TIMES for the last two and a half years. She is replaced by SARA BROWN. Also new to the publication are MILO TODD as reporter and JESSICA CASTELLANOS as reporter intern.

Volume 17
Issue 5

NLGJA convention and LGBT Media Summit to celebrate 25th anniversary back home in San Francisco

by Chuck Colbert
additional material added by Fred Kuhr

More than 350 journalists, news executives, and communications professionals are expected in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend when the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) convenes its annual convention and 11th LGBT Media Summit at the Westin St. Francis. This is the organization’s silver anniversary. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Coming Home.”

The four-day convention begins with the LGBT Media Summit on Thursday, Sept. 3, followed by two full days of main convention programming, with plenaries and breakout sessions designed to address the needs of journalists and those in the communications industry.

NLGJA President
Jen Christensen
“I’m thrilled to have some of the most powerful LGBT leaders in the news business who will all be on one plenary to give us the inside scoop on the business and their personal perspective on what it is like to be out at the top,” said Jen Christensen, NLGJA’s president, in an email. “In a tribute to our 25th anniversary, that plenary will be moderated by top editor-turned-professor Linda Villarosa, who happened to be NLGJA’s very first keynote speaker.”

Joining Villarosa will be the first openly gay newsman to anchor a network newscast, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, and Eden Lane, the first trans woman to anchor a mainstream news show. “Together they will join some other top talent to talk about what it is like to be out and on the air these days,” said Christensen.

“And our opening keynote will be a fascinating conversation between two ever-interesting anchors, CNN’s Richard Quest and the Weather Channel’s Sam Champion,” she said. “We’ve got some incredible professional development opportunities taught by several Pulitzer Prize and Peabody winners, who will help us sharpen our traditional writing, interviewing, and research skills, and we’ve got some smart and forward-looking thinkers from Google and Linkedin who will offer exclusive bootcamps for members to teach them a new trick or two when it comes to the best practices of social media and digital research.”
Christensen and Ken Miguel, NLGJA’s vice president of broadcasting, are the main convention co-chairs.

LGBT Media Summit

Before the main convention, professionals working in LGBT media will take part in a daylong, in-depth look at gay media.

This year’s Media Summit co-chairs are Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of Chicago-based Windy City Times, and Michael Yamashita, publisher of San Francisco-based Bay Area Reporter.

Michael Yamashita,
publisher of Bay Area Reporter and
LGBT Media Summit co-chair
(Photo: Cynthia Laird)
“We are proud to be the host city for the 25th anniversary of NLGJA, where it was founded, and the 11th Annual LGBT Media Summit,” said Yamashita in an email. “Tracy Baim has put together a spectacular variety of panels and presenters on diverse topics that are relevant to our communities now and in the near future. Although we have achieved marriage equality in this country, our overall battle for fairness and justice is far from over. The topics offered at the convention will help inform and guide journalists about our current issues whether they work in mainstream or LGBT media.”

Baim added, “I am looking forward to the wide range of programs and presenters we have at the LGBT media summit this year. We have panels that look back historically at LGBT media, and panels that look at the critical issues of today, including transgender coverage, religious issues, activism, younger journalists, and documentary journalists. There is a lot of interest to non-journalists, and mainstream journalists, not just those in LGBT media.”

Plenary and panel topics include “Faith, Family and Futures for LGBT Youth,” “Affirmation Proclamation: Trans* Elders Review Misgendering in News, Culture and Hollywood,” “Queerly Beloved: 25 Years of LGBT Media,” and “Black, LGBT and Read All Over: African-American Journalists in LGBT Media.”

Inductees to LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame

In advance of the convention, NLGJA announced six new inductees into the organization’s LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.  They are Randy Alfred, Alison Bechdel, Alan Bell, Lou Chibbaro, Jr., Charles Kaiser, and Armistead Maupin.

Randy Alfred may be best known for his detailed 1980 probe of the biased and unfair portrayal of San Francisco's gay community in CBS Reports' “Gay Power, Gay Politics,” an investigation that ultimately resulted in CBS making a rare public apology for its failed coverage. In 1978, he co-founded the San Francisco Bay Times, the first community newspaper on the West Coast to be produced equally by lesbians and gay men. Alfred is one of the founding board members of NLGJA, according to the organization’s press release.

Alison Bechdel, has been writing for and about the LGBT community since 1983 when she began producing and self-syndicating “Dykes to Watch Out For,” a comic strip chronicling the lives, romances, and political involvement of a group of lesbians. In addition, Bechdel has been honored with a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012, a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2014, and a Tony Award for the musical adaptation of her graphic memoir “Fun Home.”

Alan Bell has been a presence within LGBT journalism for almost 40 years. Beginning in 1977 when he founded Gaysweek, New York City’s first mainstream lesbian and gay newspaper, and continuing with BLK and Blackfire, Bell has been a pioneer of LGBT journalism and activism, particularly on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. He continues to work with many non-profit organizations including the Minority AIDS Project, the Magic Johnson Foundation, and the Black AIDS Institute.

Charles Kaiser is an award-winning author and journalist, as well as an NLGJA founding board member and the second president of the New York Chapter of NLGJA. He has been practicing his craft since 1971, when he began writing for the New York Times while still an undergraduate at Columbia College. After eight years at the Times, he also wrote for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, as well as publishing three books, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning “The Gay Metropolis,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Lou Chibbaro, Jr., a prize-winning reporter for the Washington Blade, first took up his pen in 1976 under the pseudonym Lou Romano. Fast forward four decades, Chibbaro has covered almost everything for the Blade, including the nation’s political triumphs and protests, the rise of the AIDS epidemic, federal efforts to find and fire gay government employees and towering gay civil rights figures like the late Dr. Frank Kameny. Chibbaro made journalism history as the first LGBT inductee into the Society of Professional Journalists’ Washington Pro Chapter Hall of Fame.

Armistead Maupin is the author of nine best-selling novels, including six “Tales of the City” books, which were originally collected from the daily serials he wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle beginning in 1976. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were captured from the first three Tales novels, and “The Night Listener” became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. A young man of the South and a Vietnam veteran, Maupin began his journalism career writing for The Daily Tar Heel, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s student newspaper.

Excellence in Journalism Awards

NLGJA only recently announced the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards. These awards were established in 1993 to foster and recognize excellence in journalism on issues related to the LGBT community.

Many of those honored work in LGBT media. Below is a complete list of award recipients.

Journalist of the Year
First Place: J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed News
Second Place: JasonParsley, South Florida Gay News

Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media
First Place: Trish Bendix, AfterEllen
Second Place: Lucas Grindley, Here Media

The Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism
Steven Thrasher for “How College Wrestling Star ‘Tiger Mandingo’ Became An HIV Scapegoat,”

Excellence in Blogging Award
First Place: Rob Smith for "They Fought The Gays and The Gays Won: How The ‘Duck Dynasty’ Stars’ Homophobia Destroyed Their Brand,”
Second Place: Faith Cheltenham for “Bisexuals at the Gates,”

Excellence in HIV/Aids Coverage Award
First Place: Benjamin Ryan for “PrEP and Prejudice,” with Oriol Gutierrez, POZ Magazine
Second Place: Doug Moore for “2,000 St. Louisans are HIV Positive but Aren't Taking Their Medications,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Excellence in Multimedia Award
First Place: Mark Joseph Stern for “Get Déjà Vu Listening to Opponents of Interracial Marriage Argue at the Supreme Court,”
Second Place: Daniel Reynolds for “Day in LGBT America,” The Advocate, with Christopher Harrity, Yannick Delva, Michelle Garcia, Lucas Grindley, The Advocate
Third Place: J. Bryan Lowder for “Ask A Homo: Gay Bar Etiquette,”, with June Thomas

Excellence in News Writing Award
First Place: Andrew M. Seaman for Series on LGBT Health Coverage, Reuters
Second Place: Berlin Sylvestre for “Pro-LGBT Colorado Baker Slapped with Religious Discrimination Complaint,” Out Front Magazine
Third Place: Andy Birkey for “Evangelical Group Targets Twin Cities LGBT Community With ‘Ex-gay’ Message,” The Column

Excellence in Television Award
First Place: Sari Aviv for “Born This Way?,” CBS News Sunday Morning, with Rita Braver, Chad Cardin, Rand Morrison

Excellence in Online Journalism Award
First Place: Stephen Jiwanmall for “Remembering Riley,” Bucks County Courier Times
Second Place: Dave Singleton for “Finding Pride and Home: A Look at Housing for Older LGBT Adults,”
Third Place: Sunnivie Brydum for “40 Under 40: Emerging Voices,” The Advocate with Michelle Garcia, Lucas Grindley, Daniel Reynolds, Neal Broverman, Trudy Ring, Jase Peeples, Diane Anderson-Minshall, Parker Marie Molloy, Tracy E. Gilchrist, Annie Hollenbeck and Thom Senzee

Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing Award 
First Place: Mark Segal for Mark My Words Column, Philadelphia Gay News
Second Place: Richard Kim for Against the Current Column, The Nation
Third Place: Richard J. Rosendall for Cutting Holes in the Law, Washington Blade

Excellence in Photojournalism Award
First Place: T.J. Thomson for “More than a Formality,” Columbia Missourian
Second Place: Scott A. Drake for “Pride in Philly,” Philadelphia Gay News

Excellence in Radio Award
First Place: Tina Antolini for “Trans Families,” State of the Re:Union/WJCT with Al Letson
Second Place: Jason DeRose for “Religious Support for LGBT Ugandans,” KALW Public Radio with Julie Caine

Excellence in Student Journalism Award
Jessi Hotakainen for “Trans Mississippi,”

Founded in 1990, NLGJA is the leading professional organization for LGBT journalists with 18 chapters nationwide, as well as members around the globe. The 2015 Hall of Fame and Excellence in Journalism Awards Ceremony will take place on September 5 at the Coming Home National Convention & LGBT Media Summit and 25thAnniversary Celebration. More information is available at

Volume 17
Issue 5

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bilerico Project ends its “open-ended experiment”

by Chuck Colbert

For more than a decade, the influential blog Bilerico Project has provided “an open-ended experiment in communication and cultural community building,” according to a website posting about its history and mission. It was in effect a community forum, which has given voice to a wide range of LGBT writers and bloggers.

But on June 30, publisher and founder Bil Browning announced the end of the popular blog. The website, he said, would be archived at, with all 31,000 postings available for readers.

“Projects are meant to be temporary and so was Bilerico Project,” wrote Browning in his last post. “It’s time to wrap up our experiment. The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade and so have our lives and the LGBT movement itself. It's time to turn the page and start something fresh in this new environment.

“Together we've covered a multitude of important stories. From George W. Bush's election to the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, we've brought the best news and analysis we could. We’ve made a change in the Salvation Army's anti-LGBT policies and ensured an innocent HIV-positive immigrant was released from prison to die surrounded by loved ones. Together, our writers and readers have made a difference.”

Reaction to Browning’s announcement was expressed in gratitude and praise.

“It's been a privilege to have been part of Bilerico, and I will always value the connections I made there,” said writer Dana Rudolph in an email. “Bilerico was one of the models I looked to for inspiration when I launched Mombian 10 years ago, albeit with a narrower focus on parenting. Much as I will miss it, this sounds like the right decision … and I admire [the] courage in making it.”

“Thank you for teaching me about online journalism,” said Karen Ocamb, news editor at Los Angeles-based Frontiers Magazine, about Browning and the Bilerico Project. “You made me feel relevant again. After having spent years in daily broadcast journalism, I was extremely frustrated reporting only once or twice a week for LGBT print publications. Writing for Bilerico was exhilarating — even if I never quite got the hang of ‘loosening up’ and being as personal as [Browning] wanted me to be.

“One of my most fun moments, when I felt like I was contributing to the LGBT movement, happened on June 17, 2008, when [freelance reporter] Rex Wockner, [Bay Area Reporter’s] Cynthia Laird, and publishers from Sacramento and San Diego and I created a consortium for the day marriage equality hit California. We pooled our photos and provided them free to anyone who wanted to use them — via Bilerico. Bylines didn’t matter. Credit didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was sharing the excitement of that historical moment in time.”

Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor at large for Advocate magazine and, offered her thoughts.

“I absolutely believe that Bilerico really changed the conversation by embracing voices that weren't heard, not just in mainstream media but even in LGBT media,” she said in an e-mail. “Bilerico certainly made me a better journalist (and I never wrote for them) and it helped push our larger publications like The Advocate to really diversify, not just pay lip service to the idea of ‘diversity.’”

David Badash, founder and managing editor of The New Civil Rights Movement, said Browning gave him his “start in journalism outside of what was just my tiny blog, and I'm sure many others can say that as well.”

Badash added, “Bilerico has always been very cutting edge and progressive, and I learned a lot. I'm grateful for all [that Browning] taught me and for all the site ha[s] done for our community. It will be missed, greatly.”

The name for Bilerico is a combination of its founder’s first name (Bil) and the first name of Browning’s college friend, Eric Muramatsu.

A native of Indiana, Browning’s blog at first focused on LGBT issues in that state. In 2007, however, the blog took on LGBT political issues nationally, at the same time it embraced the full spectrum of LGBT life. Browning moved from his home state to a new base in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, Bilerico archives became part of a Smithsonian collection.

Volume 17
Issue 5