Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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."

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