Thursday, April 16, 2015

HIV Plus magazine drops HIV in title, now just Plus

by Chuck Colbert

Here Media Inc. has rebranded its popular HIV Plus magazine, the country’s largest publication aimed at people with HIV and those who care about and for them, as Plus.

The new Plus brand, which launches with the magazine’s May/June 2015 issue, aims at removing the stigma that oftentimes affects people living with HIV /AIDS. By eliminating the stigmatizing language from its title, Plus lets its readers know that it understands them as more than just their status. Plus tells its readers, “You are you, plus a little something more,” according to a press release.

“We’re never going to stop covering HIV and the people impacted by it, but by losing those three
little letters in our magazine’s title, we both open ourselves up for people to feel free to read us anywhere without worrying about how it might look and issue an invitation to readers to broaden the conversation around wider health issues, especially among marginalized groups like gay and bi men, transgender individuals, and people of color,” said Diane Anderson-Minshall, editor-in-chief of Plus, in a press statement. “In my mind, we’re taking America’s number one magazine for people with HIV and supercharging it for 2015. We’re us, plus a little something more.”

As she explained in an opinion piece, published on the magazine’s website, “When HIV Plus magazine was founded in the 1990s, AIDS was at pandemic levels, HIV was a virus that researchers knew little about, and few people with HIV were expecting to live long, healthy lives. Today, as we publish issue 106, the landscape has changed and so have people living with or affected by HIV. Now the virus is like other manageable chronic conditions that require daily medications, much like diabetes, and people with it are living as long as their HIV-negative peers. They are often dealing with co-infections, like hepatitis C, and social stigma more troubling than the actual virus.

“That’s why it’s time for HIV Plus to rebrand itself as Plus, eliminating the stigmatizing language that leads with the virus, and recognizing and telling our readers we get it: You’re you, plus a little something more. Sometimes that’s HIV, hep C, another viral condition or STI, any one of those co-morbidities, all of which you can now read about in Plus without having to worry about whether carrying the magazine on the subway, reading it in your cubicle, or leaving it on your coffee table will automatically get you branded with the term HIV at first glance.”

HIV Plus’ award-winning online content will continue to be found at The brand will also continue to publish its mobile app, the HIV Plus Treatment Guide, a comprehensive look at the medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV and opportunistic infections, as well as a state-by-state map of drug assistance programs, complementary therapies and drug trials.

HIV Plus reaches more than a quarter million readers each month with print and digital magazines, its website, and the HIV Plus Treatment Guide mobile app available on iTunes and Google Play.

Volume 17
Issue 1

Gaycation magazine acquires Indy’s The Word

by Chuck Colbert

Gaycation, a national monthly magazine about LGBT travel, has acquired The Word, an Indianapolis-based LGBT tabloid, and its sister publication, Up Downtown, from longtime owner and publisher Ted Fleischaker.

The Word will remain headquartered in Indianapolis and will continue to be focused on serving the needs of the LGBT community in the region.

The Word is Indiana's only gay newspaper. Founded in 1991 to serve just Indianapolis, it's now available in 7 states, including Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Iowa. Up Downtown covers the downtown area and provides downtown residents with the latest happenings.

“I really am proud to have started something such as these two publications, which have seen such widespread success,” said Fleischaker in a press statement.

Based in New York City, Gaycation Magazine ( publishes 10 issues a year and is focused on the sophisticated LGBT travel market.

The acquisition will extend Gaycation Magazine’s domestic media platform, particularly in the Midwest, helping to fuel its growth strategy. The deal will complement both publications by expanding key content vertically while also accelerating the digital evolution of both companies.

“The Word and Up Downtown are a perfect fit for our growing portfolio of news and travel media assets, and the name and rich heritage of both titles will be preserved independently, vastly expanding our overall print and digital platforms and extending our reach across the growing LGBT market,” said DJ Doran, publisher of Gaycation Magazine, in a statement. 

“The Word enjoys a reputation as one of the most trusted and respected sources for LGBT news and entertainment across the various states and has a devoted and loyal audience. Its empathetic insight into Midwest gay news and culture is itself a remarkable resource and we will work hard to retain what Ted [Fleischaker] has built here in Indianapolis,” he added. “This acquisition will serve to broaden the boundaries of Gaycation Magazine, The Word and Up Downtown, and is another significant step in our strategy to establish a network of print and digital properties in not only the Midwest but also in emerging LGBT growth regions within the U.S. and beyond.”

In another move, Gaycation has also acquired Sydney, Australia-based Rainbow Tourism (

Founded in 2005, Rainbow Tourism grew from a few individual regional websites covering the South Pacific and Southeast Asia into a global umbrella site. Over the past decade, it has amassed thousands of pages of original content highlighting experiences and events for gay and lesbian travellers.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Rainbow Tourism has earned its reputation for exceptional travel content. "It has been a labor of love by a team of gay travellers about the places we know and places we go for work and play," said Mark Proffit, director and technical editor, in a statement. “Early on we adopted a motto and lived by it: 'Go gay. Stay gay. Play gay.'"

"We are thrilled that Gaycation Magazine and Rainbow Tourism embrace the same passion for delivering original and relevant travel content for our community. This latest addition substantiates our sheer determination to expand through strategic acquisitions that focus on the LGBT market," said Gaycation publisher Doran.

"As part of the Gaycation family, Rainbow Tourism will jointly work towards growing both brands and delivering value to our readers and partners," said Dee Farrell, director and editor at Rainbow Tourism. "Rainbow Tourism and its blog,, will continue to report on current gay travel news and useful resources for our readers and social media friends.”

Volume 17
Issue 1

Pressing Questions: Letters from Camp Rehoboth of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

by Joe Siegel
Interview with editor and publisher Steve Elkins. He is executive director of the Camp Rehoboth Community Center, which publishes the magazine.

Geographic coverage area: The primary coverage is the coastal area of southern Delaware, although issues are also distributed in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

Year founded: 1991

Staff size and breakdown [writers, sales reps., etc.]: Editor, production designer, advertising rep and administrative assistant are responsible for producing each issue. We have approximately 12 writers who are regular contributors.

Physical dimensions of publication: Magazine-style (8¼” x 11”) on 50-pound bright white paper.

Average page count: 96-120.

Key demographics: Rehoboth Beach is one of the premier LGBT resorts on the Atlantic Coast. Known as “The Nation’s Summer Capital,” we are the closest beach to Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. Based on the membership for CAMP Rehoboth, we estimate that our readership is approximately 70 percent LGBT and 30 percent straight.

Print run: 6,000 per issue. 15 issues per year — monthly from February to April, biweekly from May to August, and monthly from September to November. We do not publish in December or January.

Website: Issues since 1997 are archived on our site.


Press Pass Q: What section in Letters from CAMP Rehoboth is the most popular?

Elkins: CAMPshots, our 8-10-page photo coverage of local events, parties, restaurants/bars; Before The Beach, interviews with locals about what they did before moving to the area; features editor Fay Jacobs' "Rehoboth Journal;" and CAMPmatters, community and CAMP Rehoboth related stories and commentary.

PPQ: How have readers responded? What feedback have you received?

Elkins: My favorite story is from the late 1990s. I was coming out of the Rehoboth Beach Post Office when an older woman — who I realized was Evelyn Thoroughgood, the unofficial historian of Rehoboth Beach — stopped me and asked if I was THAT person who printed THAT gay magazine. I said, “Yes, Mrs. Thoroughgood, I’m the one.“ Her response was that she was unhappy that we took a printing break in December and January. She thought we should publish all year long. You can never tell where your fans might be.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges has the publication had to overcome?

Elkins: Letters from CAMP Rehoboth is a program of CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBT non-profit organization serving the Rehoboth area. Both the organization and its magazine are celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. For all of those years, we have tried to make sure that the magazine serves both the mission of CAMP Rehoboth and the needs of the community. That can be challenging at times.

PPQ: What challenges are you facing right now?

Elkins: Right now, the organization and the production are still managed by the founders of the organization. We have a succession plan in place, but making sure that when the time comes, there are new leaders in place to carry on its work is always a part of the planning process.

PPQ: How has Letters from CAMP Rehoboth changed since it was first launched?

Elkins: The first issue was nothing but a four-page newsletter with only a couple of advertisers. In fact, one of the local gay businesses was afraid to advertise in it because they thought it might be too gay.

PPQ: What one change are you planning to make?

Elkins: We are constantly working to find ways to engage younger members of the LGBT community — through the ever-evolving social media — while not alienating our older audience. Our goal this year is to find a writer who can be the voice of that new generation.

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

Elkins: Probably a 4. The magazine is on stands all over town and is read by gay and straight people. Most places in Rehoboth are gay and straight, and Letters reflects that makeup in its advertisers and readers. Since the publication is available for free all over town, our guide has usually been to ask if it is truly “streetable.”

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

Elkins: We are, but in a very gentle way. The success of CAMP Rehoboth, and our magazine, comes from our constant efforts to build connections with all the organizations in our area — as well as our relationship to people from the large East Coast cities nearby who make up our readership. Located right in the middle of downtown Rehoboth Beach, both the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center and our magazine are visible role models for a world where gay and straight live side by side. 

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

Elkins: Perhaps more inspiring than surprising, Letters has generated some very moving responses over the years — sometimes from LGBT people who needed positive role models and sometimes from straight supporters and readers learning how to deal with gay family members or any number of other issues.

PPQ: What is the biggest story or stories Letters from CAMP Rehoboth has covered in the past 25 years?

Elkins: Marriage equality. Delaware was one of the first states to allow civil unions and the 11th state to pass marriage equality. Plus, Delaware has passed laws covering gender identity and employment non-discrimination.

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

Elkins: It’s a rapidly changing world, but the more visible LGBT people have become, the louder our opponents are shouting. With social media, those extreme reactions are broadcast everywhere. We must continue to build a supportive environment for creating positive change, even in today’s world.

Volume 17
Issue 1

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

6th LGBT Media Journalists Convening held in Philadelphia

Invitation-only conference brings LGBT media professionals together "to discuss issues related to queer media"
by Chuck Colbert

A select group of LGBT media professionals, including journalists and bloggers who cover the LGBT community, gathered recently for a weekend forum concerning a range of community issues and media-related concerns.

Sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, the 6th annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening was held March 13-15 at the Radisson Blu Warwick.

A private family foundation based in San Francisco, the Haas fund "promotes equal rights and opportunities with an emphasis on immigrants and gays and lesbians," according to its mission statement.

NLGJA board member Bil Browning, founder and publisher of the Bilerico Project blog, organized the weekend forum. Also representing Bilerico was its editor in chief, John Becker, who wrote about the gathering.

"The purpose of the invitation-only conference is to bring a diverse group of LGBT media personalities together to discuss issues related to queer media," wrote Becker in a preview piece. "The theme of this year's Convening is ‘Now What?’ and the sessions ... focus[ed] on exploring what happens in the LGBT civil rights movement beyond marriage and employment equality.”

For example, Saturday’s panel discussions and breakout sessions addressed the latest right-wing push to legalize discrimination based on “religious liberty,” reporting of HIV, media coverage of bisexuality and bisexuals, and the intersection between LGBT rights and struggles for racial and gender equality.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and a prime mover in the state’s Moral Monday movement, delivered the opening keynote address on Friday evening.

An assistant district attorney for the City of Philadelphia announced that Mayor Michael A. Nutter proclaimed March 14 as "LGBT Media Journalism Day."

The Convening’s host committee included, in addition to Browning, The Source Weekly’s associate editor Erin Rook, NLGJA’s vice president for print and digital media Sarah Blazucki, transgender rights advocate and freelance writer Brynn Tannehill, editor in chief Trish Bendix, Mark King of the My Fabulous Disease blog, Faith Cheltenham of the BiNet USA blog and Haas Foundation senior program director Matt Foreman.

The Convening received other preview press coverage by LGBT outlets.

Browning told The Source Weekly: "For journalists focused on the LGBT beat, an invitation has become quite the status symbol for being recognized as a valuable community reporter." He went on to say that because it's not uncommon for writers to cover a variety of issues pertaining to diversity, the conference seeks to reflect the diversity of the community in its attendees and presenters. "We specifically aim to bring in not only the LGBT state/local newspapers and large audience bloggers, but we also search for up-and-coming voices and try to lift up the voices of people of color, trans folk and women."

In the same piece, associate editor Rook spoke to the value of attending the annual gathering. "The lessons I take away from these conferences have a broader impact than simply sharpening my reportage on LGBTQ issues," he wrote. "Participating in the Convening makes me a better, all-around journalist by teaching me how to better cover diverse communities of all types and how to dig deep for new stories and new angles. Spending the weekend with 75 professionals and experts gets the gears turning about ways I can better serve my community as a journalist. And I always leave with new perspectives” and tools “to do my job better."

South Florida Gay News also did a preview piece in which Browning spoke to the issue of diversity: "Many of the larger outlets are still run by cisgender white men so we try to also reflect the diversity that is our community,” especially in online journalism. “Often these journalists are the only ones reporting in any depth on issues like race, class and gender. The intersectionality of our community and how we can translate LGBT-specific needs into broader issues is the focus of this year’s Convening.”
Other attendees offered their impressions and observations.

Zack Ford, LGBT editor of and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, offered his perspective. "Those of us who write about LGBT topics may sometimes compete for traffic on our websites, but we're largely still a team working together to raise visibility and awareness about issues affecting the queer community," he said in email correspondence. "Conferences like this are the perfect opportunity for us to connect with each other, learn from each other's expertise and experience, and find new ways to lift up each other's work and build off of it. I relish the opportunity to put handshakes to Twitter profiles and establish new partnerships as we all continue doing this important work."

For her part, host committee member Tannehill said in an email, "I think my favorite part of the conference was meeting Spectra Asala. She was amazing, and after her panel I spoke with her at length. I learned a lot about the intersection of colonialism, and the growth of homophobia and transphobia in West Africa. I learned a bit about her home country as well, and it was so new to me that it was mind-blowing.”

Asala, an award-winning Nigerian writer and women's rights activist, served on a panel called "What Happens When the Dog Catches the Car?" The focus was on the future of LGBT media coverage in a post-marriage-equality landscape. Other panelists included Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) senior media strategist of national news Tiq Milan and activist and author Urvashi Vaid. Associate editor Rook served as moderator.

First-time Convening attendee Tammye Nash, Dallas Voice managing editor, said in email, "Getting to meet other LGBT journalists and bloggers actually working in LGBT media, rather than in the mainstream, was certainly one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Talking to them about the issues we all face and ways that maybe we can address those issues made the whole weekend worthwhile.

“I also enjoyed listening to the panelists and hearing their points of view. I can't say I agreed with everything everyone said. But it was all certainly food for thought. It made me think about things from points of view I had not considered before.

"Rev. Barber's address on Friday night was amazing, one of the most powerful I have heard in a long time. I totally agree with his points about a fusion movement, something that was echoed repeatedly throughout the weekend when people spoke of intersectionality and working with allies. And Tiq Milan's comment about how LGBTQs really aren't one community but instead a coalition of communities really hit home."

For Rebecca Juro, freelance journalist and columnist for South Florida Gay News and Windy City Times, two highlights were Rev. Barber's keynote and the panel "Naming and the LGBTQ Community" moderated by Brynn Tannehill. "It was the best trans-relevant discussion of the day," she said in email.

"I liked the way trans issues were handled very much," Juro noted. "It felt to me like trans people and issues are fully integrated in this event, and that feels really good. Trans people can be an afterthought in politics and in straight media much of the time, but that's not the case here, and it shows in just about every way."

For Juro, "The best part of the Convening is the networking and comparing notes with other LGBT journalists. I always learn so much from that, and it definitely helps inform the opinions I express in my columns and op-eds." 

Washington Blade staff writer Michael Lavers also voiced gratitude for the Convening providing "a wonderful opportunity for LGBT media professionals to connect with each other and exchange ideas and feedback about how to better report on the issues about which they write.

"This year's Convening seemed to focus a lot more on advocacy as opposed to what one may describe as objective reporting or even basic journalism in a traditional sense. I am a journalist who has an obligation to report on the issues … without overtly taking the side of one particular point of view. I certainly understand and very much appreciate the fact that journalists can bear witness to history, injustices, etc., as my colleagues and I have done at the Blade since 1969. I am not, however, an activist and I am uncomfortable with the term being used to describe me as a reporter for an LGBT publication.

"I left the Convening somewhat disappointed that there was not more of an opportunity for journalists to explain to the advocates who were in the room why we do/don't do certain things in our reporting and how the constraints of our profession prevent us from doing so. These conversations would prove extremely beneficial, and I hope that organizers of this year's Convening take that into account as they plan future gatherings.”

Volume 16
Issue 12


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

AMBUSH MAGAZINE, based in New Orleans, La., entered its 33rd year of publication with its January 13, 2015, issue.

CAMP, based in Kansas City, Mo., unveiled its new website, which now includes full digital editions of its print issues, in February 2015.

CURVE MAGAZINE, based in Los Angeles, entered its 25th year of publication with its January/February 2015 issue.

DAVID ATLANTA entered its 18th year of publication with its January 7, 2015, issue.

GET OUT MAGAZINE / EAST REGION, based in Queens, N.Y., published its 200th issue on February 18, 2015.

GLOSS MAGAZINE, based in San Francisco, entered its 13th year of publication with its January 9, 2015, issue.

LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH, based in Rehoboth Beach, Del., entered its 25th year of publication with its February 13, 2015, issue.

OUTSMART MAGAZINE, based in Houston, Tex., entered its 22nd year of publication with its February 2015 issue.

SHE MAGAZINE, based in Davie, Fla., celebrated its 16th anniversary in its February 2015 issue.

SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., celebrated its 5th anniversary in its January 28, 2015, issue.

TAGG, based in Washington, D.C, entered its fourth year of publication with its January/February 2014 issue.

WIREMAG.COM, a magazine based in Miami, Florida, entered its 27th year of publication with its January 1, 2015, issue.

Volume 16
Issue 12

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Florida Agenda owner acquires FunMaps

by Chuck Colbert

Multimedia Platforms, the gay-owned parent company of Florida Agenda and Guy magazine, has acquired FunMaps, “a 33-year-old LGBT travel and leisure publishing company delivering local and regional maps, information, and advertising to more than 40 key North American cities,” according to a press release announcing the acquisition.

"FunMaps was our first acquisition target after going public because we believe it brings key components to the company,” said Bobby Blair, chief executive officer of Multimedia Platforms (MMP), in a press release.  “Through FunMaps, we have inherited an expanded market for our content-rich Agenda newspaper, with its world-renown writers and globally-relevant content, plus the existing FunMaps print publication, with a readership of over five million per year, thousands of vendors and advertisers in established markets throughout United States and Canada. FunMaps’ robust online directory/city guide,, features largely in our new social media network – launching in 2015.”

FunMaps produces Gayosphere, which “makes planning your trips easy and rewarding, all while connecting you to our world,” according to its website. “With over 30 years of experience in the mapping industry, we are proud to be the online gateway for GLBT travel.”

“It’s now official,” said FunMaps founder Alan H. Beck, quoted in the Miami Herald. 

The acquisition had been in the works since January. The deal became final in early March.

FunMaps publisher Beck will remain with the company for a period of at least three years and will provide leadership and liaison for MMP with his established market. As an integrated part of MMP, FunMaps’ established distribution territory to destination regions — including Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, and Washington, D.C. — now become part of the MMP market footprint.

"I have been building FunMaps for nearly 25 years. Now, I am now very pleased to have it be, in our next phase, a part of the next leap in the evolution of LGBT media," said Beck in a press statement. "The infrastructure and management team MMP has put in place creates a framework and momentum that will propel the company further, and faster, around the globe, serving the LGBT community.”

Volume 16
Issue 12

Ohio’s Outlook Media to publish LGBT Wedding Guide

by Joe Siegel

Columbus-based Outlook Media is publishing its first-ever wedding guide for same-sex couples, in addition to sponsoring a number of LGBT Wedding Expos around the state.

This is somewhat unusual since marriage equality is not the law of the land in Ohio.

Love Big LGBT Wedding Expos “offer a safe and welcoming place for LGBT couples to meet vendors who are committed to marriage equality and excited to serve the LGBT community,” said Christopher Hayes, publisher of the Love Big LGBT Wedding Guide.

The Love Big LGBT Wedding Guide is a free, full color, perfect bound 9" x 10.875" premium paper stock magazine featuring equality-minded vendors servicing the Ohio market. The advertorial-focused guidebook is complimented by original industry-focused content. Fifty thousand copies of the magazine with be distributed statewide annually to wedding vendors, shops, universities, restaurants, coffee houses, libraries, community centers and subscribers. 

Complimenting the print magazine, The Love Big On-Line Directory is an interactive resource for consumers interested in equality-minded vendors.
Ohio does not legally recognize same-sex unions, so LGBT couples have to go out of state to get their marriage licenses. 

Hayes explained that more and more Ohio same-sex couples are choosing to hold their big religious ceremonies and receptions back in the Buckeye State. 

The first expo was held last year in Columbus and was so well-received that Outlook expanded to other cities in Ohio.

All expos will bring together wedding and ceremony vendors from a variety of wedding-focused specialties. Love Big also features vendors geared toward issues affecting married couples. Because LGBT couples aren't legally recognized in Ohio, they have concerns such as  finances, taxes, inheritance, real estate, medical issues and adoptions, Hayes noted. “Love Big has vendors willing to answer and instruct couples on legal, property, family, medical and financial concerns.”

The first Love Big Wedding Expo in the series will be held at Hollywood Casino in Columbus on Sunday, June 2. The event was originally scheduled for March 22, but had to be rescheduled due to what the newspaper called an “inner-office emergency.”

“Though we regret having to move the expo, we are excited to be able to kick off Pride month with this community event," said Hayes. "With the [U.S.] Supreme Court scheduled to release their decision in June on whether same-sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states, there couldn't be a more relevant time to hold Love Big."

With the rescheduling of the Columbus Expo, Love Big Dayton will now kick off the series. Dayton's expo will be at the Hilton Garden Inn Dayton/Beavercreek on Sunday, April 26. This event will feature wedding and ceremony vendors from across the Miami Valley and beyond. Additionally, the expo will feature a fashion show curated from local and national designers, a singles bar with speed dating, brunch, specialty cocktails and special performances from drag comedy troupe The Rubi Girls.

Other expos in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo will be held in the fall. Dates and locations will be released in the spring.

Part of the proceeds from the expos will go to Why Marriage Matters, an education initiative created by Equality Ohio.

Volume 16
Issue 12