Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TOP STORY: Travel survey a gold mine of info for LGBT media

Community Marketing Inc. report showcases latest trends in travel-spending and decision-making habits
by Chuck Colbert

For nearly two decades, a gay-owned San Francisco-based consumer-research company has tracked LGBT travelers, their interests, destinations, and brand preferences. While the information provided annually in a report by Community Marketing Inc. (CMI) is invaluable to the tourism and hospitality industries, survey findings are also of interest to LGBT media and vendors hoping to reach “our” community through gay media outlets.

This year’s survey, titled “CMI Community Marketing & Insights Year-End LGBT Travel Research Report,” included 10 top findings, one of which identified “LGBT media and mainstream media” playing “an equal role in influencing the travel decisions of gay men and lesbians.”

Even as mainstream and LGBT media continue their influence across the board, mainstream print magazines are far more influential for older LGBTs, with younger LGBTs relying on mainstream Internet sites.

During a recent telephone interview, David Paisley, CMI’s senior research director, spoke to the media findings. “The travel market spends a lot of money in LGBT media,” he said. “In a broad sense, for individual media, trying to understand what’s going on with the travel habits of their readers is a useful thing in trying to sell advertising,” as well as “in keeping readers informed” of travel trends and destinations, brand recognition, demographics and bookings, among other kinds of hospitality-industry information.

David Paisley of Community
Marketing Inc.
Sure enough, “Travel is almost a cultural component of the LGBT community,” said Paisley. “So travel is important to the readership” of gay publications and online media outlets.

A small sampling of publishers, editors, marketing communications and travel professionals agree: The CMI travel survey results ring true and are both helpful and useful.

Reactions

“It’s a great barometer for trends in gay travel,” said Billy Kolber, founder of Man About World (www.manaboutworld.com), a tablet-only travel magazine for gay men.

Kolber described New York City-based Man About World, only two years old, as providing “travel information and inspiration to gay men who love to travel.” (See sidebar “Digital publication satisfies gay men’s wanderlust” below.)

“It’s very helpful knowing travel trends,” said Bob Witeck, president and founder of Witeck Communications, a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm based in Washington, D.C.

Survey results from the report are “directional, telling us a lot about people’s interests, their preferences, attitudes and how they are changing,” Witeck said. Witeck Communications serves corporate and non-profit clients. The firm has no fiduciary responsibility or connection to CMI.

Better yet, said Jen Colletta, editor of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), “This report is extremely helpful in tailoring our travel features to our readers. The CMI report explores the motivations that cause LGBT travelers to pick certain types of travel or certain destinations. Knowing what the community is looking for in travel is helpful in our creating editorial content that targets those motivating factors.”

What about publications serving lesbian readers? “I do find the information delivered by the CMI reports good and solid and consistent, over the number of years I've been receiving them, with other data and reports, which include Curve's (www.curvemag.com) own reader survey,” said Curve editor in chief Merryn Johns. Curve is a leading source for lesbians in travel and leisure.

LoAnn Halden, media relations director for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) also welcomed the survey and its findings. “Yes, the results do ring true. I think the important thing to note is that lesbians run neck and neck with gay men among those surveyed. Often the image of gay travelers is male-focused, but we're out there exploring just as much. It's also important to be aware on a question that results, say, in, ‘gay men stay in gay guesthouses more than women,’ that there are 20-some gay male guesthouses in Fort Lauderdale alone and zero for women. There just aren't that many lesbian guesthouses period, so of course that answer will turn out that way.”

In all, “I think this data can help editors select destinations to feature that will speak to their readers. It's also encouraging to see that media still matter to LGBT consumers,” she said.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., IGLTA (www.iglta.org) “is the world's leading global travel network dedicated to connecting and educating LGBT travelers and the businesses that welcome and support them along the way,” according to its Web site.

The 42-page report, released this past December is available at http://www.communitymarketinginc.com/documents/CMI_Research2013/CMI_18th_LGBT_TravelSurvey2013.pdf. CMI representatives presented research and survey results at its annual Tourism and Hospitality Conference, held from Dec. 11-14 in Fort Lauderdale.

Todd Evans, president and chief executive officer of Rivendell Media, attended the December gathering and said the results were “very well received,” at the same time acknowledging, “of course, it was a travel group and includes those interested in LGBT travel so that is what I would expect.”

Evans added, “One nice thing about the survey results is that they really support traditional print media. With so much news focused on digital media, it was nice to see that it still holds a very important place with consumers. It is one of the reasons that 2013 was a banner year for advertising in LGBT print as our soon to be released 2013 Gay Press Report also shows.” Rivendell, the nation’s leading gay and lesbian media ad placement firm, is based in Mountainside, N.J. Evans is also publisher of Press Pass Q.

Methodology

CMI’s findings stem from approximately 3,100 U.S. respondents whose responses were collected in November 2013. They were recruited through email invitation sent out to a 70,000-member CMI consumer research panel. The online survey took 10 minutes to complete, with respondents given an incentive of entering a drawing for $100 prizes or donating winnings to a charity of their choice.

CMI recruits participants from its proprietary research panel, which in part consists of members, attendees and readers from more than 250 LGBT media outlets, organizations and events. In other words, the survey results are representative of readers and consumers who interact with the LGBT community through such means.

And yet, just as a similar survey taken from readers of African-American or Latino publications would not be used to generalize to those respective populations or communities at large, so the LGBT survey results are not representative of all LGBTs.

Overall, 2013 saw a modest increase in LGBT leisure travel over the previous year — a five percent increase, according to CMI’s findings. Nonetheless, the trend towards a decrease in business travel continues from previous years.

“The funny thing,” said CMI’s Paisley, “is that before the recession [of 2008], the LGBT market was seen as almost recession proof” as “our travel spending has gone up and up through the years and never went down. When the recession hit, for the first time it went down,” and yet, “we were actually late in pulling back on our travel.”

Paisley said, too, that LGBT travel did “take a dip” during the recession, but it was “not as strong and continues to go up,” with “soft increases in the economy, soft increases in the LGBT community over time.”

Survey results and findings

Other key finds of the CMI 2013 travel research report include:

•  Hilton is the number one large-brand hotel group, with Kimpton taking top honors among boutique brands.

•  New York City ranked as the number one, most-visited destination among gay male travelers who stayed at least one night in a hotel, with Chicago and San Francisco tied for second. For lesbians, New York and San Francisco tied for first, with Chicago and Las Vegas tied for second.

•  In selecting a hotel, wi-fi connection is a major factor for more than 70 percent of the LGBT community, and hotel brands that continue to charge for an Internet connection could be seen as having a competitive disadvantage.

•  For LGBT parents, researching and selecting a hotel that is “child-friendly” becomes more important than an “LGBT-friendly” one, although both are important.

•  More than 70 percent of LGBT travelers consider themselves to be a “planner” when arranging a vacation, with fewer than 15 percent considering themselves as “spontaneous” in their travel choices.

•  More than 75 percent of LGBTs under the age of 45 use mobile devices, and among those who use mobile devices, more than 80 percent are doing so to find local restaurants and nearly 60 percent using them to research local attractions.

•  For gay and lesbian couples getting married, no clear favorite honeymoon destination is evident, with responses varying across the United States, Canada and Europe. Still, the honeymoon destination with the highest numbers was Hawaii, but the islands represented only seven percent of couples.

• Pride celebrations continue to play an important role in motivating LGBT travel, with younger LGBTs even more likely than older gays to travel to another city for Pride.

Pride of travel

In assessing the report, were there any surprises in the results? Yes, said PGN editor Colletta. One surprise was the popularity of Pride events.

“I was particularly impressed by the information about Pride travel,” she said. “I didn't expect Pride-related trips to be so popular across the board, among both men and women and varying age groups. I think that's a great thing for PGN, as well as individual destinations, such as the city of Philadelphia, to keep in mind as Pride season approaches.”

For his part, Paisley said, “Pride is one of the few festivals that attracts everyone, young and old, male and female, transgender, everyone is there,” he said. “From our focus groups, [participants] tell us they will have a good time, and they will go to Pride events because they are assured of having a good time, with lots of gay people there. What young people tell us is that they are more fiscally challenged,” not having “good jobs or for whatever reason. They love going to Pride so they can go into the city, have a great time, and really don’t have to spend that much money. That is attractive to them” because “most events are free.”

DOMA’s fall boosts wedding travel

Although not specifically addressed in the travel report, the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last summer striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, Paisley said, has affected LGBT travel. The extension of federal benefits to all same-sex couples and recognizing their legal marital status nationwide has prompted some gay and lesbian couples to visit locations where they can legally marry, he said. “Particularly, from states like Georgia and Florida,” couples are traveling “to Washington, D.C., or New York City” where same-sex marriage is available.

Similarly, Paisley added, “Couples are going from Arizona and Utah — traveling out of state to get married” to locations such as California or Washington state.

These marriages are not often big events, Paisley said. Rather, “lots of little ceremonies. [Couples] have a few friends with them, but nonetheless that migration is happening and is happening big time,” which presents opportunities to travel companies ready to capitalize on the trend.

In addition, Man About World’s Kolber said CMI’s trends of marriage and child rearing “are well-reflected in the survey.”

“It’s no surprise for anyone who’s traveled, but child trumps gay when it comes to travel,” he said, referring to LGBT parents traveling with children. “We need to pay attention to [these] changing demographics of our community.”

Kolber also believes the “marriage and honeymoon business is going to be an important part of LGBT travel for a while.”

LGBT media approach to travel and tourism

Given that the LGBT community has long been bitten by the travel bug, how then do LGBT publications handle travel editorially?

“For several years,” said at San Francisco-based Bay Area Reporter news editor Cynthia Laird, “we have had a monthly travel feature story. We generally set up a calendar of destinations based on LGBT-friendliness, availability of the travel writers to get to the destination, and what works in terms of the ability to sell ads around those stories. These are not advertorial pieces; however, they are fully reported and if it's in a location that has had some sort of incident, we mention that.”

Bay Area Reporter (BAR) also relies on two primary travel writers, Ed Walsh and Heather Cassell, both of whom have been doing these stories for several years, said Laird. In terms of promoting San Francisco, we do occasional stories related to local tourism.”

The head of San Francisco Travel, which is the city’s convention and visitors bureau, is an out gay man. BAR has featured him on occasion, she said.

Additionally, BARtab, the publication’s nightlife and sexuality section, has done regional travel features on locations such as Las Vegas. “East Bay [Oakland] and San Jose are given a ‘tourist’ treatment for San Franciscans,” said BARtab editor Jim Provenzano. “I also treat the nightlife listings as a freshly updated weekly batch of listings for locals and visitors alike. Similarly, the arts events listings are for locals and visitors to consider.”

PGN also relies on freelance reporting. PGN’s writer, Jeff Guaracino, “works on travel pieces for us once a month,” said editor Colletta. “He is an LGBT travel expert and covers everything from travel trends to specific destinations for LGBT travelers. We also run a summer-travel special issue each year, where we highlight summer vacation spots for LGBT tourists, as well as work on trend stories on the topic. We also have a dedicated summer-travel advertising section.”

For years now, Philadelphia has worked hard to make the city unabashedly LGBT-friendly. “While the majority of PGN's readers are from the Philly area, we still strive to communicate our city's growing reputation as an LGBT-friendly destination,” said Colletta. “We cover all the developments relating to our city's LGBT-tourism campaigns, as well as the activities of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus. If our readers stay informed as to how much our city is doing to keep Philly atop LGBT-travel lists, it is our hope that they'll spread this message to their non-Philly friends, and our reputation as an LGBT-friendly destination will continue to grow.”

At Curve, editor John mentioned two ways she generates travel editorial. “We accept press trips from LGBT-friendly [convention and visitors bureaus] and tour operators/destinations and explore their region and then write about it,” she said. “We accept freelance articles pitched to us by reliable and professional lesbian freelancers with a reputable travel history. For any destination covered, safety is a number one priority amongst our readers, therefore we don't cover destinations unless one of our journalists has actually visited and can vouch for it.”

Rivendell’s Evans vouches for the importance of such reports as the CMI survey. “These reports, along with other surveys of the LGBT marketplace, are some of the best business tools available for gay media,” said Evans. “They provide tons of copy for the editorial department and targets for the sales department while at the same time promoting the gay market which is seriously in need of promoting. Mainstream media spends plenty of time on LGBT rights but provides almost no coverage of the actual market anymore. What we really need is more surveys on a whole range of topics to keep attention focused on the market so we can spur both local and national sales.”

TOP STORY
Volume 15
Issue 11

SIDEBAR: Weddings, Pride play a role in LGBT travel, even in smaller communities

by Chuck Colbert

Editors, publishers, reporters, salespeople and marketing professionals at LGBT media alike have plenty of travel-related data to ponder, thanks to CMI’s most recent 2013 travel research report. And while overall findings on the surface provide handy facts and useful information, digging deeper sheds even more light on LGBT travel, replete with implications for gay media outlets.

Consider some of the survey results that address travel motivations, trends and frequencies. Gender, it seems, makes a difference. For example, gay and bisexual men (36 percent) are far more likely to describe themselves as “urban core” travelers than lesbians and bisexual women (16 percent).  When asked about “outdoor/active adventure,” more lesbians and bisexual women self-identified as that “kind” of traveler, compared to gay and bisexual men (17 percent).

Similarly, gender plays a role in selecting accommodations. For both men and women, “good value” and “free Internet wi-fi,” rank as the most important motivators for hotel bookings, although “high-end design” is significantly more important to gay and bi men (17 percent) than to lesbians and bi women (nine percent).

When it comes to weddings, receptions and honeymoons, moreover, some data from CMI’s 2013 Same-Sex Wedding Survey, included with the travel report, are perhaps even more telling.

While 57 percent of all couples said they went on a honeymoon, fewer than half (49 percent) of male couples said the honeymooned while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of women said they did so.

Michael Luongo (photo: Ingrid Breyer)
“That’s very significant,” said Michael Luongo, an award-winning freelance travel writer, photographer and author based in New York City.

Another finding he found telling was the wide range of locations that couples selected for wedding receptions, with only 10 percent holding receptions at hotels. Restaurants came in first place (21 percent), followed by private residences (17 percent).

In addition, CMI’s wedding survey (http://presspassq.blogspot.com/2013/12/top-story-same-sex-wedding-survey.html) found female couples spend more on weddings than male same-sex couples — 15 percent more for those already married. At the same time, women are more likely to embrace “wedding ceremony traditions” than men.

Another interesting finding is that only 24 percent of same-sex marrying couples ask a religious leader to solemnize their weddings, with only 12 percent holding wedding ceremonies at a religiously-affiliated location.

As veteran journalist Lisa Keen noted in her reporting for Keen News Services, “It’s not clear, of course, whether the low percentages are due to an existing religious exemption or the choice of the same-sex couples, but a separate study this year that surveyed brides in heterosexual couples found that 61 percent used a member of the clergy to officiate and 35 percent held their ceremony in a religious setting.”

Oddly enough, Keen noted, “Each time a state legislature debates a marriage equality bill, as Hawaii and Illinois recently did, a significant amount of time is spent wrestling over how big a loophole to provide for religious clergy and entities to refuse services to same-sex couples.”

Altogether, the same-sex weddings and receptions findings, “really struck me,” Luongo said. “The concept of a same-sex marriage ceremony just doesn’t have anywhere near the amount [of expenditure] or formality behind it as straight marriage does.”

While LGBT Pride event’s topping influence on travel (19 percent for men and 16 percent for women) was no revelation to him, Luongo was surprised by the relatively low influence of gay sporting events on travel.

Only two percent of men and women said LGBT sports tournaments prompted them to “travel to another city (requiring an overnight stay),” according to CMI’s research.

That number might well be “under-reported,” Luongo said. “A reason” for “that minuscule statistic,” he said is, “There hasn’t been a sports event that occurred during the last year.”

But with media focusing on the Olympics in Sochi, and more athletes coming out, such as the University of Missouri’s Michael Sam, Luongo said that he would not be surprised to see “more attention put on sporting events.”

The 2010 Gay Games were in Cologne, Germany, and this year's are to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, this summer from Aug. 9-16, 2014. Chicago hosted the Gay Games in 2006.

Whether or not Cleveland’s hosting of the games will boost LGBT travel there remains an open question. Still, said Chicago-based Windy City Times publisher and executive editor Tracy Baim, “[The Gay Games] was certainly a big boost to Chicago to those visitors, especially from overseas, who had never been to our city. We rolled out the purple carpet and showed them all the highlights of the city and suburbs.”

Speaking of Chicago, CMI’s research revealed that the Windy City ranked second as a U.S. destination for business and leisure travel among LGBTs.  For gay and bi men, Chicago tied for second as a “leisure-only” destination and tied for third among lesbians and bi women.

Those rankings came as no surprise to Baim, but she said, “I would also have to see how it compares to general population of similar demographics. A lot of people come here for work-related conferences as well as pleasure. It is the largest city in the Midwest, within driving and short-flight distance from a huge swath of the country. It is also a travel hub, so getting here by many different modes of transportation can be easier and cheaper.”

A range of events, Baim added, may also account for Chicago’s popularity as a travel destination. “For more the past few decades, there has been a wide range of significant events that attract LGBTs each year.” For example, Baim said, “Some are one-time events, like the Gay Games in 2006. Others happen every year, such as International Mr. Leather, Miss Continental, North Halsted Market Days, Pride Fest, Pride March, Dyke March and an array of street fests and mainstream events such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza.”

Outside of major gay meccas, cities like New York and San Francisco, CMI’s senior researcher David Paisley urged editors, publishers and travel vendors and tourism industry leaders not to over look medium-sized cities such as St. Louis, Mo, and Albuquerque, N.M.

These locations “maybe don’t have a big national presence in the LGBT community, but they have a huge regional presence, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of rural areas and super small cities where gay men and lesbians live. If you look at the travel patterns of people in rural areas and small towns, they often travel to a city that is closest to them, like Albuquerque and Tucson, Ariz. Often we don’t think of them as important gay travel destinations, and maybe they are not so important from a national perspective, but they are very important to regional gay and lesbian communities.”

Matt Comer, editor of Charlotte, N.C.-based Qnotes, agrees with Paisley’s point on not overlooking medium- and smaller-sized cities and rural areas.

Charlotte’s LGBT Pride parade and festival, said Comer, drew and estimated “80,000 people into the city over the course of two days.”

Comer, who also servers on the board of Charlotte Pride, added, “That’s a significant crowd,” which drew LGBT people “not only from the Southeast,” but also from as far away as “Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C.”

Comer also pointed to smaller Pride events within the state, locations such as Salisbury, which, he said, has “a phenomenal Pride festival that attracts people from Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh and Greensboro. Even Nags Head” — with a population of only several thousand people —on the Outer Banks, they have a Pride festival.”

Wherever gays may roam, travel and tourism remain cultural identity markers for the LGBT community. And herein lies a challenge. “I do hope these long-term studies that have always shown a high travel rate for LGBTs convert to more markets expanding their advertising in LGBT media,” said Baim. “Some have been good and consistent at this, but most have really not taken advantage of this.”

SIDEBAR
Volume 15
Issue 11

SIDEBAR: Digital publication satisfies gay men’s wanderlust

by Chuck Colbert

It is neither a print publication nor a web site nor a blog. “It’s a paperless magazine that you read on your iPad.” ManAboutWorld’s articles give “insider’s information on the most popular destinations and information to travel far beyond them.”

And so it goes during a short online video explaining the benefits of the gay men’s travel magazine’s “digital canvas.”

Launched in 2012, ManAboutWorld “made a big bet on the future,” said founder Billy Kolber recently over the telephone, referring to the expected sale of tablets globally, which he said, are expected to exceed that of personal computers. (That trend was noted by the Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corporation, in a Sept. 11, 2103, press release titled, “Tablet Shipments Forecast to Top Total PC Shipments in the Fourth Quarter of 2013 and Annually Trend by 2015” https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24314413.)

“When you think about what a magazine is, divorced from the paper it’s printed on,” then the iPad is “really the ideal platform for delivery of that same kind of immersion — inspiring and entertaining content that magazines have provided on paper,” he said, even though ManAboutWorld “is looking at other alternatives for delivery,” such as PDFs.

And yet, “the growth of tablets has been so strong,” Kolber said, adding that there’s no need to “worry about back-adapting to old technology.”

So far, so good. ManAboutWorld publishes 10 issues a year, with the months of January/February and July/August combined.

Already, the publication has 3,000 subscribers, with many more viewers buying individual issues. 

A key metric for ManAboutWorld, he said, “is how many people have downloaded the app.”

The ManAboutWorld App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, or at www.itunes.com/appstore. Annual Subscriptions are available for $39.99 via in-app purchase (10 issues) and single-issue copies are available for $7.99. A free-trial issue is available with the annual subscription option.

Currently, there are 17,000 users from 100 different countries, said Kolber. “We were global immediately upon our launch.”

Altogether, ManAboutWorld counts 1,000 downloads a month, Kolber said. The only available content via the app that is free without paying for a subscription is an index of destinations.

Editorial content "is a mix of destination-specific information from a global team of correspondents who also cover unusual destinations that inspire people to travel,” he explained.

ManAboutWorld also delves into travel issues specific to the LGBT community, Kolber said. “For example, we recently published a honeymoon guide that talks about the planning of a honeymoon from the gay perspective, [including] all the issues that straight people have,” everything “from choosing where to go, how to figure out your budget,” as well as “things that are gay specific” such as “non-monogamy if that is an issue before you go.”

In all, ManAboutWorld focuses on “dining and culture” and on “adventure travel,” said Kolber, adding that the magazine is “very much geared to warm weather destinations and experiences that are the core of the gay travel market.”

The publication’s demographics range from late 20s through to 50s and 60s, aid Kolber, who recently turned 50. “That same group is still traveling, still interested in what’s new and places” not yet visited, while open “to reasons for revisiting places gone to before.”


For that reason, “We think more in terms of psychographics than demographics,” he said.

In generating content, ManAboutWorld relies on more than 75 correspondents — including two women, all of which is driven by social networking. Contributors are seasoned travel writers, industry veterans, local experts and world travelers. The publication has two other partners in addition to Kolber, including editor in chief Ed Salvatore and associate editor Kenny Porpora, based is Los Angeles.

ManAboutWorld’s associate editor, said Kolber, is the publication’s link to Generation Y, younger gay men bitten by the travel bug.

Kolber and Salavto are no strangers to travel publishing. In 1992, Kolber founded OUT&ABOUT, the groundbreaking gay travel newsletter. Kolber served as editor in chief until Salvatore took over in that role. In 2000, however, Planet Out acquired OUT&ABOUT — just days before the Nasdaq crashed. Consequently, Planet Out folded OUT&ABOUT into OUTtraveler magazine, which ceased to publish it in 2008.

Asked what distinguishes ManAboutWorld’s readers, their interests, needs, and desires, Kolber said, “We write for a very sophisticated, well-traveled, slightly more affluent audience than the typical gay magazine, some of which is platform specific, finding us through the iPad. People who already have iPads are the very earliest adaptors of new technology.

Undoubtedly ManAboutWorld readers’ tastes are geared more to “cocktails and upgrades.” However, the publication’s vision includes creating dialogue about how LGBT travel can “advance the cause of human rights,” said Kolber.

“We frequently remind readers that there are still countries that criminalize homosexuality and many more that while they don’t outlaw homosexuality” are not friendly if somewhat hostile, he said, referring to the prime example of Russia, given the timing of Sochi hosting the Winter Olympics.

In fact, last year ManAboutWorld surveyed industry leaders in gay travel, posing the question: “What do you think travelers can do to advance human rights?”

Responses fell into three broad categories: money, respect and engagement, Kolber said.

One respondent, for example, said, “A few dollars donated to an LGBT non-government organization at your destination can mean the world to them.”

Another responded, “Learn a culture before you visit it and respect it. Demand tolerance and respect from others, and then in turn treat them with the same. In doing so, a line of communication is open which can be rewarding and educational for both parties.”

Kolber summed up ManAboutWorld’s commitment to global engagement through LGBT travel. "We acknowledge and service the sybaritic desires of our readership, but also want to help them leverage the power of tourist dollars and visibility to foster progress in the global movement for equality," said Kolber. "Gay travel has been a powerful force for change, and we feel an obligation to help spread that globally."

Charlie Rounds, chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Foundation, voiced praise for Kolber's leadership in global engagement through LGBT travel. "He is a champion," said Rounds over the telephone. "He is not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk." 

IGLTA is the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. A the philanthropic arm of IGLTA, the foundation's mission "is to use the power of LGBT travel to build bridges with communities worldwide. Those bridges, in turn, enable understanding, awareness and commerce to flourish in diverse communities around the globe," according to the organization's website.

"Billy is driven to use the power of travel to help our community globally," said Rounds. "He has done so much."

SIDEBAR
Volume 15
Issue 11

BULLETIN BOARD

The Word, the Southern Midwest's largest gay and lesbian newspaper, is for sale by its founding owner who wishes to retire. Since 1991, The Word has been debt-free, sells out every 56+ page issue and collects 98% of bills. Circulation: 9000+ print editions monthly in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio & Tennessee, plus 3,000+ downloads at www.thegayword.com. Sale includes intellectual property, existing contracts, website, computers and street boxes. Contact Ted Fleischaker 317/632.8840 or ted@midwestword.com.
DO YOU HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT for the Bulletin Board? Bulletin Board announcements are just a dollar (U.S.) per word per insertion, paid up front. Send a check payable to Rivendell Media, 1248 Route 22 West, Mountainside, NJ 07092.

Monday, February 24, 2014

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

A&U, based in Albany, N.Y., and which bills itself as “America’s AIDS magazine,” entered its 23rd year of publication with its January 2014 issue.

AMBUSH, based in New Orleans, entered its 32nd year of publication with its Jan. 14, 2014, issue.

JOHN BECKER has been promoted to editor in chief of THE BILERICO PROJECT. Previously, he was the site’s managing editor. He replaces BIL BROWNING, who has served in the position for nine and a half years. He will stay on as publisher and a contributor.

DANIEL BORGEN is the new editor of PQ MONTHLY, based in Portland, Ore. The newspaper also entered its third year of publication with its December 2013/Jaunary 2014 issue.

CAMP, based in Kansas City, Mo., entered its 10th year of publication with its January/February 2014 issue.

DAVID ATLANTA entered its 17th year of publication with its Jan. 1, 2014, issue.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, entered its 13th year of publication with its Jan. 8, 2014, issue.

GAY SAN DIEGO entered its fifth year of publication with its Jan. 10, 2014, issue.

Mike Kamph of Zeus
MIKE KAMPH is the new fitness expert and writer for ZEUS, based in Chicago and which bills itself as “The Gay Man’s Handbook.”

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS entered its 38th year of publication with its Jan. 3, 2014, issue.

DON PIGNOLET, office manager for PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS, married his partner MIKE PETTY on Dec. 29, 2013, in Cape May, N.J. The two men, both in their 60s, have been together almost 40 years.

Q MAGAZINE, based in Key West, Fla., entered its ninth year of publication with its January 2014 issue.

SEATTLE GAY NEWS entered its 42nd year of publication with its Jan. 3, 2014, issue.

SFGN, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its fifth year of publication with its Jan. 1, 2014, issue.

GENE STAVIS, film historian who produced EMERALD CITY, the first gay-themed cable television show in New York in 1977, died on Dec. 29, 2013. He was 70.

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

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES
Volume 15
Issue 11

Sunday, February 23, 2014

PRESSING QUESTIONS: The Gayly of Oklahoma City

by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: Five states in the south-central region of the U.S.

Year founded: 1983 

Physical dimensions of publication: 13 1/2” x 10 1/2” tabloid

Average page count: 32-40

Key demographics: More affluent than the general public

Print run: 12,000/month (15,000/month by summer)

Website: www.gayly.com

*****

Press Pass Q: What part of The Gayly is the most popular?

Editor in Chief Robin Dorner: We have several that are popular. Right now, we have a four part investigative piece ongoing about two guys who were on death row. They were lovers, lived in an apartment and robbed this bankk. One guy murdered the people and robbed the bank and the other, oh, I shouldn’t give it away, I guess, huh? (Read parts one and two at http://www.gayly.com/tags/geronimo-bank-holdup and http://www.gayly.com/tags/bank-robbery.) That series has been wildly popular. Our photo layouts and designs are also very popular. We do special events and general photography with those. We have three of our columns that people give us a lot of compliments on. So, I’d say it’s special pieces we do, special photography and some of our columns that our most popular.

PPQ: What challenge has your publication had to overcome over the past few years? 

Dorner: Discrimination in several forms.
#1. By people who see our newspaper stands in our approved distribution points and choose to destroy the stands and, in some locations, our papers are destroyed, thrown away. Or people who just write us nasty notes about what “FAGS” we are and leave the note on our rack. One note said, “Fuck you rainbow huggers.” There have been others.
#2. Businesses who will not do work for us — like print our papers — because we are a gay paper and they can’t print our publication because, “You know, we are Christians and all.” Apparently it’s against their religion to “love one another.” 
Bear in mind, I do not think our fans or readers are doing any of the [vandalism]. And our advertisers and readers will certainly take our business. In fact, I do much of my business with my advertisers anyway. It’s the bigots and haters and “Christians” who do these things. I seriously have had two people say to me, “Well, we are Christians so we can’t do business with you.” That was the printer who refused to give us even a quote on printing the paper.
And I had one of my advertisers, a gay guy, who sold his store to a couple. I knew they weren’t going to keep the ad running, but I went to deliver papers and she said, “Oh, since we own the store now, we can’t pass out those Gaylys.” I asked her why and she said, “Well, you know, we’re Christians and all.”
I said, “Honey, you know there are gay Christians, right?”
“Well, my husband is a preacher and all,” she said in her little Baptist voice. “And it’s a conflict of interest.”
However, I must say, where these challenges are sometimes difficult, costly and frustrating, it makes me know we are in exactly the right place publishing an LGBT newspaper where our community really needs us. If you have a problem with discrimination, call The Gayly; a problem with bullying, call The Gayly; want to find out if your civil rights were violated, write The Gayly attorney and she will address it in her next column; anything people need, they know they can call The Gayly and something will be done about it.

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

Dorner: It has changed pretty much completely. We have significantly more pages, many more are color pages than there ever used to be, and we have a great deal more advertising. Also, the paper for the first 20-plus years, was more of a “gay boys” magazine. Now it’s everybody’s magazine. In fact, I just won a community award for the work I have done personally and with The Gayly in the transgender community. We are also very cognizant of the diversity we show within our own community when we take and place our photos.

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

Dorner: I guess when someone actually takes the time to write us and tell us we are doing a great job, which is not just surprising, it’s completely awesome! I know how busy people are, myself included. So when I received this note from Toby Jenkins, the executive director of Oklahomans for Equality in Tulsa, it really made my day:

"I just finished reading the May issue of The Gayly, Oklahoma's only LGBT aka gay statewide print news publication and online news source. I consume it mentally cover to cover just like my copy of Readers Digest or Vanity Fair each month. Three words stand out to me. 
First word is REGIONAL: From Joplin down to Eureka Springs over to Norman and back up to Wichita I traveled the gay highway in this month's issue. I thought, ‘I am a part of the gay heartland and The Gayly refuses to let me forget it.’
Second word is INCLUSIVE: I read about people of color, First Nation indigenous references to our sovereign Indian nations residing in Oklahoma, plenty of all genders equally balanced, LGBT older adults contributing, multiple faiths celebrated, Spanish translation for those who have English as their second language, transgender leaders finding their voice and respected for it, and a shout out to the straight allies who are demanding equal rights for their LGBT pals.
Third word is MOTIVATIONAL: In reading The Gayly, I was struck by how gays like to party, love entertainment, like sports and art and culture equally, want a bargain, but we are also conscientious, politically active, value our military service, aware that we must be sexually responsible, and I was given the tools to make my situation better. I like being gay in the heartland and The Gayly reminded me of that this month. Good job Robin and the staff of The Gayly. Thank you for stepping up to the plate [current publisher] Bob Lemon and reviving The Gayly. And, thank you heartland folk, for rainbow-washing your patch of our section of the United States. I am a native son and I choose to stay here and be queer."
— Toby Jenkins
Executive Director
Oklahomans for Equality and The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center

PPQ: How do you think LGBT publications will evolve in the next few years?

Dorner: I think it depends on the publication and their readership. The mediocre LGBT news sources will be out of business, I think. Our community has a hunger to feed themselves with news that matters to their lives, news that is pertinent. They don't want sources that whine about inequality but do nothing to change things. They want to read how equality is made possible and the outcomes once equality is implemented in their school, organization, job, higher education, because that is the road they want to travel. They want to focus on the solution of equality rather than the problem of inequality. If people are not getting what they need in "their" media, they will look online or elsewhere to find it.

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

Dorner: You have the platform to really make a difference. Make sure every word you write makes an impact toward equality and fairness, and will help wipe out LGBT discrimination.

PRESSING QUESTIONS
Volume 15
Issue 11