Wednesday, June 21, 2017


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ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its June 2017 issue.

BALTIMORE OUTLOUD, based in Maryland, celebrated its 15th anniversary with its May 12, 2017, issue.
DALLAS VOICE celebrated its 33rd anniversary with its May 12, 2017, issue. (See the PRESSING QUESTIONS feature in this month’s issue of PRESS PASS Q.)

GED MAGAZINE, based in Long Beach, Calif., has unveiled a new feature, WEHO INSIDER, focusing on events, businesses and community profiles spotlighting West Hollywood.

THE LEATHER JOURNAL, based in Los Angeles, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its May/June 2017 issue.

BRAD LUNA and KRIS EINSENLA founded LUNA+EINSENLA, a strategic media and communications firm based in Washington, D.C., aimed at tackling leading policy and political issues. Luna previously served as communications director for the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. Einsenla is the former deputy chief of staff and communications director for Rep. DIANA DEGETT, a Colorado Democrat.

RYN MCCOY is the new editor of PQ, based in Portland, Oregon.

METRO WEEKLY, based in Washington, D.C., entered its 24th year of publication with its May 4, 2017, issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS participated in Philadelphia Mayor JIM KENNEY’s “Ask Kenny” series on June 16, 2017. Kenney is working with a different media outlet every month to solicit questions. June’s effort focused on PGN and its reader’s concerns. Questions were sent in by email, phone, postal mail, and on social media with the hashtag #AskKenny.

QNOTES, based in Charlotte, N.C., entered its 32nd year of publication with its May 5, 2017, issue. In celebration, Publisher JIM YARBROUGH announced that the newspaper’s first 10 years, a total of 133 issues, were released online in an archival arrangement with the University of North Caroline at Charlotte. Issues from 1997-2016 are expected to be online in the near future.

THE RAINBOW TIMES, based in Boston, has launched a series of events throughout the rest of 2017 to help celebrate its 10th anniversary. First up was a Pride Kick-Off Sunset Cruise on June 23, 2017, departing from Salem, Mass.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE, based in Washington, D.C., staged an exhibit of iconic photographs from its archives at GALLERY 50 in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the weekend of May 19-21, 2017.

THE WINDY CITY TIMES of Chicago was one of the hosts of the CHICAGO EQUALITY RALLY, held on Sunday, June 11, 2017. The rally was held in solidarity with the EQUALITY MARCH FOR UNITY AND PRIDE in Washington, D.C.

Volume 19
Issue 3

Use of word “queer” growing in LGBT news reporting

by Joe Siegel

A recent editorial in Denver’s OutFront magazine has reignited the debate over what word, words or acronym to describe the LGBT community.

Ryan Howe, editor of Colorado magazine, explained in a recent column why the publication started using the word “queer,” which was formerly seen as pejorative.

“For us, ‘queer’ is used as an umbrella term for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or something other than the heteronormative worldview that promotes heterosexuality as the norm,” Howe wrote. “Being queer means that people are accepted for being themselves. They are celebrated for living authentically to how they want to live and not letting social norms dictate how they navigate our world.” 

This is a historical shift. As Jake Hall of Dazed wrote: “American newspapers used ‘queer’ as a derogatory term, using it to highlight the fact that homosexuality was strange and abnormal. 

Interestingly, it was most frequently used to specifically attack effeminate gay men.” Hall explained that the word was “later reclaimed in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and quickly became a symbol of anarchy.”

But according to the Critical Media Project, based at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the word can also be used “to underscore the fact that gender and sexual orientation are fluid and should not be rigidly categorized. Echoing this sentiment about fluidity, the ‘Q’ in LGBTQ further can indicate a ‘questioning’ or uncertainty about one’s gender, sexuality, or sexual orientation.” 

Although not everyone is happy with the word, LGBT publications have increasingly used the word in their reporting.

“Some people, especially older, don’t like its use, but more people understand that many do like it and seem more accepting of it these days,” said Tracy Baim, editor for the Windy City Times in Chicago.

“We use the word ‘queer’ pretty regularly — in stories and headlines,” said Cynthia Laird, news editor for the Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco. “If someone identifies as queer we go with that. This has been the case for years, although I couldn’t pinpoint when it started. We would talk to people for stories and more seemed to identify as queer — even older people, so we started using it. Before that, we’d use ‘queer’ mostly in stories about queer youth, because that was how they were identifying.”

The Bay Area Reporter also uses LGBT and LGBTQ. “We do not use GLBT unless it is the name of an organization, like our GLBT Historical Society, or someone says it in a direct quote,” Laird noted. “If someone writes GLBT, say in a letter to the editor, I change it to LGBT to be consistent with our style.”

“Some people identify as queer and use the word with intention,” said Troy Masters, editor of the Los Angeles Blade. “If a writer uses it, we let it stand but rarely use it in original reporting unless a subject identifies as queer.”

“South Florida Gay News and The Mirror will use the word ‘queer’ when appropriate, or if it’s the name of something — like ‘Queer as Folk’ or ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ — or if its in a quote from a source,” said editor Jason Parsley.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) describes “queer” as “an adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g., queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don't apply to them. Some people may use queer, or more commonly genderqueer, to describe their gender identity and/or gender expression.”

GLAAD notes that the term “gay community” should be “avoided, as it does not accurately reflect the diversity of the community. Rather, LGBTQ community is preferred.”

Volume 19
Issue 3

The Advocate celebrates 50th anniversary

by Joe Siegel

The Advocate, the longest running LGBT publication in the country, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The latest issue, number 1091, features covers representing five decades of LGBT history, including the battle for trans rights, the fight for marriage equality, and the work of AIDS activists. 

The magazine has managed to endure despite its share of setbacks and troubles through the years.

The Advocate started its life as the newsletter of Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE), a gay liberation group formed after police raided the Black Cat bar in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 1967, Richard Mitch (aka Dick Michaels) — a writer for a chemical industry — his partner Bill Rau, and Sam Winston decided to turn the newsletter into a gay newspaper. Known as the Los Angeles Advocate, it debuted in September 1967 with a print run of 500 copies, produced at night in a print shop in the basement of ABC Studios.

In an effort to make the paper more professional, Mitch hired Rob Cole, formerly of the Dallas Times Herald, as news editor. As gay men and lesbians from across the country began to look to the paper for information, Mitch renamed it The Advocate in 1969, and it became the first American gay news publication with a nationwide distribution.

After marketing research suggested the LGBT community had more disposable income than most Americans, The Advocate's advertising revenues rose, rescuing it from the brink of financial ruin.

The Advocate was the only LGBT media outlet to feature interviews with prominent gay and straight politicians, including Barney Frank, Al Gore, Steve Gunderson, John Kerry, and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Once closeted celebrities were also featured over the years: George Michael, k.d. lang, Bishop Gene Robinson, Martina Navratilova, Chad Allen, Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres, and Greg Louganis.

In 1996, the magazine hired its first female editor in chief, Judy Wieder.

The Advocate featured explorations of timely issues including hate crimes, monogamy, sex addiction, bisexuality, gays in sports, gays in the Mormon Church, and the LGBT people affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

These stories “were written by seasoned journalists from a gay perspective that simply couldn’t be duplicated — even when, in the late ‘90s, some of these subjects and celebrities became big-ticket sellers for mainstream media,” Wieder wrote in a 2010 Huffington Post column. “With its harsh features and photos that no advertiser wanted to be anywhere near, the magazine depended on dedicated readers that renewed their costly ($40-plus) subscriptions year after year. For them to do this, the content had to be astonishing. It was unimaginably difficult for a small staff to keep it up every two weeks, but somehow it happened.”

In 2000, The Advocate's parent company, Liberation Publications Inc. (LPI) — which had previously acquired book publisher Alyson Publications — purchased rival magazine Out, as well as HIV Plus. LPI and web company PlanetOut announced plans to merge, prompting critics to warn of an impending LGBT media monopoly. That merger was called off, but in 2005 PlanetOut purchased LPI for $31 million.

Even as PlanetOut faced a financial crisis in early 2007, The Advocate continued to gain new subscribers. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, it came out of the closet, doing away with the "privacy wrap" that had previously covered the magazine.

"The Advocate's decision might seem like a trivial matter, … but it stands for something far greater — the increasing acceptance and visibility of gay people in public life," wrote gay journalist James Kirchick.

The Advocate has drawn plenty of criticism over the years. Many lamented its shift away from militant politics and its increasing emphasis on entertainment and lifestyle content, while others thought the magazine was too commercial and geared to affluent white gay men. 

Diane Anderson-Minshall, the magazine’s current editorial director, noted that The Advocate “has become a voice for the voiceless.”

“For every [attorney] Robbie Kaplan and Edie Windsor [whom Kaplan represented in the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality case], there were literally thousands of couples — and millions of other allies — who helped make marriage equality the law of the land,” Anderson-Minshall said. “Our battles are never begun by us; they are begun on the backs of those who came before us, and they will continue as we pass the torch to the next generation.”

Volume 19
Issue 3

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Dallas Voice and OUT North Texas

Interview with Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: North Texas, more specifically Dallas/Fort Worth. We are distributed to more than 400 distribution locations in five counties, 23 cities and 62 zip codes. 

Year founded: May 1984

Staff size and breakdown (writers, editors, designers, etc.): Leo Cusimano, Publisher and Co-Owner; Terry Thompson, President and Co-Owner; Tammye Nash, Managing Editor; three in Editorial; four in Display Sales; two in Marketplace Sales; two in production; and one in Distribution. 10 full time and two part-time.

Physical dimensions of publication: Tabloid size 10.5” x 11.5”

Average page count: 40 pages

Print run: 15,000 every Friday, readership is 32,000 per issue. We also publish OUT North Texas, an annual glossy magazine that is the official visitors guide for Dallas/Fort Worth.


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

Publisher and Co-Owner Leo Cusimano: The Life+Style section is always important to our readers. Automotive is our biggest advertising category. We have special sections almost every month. Dining is big in the LGBT community here. Political news also is important.

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

Cusimano: We started as a newspaper, selling only one thing, a print ad. Today we are more than just a newspaper, we have evolved into a media company, selling more than a dozen products. We have had to understand how our readers get their news and have advertising opportunities in each of those places. Our readers turn to us for in-depth, comprehensive coverage — hyper local LGBT news and lifestyle information. 

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Dallas Voice facing now?

Cusimano: For us it is a balance, between delivering in-depth comprehensive coverage to our readers to providing digital services to our advertisers, and staffing both. Like most media outlets today, the challenge we face is engaging our younger demographic. Newspapers are still a strong thread in the fabric of equality, and print is still king in the LGBT community. 

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

Cusimano: I think for me, it was a younger reader’s comment that they love reading the Dallas Voice, because of the changes that they have seen directed at them, like younger voices and more pictures in our Scene feature. 

PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?

Cusimano: Know your market, know what the market will bear from an advertising perspective, understand your potential reader and how they access information. Get the right staff. Have a vision and a passion for what you what to accomplish. Make gratitude a core value.

Volume 19
Issue 3