Wednesday, April 25, 2018


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COMPETE, the sports magazine based in Scottsdale, Ariz., entered its 12th year of publication with its January 2018 issue.

FENUXE, based in Atlanta, debuted a new advice column called Ask Daddy, where “anonymous Daddy supreme” explains how to handle kink.

GED MAGAZINE, based in Long Beach, Calif., published its inaugural “Bound & Back” issue in March 2018, a review of the leather scene on the West Coast over the past year.

GEORGIA VOICE, based in Atlanta, entered its ninth year of publication with its March 2, 2018, issue.

GOGUIDE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, was placed on hiatus on March 1. The publication will resume under GOGUIDE MEDIA on September 1 with its campus issue.

ROB KOHN, a reader of the WASHINGTON BLADE, won a contest sponsored by the newspaper to serve as guest ringmaster of the Big Apple Circus. The circus stopped in D.C. on March 17 and that evening’s performance was branded as “Blade Night.”

METRA, based in Madison Heights, Mich., celebrated its 39th anniversary with its March 28, 2018, issue.

OUT & ABOUT NASHVILLE entered its 17th year of publication with its January 2018 issue.

PRESS PASS Q, the only trade publication for those working in LGBT media, entered its 20th year of publication with its April 2018 issue.

UNITE SEATTLE published its premiere issue, dated March/April 2018. It is to be published bimonthly.

WORLDNOMADS.COM has released a “map of (in)tolerance,” revealing which countries are potentially danders for LGBT travellers because of legal status and societal attitudes. The color-coded map is designed to help LGBT travelers make informed decisions about where to go. You can see the full map at

Volume 20
Issue 1

Elder issues on the radar of some LGBT media

by Joe Siegel

A recently released survey by AARP shows older LGBT adults worry most about three things: having adequate family and other social support to rely on as they age, discrimination in long-term care (LTC) facilities, and access to LGBT-sensitive services for seniors.

The survey, “Maintaining Dignity: Understanding and Responding to the Challenges Facing Older LGBT Americans,” found that both gay men and lesbians have similar concerns about whether they will have enough family or other social support. However, gay men are more likely than lesbians to be single, live alone, and have smaller support systems, which may put them at higher risk for isolation as they age.

Many LGBT publications have made sure they are serving older LGBT readers by featuring issues of concern to them.

Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), for example, is the only LGBT newspaper with a regularly scheduled senior supplement, according to editor Mark Segal. In addition to the twice-yearly supplement, Segal says PGN has a regular column geared to the senior community.

The “number one issue” for LGBT seniors is housing, affordable living, and “being able to live in a safe neighborhood,” Segal said. 

Chicago’s Windy City Times has featured many columns about the issue. For one, Serena Worthington, the director of national field initiatives at SAGE, wrote, “LGBT older people are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single, and three to four times less likely to have children — and many are estranged from their families.”

Editor Tracy Baim founded a group called Pride Action Tank, which hosted a major LGBT seniors summit last summer. Windy City Times also features interviews with aging LGBT activists, including a recent cover story about Gary Chichester. Chichester co-founded the Chicago Gay Alliance (CGA) in 1971 and served as its first president until 1973. CGA later opened the first LGBT community center in the city, started a newspaper, created an LGBT library, started a helpline and was instrumental in getting the first Pride parade off the ground.

Boston Spirit magazine runs a monthly column called Senior Spirit, which is aimed at readers 55 and up.

“The column has been running for about a year and a half and is very well received,” said publisher David Zimmerman. “We work very closely with many of the organizations in the area on the content for this column. One such organization is the LGBT Aging Project, which is part of [community health center] Fenway Health. As an example, the current Senior Spirit article details a recent study on the role that stress plays in the lives of older LGBT people.”

New York-based Gay City News has also ran many stories about the obstacles LGBT seniors face, including discrimination in housing. Editor Paul Schindler wrote a February 2015 column titled, “Our Seniors Need Housing and Community.” The newspaper has also featured several “first-person” narratives about the lives of LGBT seniors.

PGN’s Segal said older LGBTs are also suffering from what he refers to as “battle fatigue.”

“Many of us, as seniors, are still dealing with how we [handled] the AIDS epidemic” in the 1980s and ‘90s, Segal said. “We were the frontlines, we saw what it was like. We watched as 600,000 people in our community died. Each and every one of us lost scores of friends, if not the ones we loved. We are still scarred by that.”

Segal noted that these are issues that much of LGBT media does not want to address. “There’s a huge amount of information out there, but unfortunately we seem to be an ageist community, so we shy away from those issues.”

Volume 20
Issue 1

Lesbian mag Curve reinvented as a quarterly

by Joe Siegel

Popular national lesbian magazine Curve has reinvented itself in a time of changing trends in readership. Most notably, the magazine will now be published on a quarterly basis instead of monthly.

Editor Merryn Johns said the move is a result of the busy lives of readers.
“They were giving us feedback that they didn’t have time” to read the magazine, Johns said.

Merryn Johns of Curve
Johns cited the increased use of social media as a factor in the decision. “What we discovered from surveys of our readers is they would enjoy a more luxurious print product,” Johns said, noting Curve has undergone a complete redesign and rebranding.

The magazine has even changed its tagline from “America’s Best Selling Lesbian Magazine” to “Living True,” which calls for readers to embrace their own sexual identities.

Curve continues its own digital presence, although that too has posed its share of problems. “We found that as a publication, we’re competing with ourselves,” Johns said.

The slower publishing schedule will also impact the editorial content, paving the way for more in-depth stories, according to Johns. “You can’t really be as deadline-driven anymore. What that means for us is [to feature] more iconic celebrity interviews, more lifestyle pieces that might be about seasonal offerings such as interior design or travel or fashion and food. And if we do any topical pieces that are politically oriented, they’re really well-researched think pieces.”

The latest cover features actress Cate Blanchette, who Johns considers an “iconic” figure in the lesbian community. There are also features on genderqueer fashion and singer Nona Hendryx. “We thought [Hendryx] was very emblematic of longevity and intersectionality,” Johns said.

So far, readers have embraced all the changes in the magazine. “We’ve had more response [to this relaunch] than we’ve ever had,” Johns said. “The e-mails, the letters, the word of mouth has been very positive for us. We’re really hoping it’s a turning point for Curve.” 

Volume 20
Issue 1

Kansas and Delaware lose LGBT media pioneers

by Fred Kuhr
The LGBT media community lost two longtime activists and LGBT media pioneers this month — Kristi Parker of Wichita, Kan.-based Liberty Press and Steve Elkins of Rehoboth Beach, Del.-based Letters From CAMP Rehoboth.

Parker, who founded Liberty Press in 1994 and continued as its editor and publisher, died March 10, after suffering a stroke two days earlier. She was 49.
Kristi Parker of
Liberty Press

Sharon “Vinnie” Reed, Parker’s former business partner and ex-wife, told the Wichita Eagle that Liberty Press will cease publication in light of Parker’s death.

“She was very knowledgeable and skilled as an accountant. And she was filled with this passion for helping and being part of the gay and lesbian community,” Reed told the Eagle. “She had this ability to be the editor, write and finance and keep the business afloat.”

Parker got into LGBT publishing after becoming co-chair of Wichita’s Pride Committee in early 1994 and was put in charge of the Pride Guide. After that success, she began publishing Liberty Press. The first issue in August of that year was 12 pages and only had five advertisers. The paper grew to average 60 pages with a print run of 5,000.

The publication’s tagline was, “We were gay before it was cool.”

Steve Elkins of Letters From
CAMP Rehoboth
Elkins, editor and publisher of Letters From CAMP Rehoboth, died on March 15 after a year-long battle with lymphoma. He was also co-founder and executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, the LGBT community center that produced the publication. He was 67.

Elkins announced in his column last month that he would be taking a medical leave of absence and that his husband and partner of 40 years, Murray Archibald, would be serving as the organization’s interim leader. That column, sadly, would be his last for the publication.

CAMP Rehoboth is an acronym meaning Creating A More Positive Rehoboth. The nonprofit, which was launched in 1991, began as a newsletter before it grew into a full-service community center by led Elkins and Archibald.

“The CAMP Rehoboth family is heartbroken at the passing of our executive director and co-founder, Steve Elkins,” the organization stated on its Facebook page. “As he did throughout his life, fighting for the rights of so many in this state, he fought lymphoma with courage and dignity until the very end."

Volume 20
Issue 1

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Focus magazine of Tennessee

Interview with Publisher Ray Rico
by Joe Siegel

Two editions:
Focus Mid-South, based in Memphis
Focus Middle Tennessee, based in Nashville

Geographic coverage area: 
Memphis, 100-mile radius
Nashville, 80- mile radius 

Year founded: 
Memphis, 2015
Nashville, 2017

Staff size and breakdown:
Managing editor Joan Allison
Contributors Sarah Rutledge Fischer, Robin Beaudoin, and Melinda Lejman
Designers Joan Allison, Ray Rico, and Daphne Butler
Digital media Chellie Bowman
Nashville, TN
Associate publisher Selena Haynes
Managing editor and layout manager Brian Goins
Contributor Lauren Means

Physical dimensions of publications:
8.375” x 10.125”

Average page count:
Memphis, 56 pages
Nashville, 32 pages

Print run: 
Memphis, 12,000
Nashville, 7,500

Web site:


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

Publisher Ray Rico: Our profiles of local unsung heroes add a special touch each issue. Also, travel stories and pets stories are popular. Finally, many of the ads are creative and follow the theme of each issue.

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

Rico: I did. Focus is a word that has multiple meanings and was versatile for its purpose.

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

Rico: Growing. We had to hire more staff and expand distribution outlets. We have an awesome crew and have implemented a side-business, managing magazine deliveries as a local service [to us and other local publications] to make distribution more effective.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Focus facing now?

Rico: We are going through a rebuild of our website and that presents new challenges with how readers will access our publication now and in the future. We have been crafting the new sites with great care and hope to expand our digital footprint more with other potential readers who have a tie back to Tennessee in either market, Memphis or Nashville.

PPQ: How has Focus changed since it was first launched? 

Rico: We developed our brand and content flow. We have also developed a protocol to launch in another market. We have plans to continue to expand in the southern region over the next year.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Rico: Educating people with our platform to give insight, decisions, and acceptance of real life issues.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories Focus has covered?

Rico: A hate crimes series. It was a three-part series covering multiple markets in Tennessee. We worked with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, local and statewide law enforcement, and the DOJ.

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

Rico: Hard 4. We purposely try to appeal to our allies too, since they do make up a great percentage of our readers.

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist”?

Rico: I do not. I see myself as a catalyst for sharing information and remain heavily active in the community. I’m more of an activist designer than journalist. 

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

Rico: An LGBT youth came up to me and told me he was trans and had recently had the courage to come out to his parents. They were very confused at first but they began to read more and ask questions to learn more about their child. He told me that they love the magazine and have opened their eyes to a world where he can share experiences with them rather than his parents not having anything to do with his life. It was at a Pride event, and I had the pleasure to shake these folks’ hands and tell them, “They’re doing it right.” I’ve seen them at the last two Prides, and they always come up and say hello. Their relationship with their son is so strong, and it just makes me smile telling that story.
PPQ: What advice would you give to anyone who may want to launch their own GLBT publication?

Rico: Do your homework and make sure you’re creating something that is a viable solution to the needs of your community. Do it for the right reasons. Don’t try to make everyone happy.

PPQ: There have been a number of publications which have either downsized their staffs or ceased operations completely. Is print media dying because of the popularity of digital media platforms?

Rico: I think smart companies diversify their media and understand readers’ trends. In our markets, it is more sustainable because of our approach to showcasing diversity — the community wants it, either in print or digital. Being smart about having a digital presence is necessary. I do feel like in the South folks like to pick up a print magazine and read it though, especially visitors and travelers who identify as LGBT. It may be more old school but our high pickup rates prove it to be true. Still, offering a strong digital presence keeps the brand relevant.

Volume 20
Issue 1