Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, entered its 19th year of publication with its June 2015 issue.

BALTIMORE OUTLOUD entered its 13th year of publication with its May 15, 2015, issue.

BILERICO PROJECT, the blog that has been produced by BIL BROWNING for almost 11 years, ceased publication on June 30, 2015. The site, however, will be archived at BILERICOPROJECT.COM.

RICK CLAGGETT is the new editor of Orlando, Fla.-based WATERMARK. He is also the publisher of the newspaper. Former editor STEVE BLANCHARD stepped down in May 2015.

ALAN-JOSEPH FORTENBERRY JR., a photographer for Trenton, N.J.-based OUT IN JERSEY and a former Mr. Gay New Jersey, passed away on March 26, 2015, at the age of 44.

GAY POLITICS REPORT, which has been produced weekly by the Washington, D.C.-based VICTORY FUND for over a decade, ceased publication on June 30, 2015.

GAYCATION MAGAZINE, based in Naperville, Ill., entered its second year of publication with its June/July 2015 issue.

METROSOURCE, based in New York City, introduced its Promises section, allowing readers to submit announcements such as weddings, engagements, anniversaries, adoptions, and other personal milestones.
NEXT MAGAZINE, based in NEW YORK CITY, has been acquired by Florida-based MULTIMEDIA PLATFORMS, which also publishes South Florida’s THE AGENDA and GUY MAGAZINE.

TAGG, based in Washington, D.C., has launched its new podcast TAGG NATION!

UNITE NASHVILLE announced that it will no longer be publishing bimonthly. The new publication schedule had not been determined, as of its May/June 2015 issue.

THE WORD, based in Indianapolis, Ind., entered its 24th year of publication with its June 2015 issue.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 4

High court marriage decision sparks reporting and analysis

by Chuck Colbert

On Friday, June 26 — just in time for LGBT Pride celebrations in several major cities — the U.S. Supreme Court handed the LGBT community one of its biggest legal victories in the decades-long struggle for full equality. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional.  Accordingly, states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold — and it now does hold — that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character. … The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty."

In fact, the word "liberty" resounded throughout the court’s ruling, with Kennedy using the word 25 times and the dissent, 122 times, as noted by veteran journalist Lisa Keen in her analysis.

Perhaps needless to say, LGBT media were all over the decision, with The Washington Blade, Metro Weekly, Gay City News, and the Advocate, among others reporting. Lisa Keen’s Keen News Service also provided coverage for several gay media outlets.

Press Pass Q asked veteran journalist Keen, who has been covering marriage equality for more than two decades, for thoughts on the importance of the Court’s ruling.

There were several key takeaway lessons, she said.

Lisa Keen of
Keen News Service
First, Keen said the most important part of the majority opinion is this part: “Loving did not ask about a ‘right to interracial marriage’; Turner did not ask about a ‘right of inmates to marry’; and Zablocki did not ask about a ‘right of fathers with unpaid child support duties to marry.’ Rather, each case inquired about the right to marry in its comprehensive sense, asking if there was a sufficient justification for excluding the relevant class from the right. That principle applies here.”

Said Keen, “It corrects a deliberate misinformation tactic used by opponents — a tactic that gives the impression that marriage for same-sex couples is a completely new and different thing than marriage for male-female couples.” 

On the other hand, Keen said the most important part of the dissent from Justice Antonin Scalia is this section: “Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best. Individuals on both sides of the issue passionately, but respectfully, attempted to persuade their fellow citizens to accept their views. Americans considered the arguments and put the question to a vote. The electorates of 11 States, either directly or through their representatives, chose to expand the traditional definition of marriage. Many more decided not to. Win or lose, advocates for both sides continued pressing their cases, secure in the knowledge that an electoral loss can be negated by a later electoral win. That is exactly how our system of government is supposed to work."

Keen went on to explain the significance of Scalia’s view. “It exposes how politically motivated Scalia's position is,” she said. “In 2000, Scalia signed onto an opinion that handed George W. Bush the presidency by asserting just the opposite — that it was the court's ‘responsibility to resolve the federal and constitutional issues the judicial system has been forced to confront.’ Now, all of a sudden, he wants the court to stay out of such conflicts.”

Now that the Supreme Court has settled the issue, making marriage equality the law of the land, Keen expects that “this issue will go away as something to be debated.”

At the same time, she said, “I think it will have enormous, immeasurable benefit to same-sex couples and their families — not just in tangible benefits, but in taking down another piece of the wall that has perpetuated the sense that gay people are different from everybody else. The next battles — which have been going on for some time now but which are likely to escalate — are the battles in which so-called 'religious beliefs' will be used to try and justify discriminating against gay couples. In the coming year or so, we can expect a lot of presidential candidates to be questioned in ways that try and force them to choose between rights to exercise religion and efforts to end discrimination. We already know Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz will stake out a radical religious claim. But I imagine everybody else is wrestling with that now. Nobody wants to be against religion or for discrimination. Neither of those positions are vote getters.”

Keen added, “I also think it's whacky to suggest that the freedom of religion is threatened by the exercise of equal protection. Unless your religion is hate-mongering. I blame the media in part for just accepting this notion that religious freedom and equal protection are not compatible. It’s like the baker who says he can't make a cake for the wedding of a same-sex couple because it's against his religious beliefs. Really? How is that "loving one another as I have loved you"?

Mark Segal, founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, offered thoughts on the landmark decision from a historical perspective. “I am thrilled with [the] Supreme Court decision —finally recognizing the LGBT community’s right to marriage equality,” he said. “[Sunday, June 28] mark[ed] the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. For those of us who were there, we never dreamed that this day would come. We welcome it with a sense of pride and joy.”

TOP STORY
Volume 17
Issue 4

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Get Out! Magazine of New York City

Interview with Publisher Mike Todd
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area:  New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

Year founded:  2009 

Staff size and breakdown [writers, sales reps., etc.]: One employee (the publisher) and an outside design firm

Average page count: 32-40

Key demographics: 60% Caucasian, 28% Latino, 10% African American, 2% other

Print run: 60,000

Website:  www.getoutmag.com

*****

Press Pass Q: What part of Get Out is the most popular?
Publisher Mike Todd: For Get Out! Magazine, we have featured everyone from an Oscar winner to a Grammy winner, to local talent, bartenders, to someone starting up their own business.  The best response is watching the cover personality see their covers and interview on release day.

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

Todd: I came up with the idea of launching a gay guide to the New York City area when the economy was going down and seeing people staying home more often than going out, that was the birth of G.O.O.T.H, meaning Get Out of the House, shortened to Get Out! in 2010.

PPQ: What challenges are you facing right now?
  
Todd: Right now we are facing a new competitor that will try to capture advertising by lowering their prices to compete one on one with Get Out! Magazine in the Manhattan area.

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an 'activist journalist'? If so, in what way?

Todd: I don't foresee myself as an activist journalist, however we are a community magazine that offers input from the readers and nightlife personalities and the venues.  

PPQ: Do you have any changes planned for Get Out! Magazine?

Todd: As for now, Get Out! continues to dominate the market in New York City and surrounding areas, so we will keep doing what we had started out doing. There are no changes in the near future. 

PPQ: What is the biggest story Get Out! Magazine has reported?

Todd: The biggest stories would be our international recording artists such as Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson as well as Annie Lennox, Fran Drescher and Brooke Shields interviews.

PPQ: What advice do you have for others working in LGBT media?

Todd: For other media companies, I would suggest keeping your magazine racks filled in. That’s the best thing you can do to keep advertisers coming back.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 17
Issue 4

Monday, July 13, 2015

All 32 years of Dallas Voice now digitized and online

by Chuck Colbert

The University of North Texas (UNT) has digitized and put online all 32 years of the Dallas Voice.

Funding for the project came in part from a $20,000 grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Additional funds were also raised to complete the project, said David Taffet, a Dallas Voice staff writer closely associate with the effort. In all, the total cost was at least $30,000, he said.

“In 2013, across the entire newspaper collection, issues on the portal averaged 15.54 uses for every single issue,” said Dreanna Belden, UNT assistant dean for external relations, according to a posting by Taffet on the publication’s website. “In 2013, the Dallas Voice experienced an average use per issue of 58.22 uses per issue, which is much higher than statistics for the rest of the collection.”

In other words, Dallas Voice issues were used four times as often as the entire historic newspaper collection for the portion of Dallas Voice the university already had — from 2004 through 2013.
The Dallas Voice's first front page

Belden also said the paper would be digitized from original paper copies to create high-quality, searchable PDF documents online.

During a telephone interview, Taffet explained the origins of the project to digitize. “I was interviewing a couple who was celebrating their 50th anniversary,” he said. “And as we were talking, I said, ‘Their stories need to be preserved. They need to be written down in more than just this article. We need to keep this history.’ So they started contacting people and formed a new group, The Dallas Way, which is preserving LGBT history in a number of ways.”

The Dallas Way folks helped connect UNT with Dallas Voice to undertake the project, Taffet said.

Asked what the digitizing means for LGBT publications, he said, “Now I can look things up online. About a year ago, I needed something from one of the early issues. I had to run down to the Dallas Public Library and go to the seventh floor, hand the librarian a list of the issues I needed. I got them out and flipped through the pages and took pictures. I did it the old way. If I am looking something up now I can get the info and search it all online.”

Taffet also said that at Dallas Voice, “We’ve been working hard to preserve gay history from the last 35 to 45 years. I think it is important for the community, to remain a vibrant community, you need to know where you came from.”

(To search the Dallas Voice database at UNT, connect to http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/DALVO/browse/.)

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 4

Washington Blade announces its first international news editor

by Chuck Colbert

Michael K. Lavers, a reporter for the Washington Blade since 2012, has been named the newspaper’s first international news editor. The new position was created in recognition of the newspaper’s growing focus on LGBT issues worldwide.

In addition to reporting international stories and cultivating LGBT sources abroad, Lavers will manage and edit the work of freelance contributors.

"We created this new position for Michael because it suits his many strengths as a bilingual [Spanish] journalist who relishes getting out into the field and covering LGBT stories wherever news is happening,” said Kevin Naff, the Blade’s editor. “He’s already traveled extensively for the Blade so this makes his focus on international matters official.”

The Washington Blade's
Michael K. Lavers
In fact, Lavers has reported from the Netherlands, Columbia, and Peru, among other locations.

"As LGBT rights advance at home, more and more countries are finally starting to grapple with the same issues with decidedly mixed results. I believe that American journalists with the resources to do it have an obligation to assist LGBT people in other countries by shining a light on injustice, hate crimes and government persecution. That's what the Blade is endeavoring to do with this new focus and commitment,” Naff added. "The Blade occupies a unique position in the movement given our proximity to lawmakers in the U.S. who can have an impact on LGBT issues abroad. And so we will also work to hold them accountable to promises and commitments made to LGBT people around the world." 

Lavers has recently returned from a week in Cuba, where he traveled the island nation reporting on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and the Dominican Republic, where he interviewed local officials, activists, and U.S. ambassador James "Wally" Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake. In the Dominican Republic, Lavers also joined other LGBT media professionals from the U.S. and Latin America to learn about a campaign to promote LGBT tourism in the country.

Through email correspondence, Lavers said that his first overseas trip on behalf of the Blade was to Bogotá, Colombia, in 2013 to cover a USAID-sponsored training of local LGBT rights advocates that focused on how they can become more involved in the country's political process.

“I also used the trip as an opportunity to interview local advocates, elected officials and government representatives about the country's LGBT rights movement,” he said. "The LGBT rights movement over the last several years has become an increasingly global one. More countries are extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. Transgender people are gaining additional legal protections and discussions to decriminalize homosexuality in countries where it remains illegal are becoming more visible. These movements are similar to efforts that remain underway here in the U.S. in terms of expanding rights to the LGBT community. The issues on which they work — anti-LGBT violence, discrimination, and political representation, as three examples — are also similar, but the activism surrounding them varies based on the situation in a particular country."

And yet, Anti-LGBT violence and discrimination remains a serious problem in several countries — events in Russia, Uganda, Egypt, Gambia and other nations with anti-LGBT rights records that have taken place during his tenure at the Blade.

"The Blade has recognized that international issues are an increasingly important part of its coverage of the LGBT rights movement,” said Lavers. “I have been interested in international issues since I was growing up in New Hampshire. This only increased with my semester abroad in southern Spain and with my trip to Cuba last month. I am thankful to the Blade for the opportunity to continue reporting on these issues and to further expand the publication's international coverage."  

Reaction to the Lavers’ appointed has been positive.

“I am excited that the Washington Blade has a strong commitment to coverage of international issues,” said Mike Rogers, vice chairman and managing director of Raw Story Media, Inc., in an email. “It is important that LGBT media tell these stories from our perspectives and voices. Mike is a hard worker and dedicated journalist. The LGBT community is fortunate to have him be a part of our storytelling.”

For his part, Matt Thorn, interim executive director of Outserve/SLDN, said that he “always enjoy[ed] Lavers reporting from abroad and [would] continue to look forward to future pieces. Far too often we in the U.S. are insular to what is taking shape around the world, unless it is a major development. [Mike] ha[s] delved deeper into the international LGBT communities, and I thank [him] for that.”

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 4

Windy City’s Tracy Baim celebrates “Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer” in new book

by Chuck Colbert

Tracy Baim, published author as well as executive editor of Chicago-based Windy City Times, has a new book out. “Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer” is the first full-length biography of the woman who has been called the mother of the gay-rights movement. Award-winning writer Lillian Faderman wrote the foreword for the book.

"As Baim shows, more than any lesbian leader of the 20th century, Gittings kept her eyes sharply focused on the prize of civil rights for gay people," Faderman wrote.

The work of Gittings in the LGBT movement spanned from the late 1950s until her death in 2007. Her partner in life, Kay Lahusen, photographed many of the movement's biggest actions during the 1960s, and more than 270 photos accompany this biography, making it a historical photo album of the movement.

Gittings was active in a wide range of pre- and post-Stonewall groups, including the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). She served as editor of DOB's newsletter, The Ladder. She worked with fellow gay pioneer Frank Kameny on many protests and legal cases fighting government discrimination.

Perhaps most important, Gittings was among the leaders of the push to change the American Psychiatric Association diagnosis of homosexuality as an illness, and she was among those pushing the American Library Association to be more inclusive of gays.

Through email correspondence, Baim explained what prompted her to write the book.

“Her surviving partner, Kay Lahusen, approached me through a mutual friend, Marie J. Kuda. She had seen my previous books, and we had communicated via phone and letters,” Baim explained. “I met her in person about two years ago, and then again last fall. At that point, she agreed to authorize me to work on the project, and the New York Public Library allowed for use of Lahusen’s images, since they now own them. The photos were a key part of what Kay wanted in the book, so that was half the battle. It was an honor to be asked by Kay to do this, because she and Barbara had always wanted to do this project when Barbara was alive.”

Praise for Baim’s new book comes from a variety of sources.

"This first and deeply moving biography of Barbara Gittings, pioneer of lesbian political activism, dramatically evokes a past of open, outrageous anti-homosexual discrimination," said author Jonathan Ned Katz, co-director of OutHistory.org, in a press release. "Today's radically different world was first imagined and then begun to be built by daring activists like Gittings." 
  
Author and historian John D'Emilio said in a statement, "Tracy Baim brings Gittings to life in this captivating and inspiring biography. Skillfully combining Gittings' own words with accounts of her activist campaigns, this biography makes clear how much Gittings accomplished. A committed activist for five decades, Barbara Gittings truly changed the world."  

"Barbara Gittings just about leaps from the pages of Tracy Baim's celebratory biography of the gay rights movement's happiest warrior," said Eric Marcus, author of “Making Gay History,” in a press statement. "Determined, persistent, persuasive, and wicked smart, Barbara wielded her smile like a machete, demolishing all demagogues and fools who got in the way of what she knew to be true about herself and the rest of us. How lucky were we that she was born at a time when we so desperately needed her to help blaze our path to freedom." 

"Tracy Baim has captured the life and legacy of the mother of gay liberation in America with this book. Barbara Gittings would have loved it. Another incredible book on our history," said Rev. Troy Perry in a statement. 

Bob Witeck — president and founder of Witeck Communications, a firm that specializes in strategic public relations and marketing communications for corporate and non-profit clients — offered his perspective. “I consider Barbara Gittings one of our movements’ most strategic and forceful intellects,” he said in email correspondence. “She was as obdurate and determined as Frank Kameny, but wore kid gloves and not boxing gloves. Baim is absolutely right about Barbara’s pre-eminent place in our movement, and seems she is too often neglected. She and Frank were like a crazy couple, with Barbara’s steady, strong intellect and warm voice, while Frank pierced authority and ear drums on a regular basis. Great complements to one another, especially pre-Stonewall.”

Baim is the author of 11 books on LGBT history, including
editor and co-author of “Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America” (2012), a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Top 10 selection from the American Library Association GLBT Round Table.

(“Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer” is available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Gittings-Pioneer-Tracy-Baim/dp/1512019747.)

IN THE NEWS
Volume 17
Issue 4

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

SIDNEY ABBOTT, a longtime New York City-based activist and co-author of the 1971 book, “Sappho Was a Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism,” died on April 15, 2015, in a house fire in Suffolk County, N.Y. She was 77.

Tracy Baim
TRACY BAIM, publisher and executive editor of Chicago’s WINDY CITY TIMES, is author of the new book, “BARBARA GITTINGS: Gay Pioneer,” the first full-length biography of the woman who has been called the mother of the gay rights movement.

STEVE BLANCHARD stepped down as editor of Orlando, Fla.-based WATERMARK as of May 15, 2015. After 10 years with the newspaper, Blanchard is now the media relations coordinator for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, a cancer research hospital.

FRONTIERS, based in Los Angeles, entered its 34th year of publication with its April 30-May 13, 2015, issue.

GAY PARENT MAGAZINE, based in Forest Hills, N.Y., published its 100th issue with its May/June 2015 issue.

WILLIAM B. KELLEY, writer and editor of the newsletter of Mattachine’s Midwest chapter, died in his sleep on May 17, 2015. The longtime Chicago-based LGBT activist leaves behind his partner of 36 years, CHEN K. OOI. He was 72.

Michael K. Lavers
MICHAEL K. LAVERS, a reporter for the WASHINGTON BLADE since 2012, was named the newspaper’s first international news editor. The new position was created in recognition of the newspaper’s growing focus on LGBT issues worldwide.

THE MONTROSE STAR, based in Houston, Tex., entered its sixth year of publication with its April 8, 2015, issue.

ROBERT MOORE, co-founder and former publisher of the DALLAS VOICE, was a winner of the Press Club in Dallas’ Excellence in Journalism Award — North Texas Legends. Awards were given out at a May 21, 2015, ceremony.

MULTIMEDIA PLATFORMS WORLDWIDE, publisher of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based FLORIDA AGENDA, has issued a Letter of Intent to acquire New York City-based NEXT MAGAZINE from RND PUBLICATIONS.

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 17
Issue 3