Wednesday, September 18, 2019


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

LGBT HISTORY MONTH, coordinated by the EQUALITY FORUM, has unveiled its list of 31 icons for 2019. The icons include presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor PETE BUTTIGIEG, Prime Minister of Serbia ANA BRNABIC, transgender activist and author KATE BORNSTEIN, WASHINGTON BLADE senior news reporter LOU CHIBBARO JR., Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist RONAN FARROW, Parkland gun control activist EMMA GONZÁLEZ, Oscar-winning filmmaker JAMES IVROY, and Colorado Gov. JARED POLIS. Beginning October 1, a new icon will be featured with video, bio, downloadable images and other resources free for journalists and educators at LGBTHISTORYMONTH.COM

OUTWORD, based in Sacramento, Calif., celebrated its 24th anniversary in August 2019.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE announced that D.C. Mayor MURIEL BOWSER and openly gay Rhode Island Congressman DAVID CICILLINE will be among the speakers at the newspaper’s 50th anniversary gala on October 18, 2019, at the Intercontinental Hotel in D.C. Tickets are available at

RUSS YOUNGBLOOD, senior sales representative and the first full-time employee at Q MAGAZINE in Atlanta, has stepped down for a new career opportunity. Also a photographer for the magazine, he will stay involved as a contributor.

Volume 21
Issue 6

NLGJA confab pushes diversity while Fox News sponsorship stirs controversy

by Joe Siegel

More than 400 journalists, news executives, communications professionals and educators attended NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists’ annual convention, which was held August 29 through September 1 in New Orleans.

"We were excited to see so many new faces at the convention this year, as well as many of our veteran attendees," said NLGJA Executive Director Adam K. Pawlus. "I hope everyone left feeling energized and prepared to carry on the mission of NLGJA. We're very excited to see everyone next year in Chicago."

The Washington Blade was the recipient of the NLGJA Legacy Award. "Thank you to NLGJA for this honor,” said Blade Editor Kevin Naff. “The Blade team works hard each day to hold this administration accountable, to cover hate crimes targeting our community and to shine a light on the plight of LGBTQ people around the world. We have helped write the first draft of LGBTQ history for 50 years and while much progress has been made, we look forward to the advances of the next 50 years."

The NLGJA Leadership Award was bestowed upon Reuters Deputy Managing Editor Arlyn Gajilan. Lucas Grindley and Robert Feiseler were the recipients of the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for LGBTQ Journalist of the Year and NLGJA Journalist of the Year, respectively.

Convention speakers included financial guru Suze Orman, Senior Vice President for MSNBC & NBC News Yvette Miley, CBS Sunday Morning Executive Producer Rand Morrison, AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee, and Them Executive Editor Whembley Sewell.
NLGJA President Sharif Durhams

More than 30 breakout sessions and five plenary sessions were on the agenda this year. Also, more than 25 organizations and companies were exhibiting at the Career & Community Expo. Work that is produced by the students in the CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project can be found at

One of that project’s stories focused on how NLGJA is working to increase diversity in the media and its news coverage. “You have to have diverse people in your newsroom who are at all levels of the newsroom to advocate for these stories,” NLGJA President Sharif Durhams, the first African-American president in the organization’s history, told student reporter Andre Menchavez. 

The convention’s “How to Increase Diversity in Your Coverage” panel focused on encouraging attendees to seek and pitch stories about communities that are underrepresented in mainstream news. “There is so much diversity within our [LGBTQ] family,” said Simon Bouie, panelist and producer of the CBS Evening News, according to Menchavez’s reporting. Bouie believes “the news should look like the nation.”

A conversation between Correspondent Mo Rocca and CBS Sunday Morning Executive Producer Rand Morrison focused on the ways of keeping broadcast news appealing to audiences amid heavy competition from cable news outlets.

Other plenaries included “Fact Checking in a Trumpian World,” “Driving the Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Women,” “Perfect Podcasting: Finding Your Voice,” “How I Survived as a Freelance Writer,” “Reporting on Bi+ Identities,” and “Stonewall 50.”

There was also a New Ways: Reporting HIV & AIDS Today workshop, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control’s Act Against AIDS program. NLGJA has a partnership with the CDC's Partnering & Communicating Together (PACT) for the program.

The convention featured two local performing arts groups, including The Original Pinettes Brass Band, New Orleans' only all-female brass band.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s convention included Coca-Cola, JetBlue, CNN, Fox News, CBS News, McClatchy, Scripps, Comcast NBC Universal, ESPN, the Facebook Journalism Project, MGM Resorts International, Prudential, Stoli, and Verizon Media.

But Fox’s continued sponsorship has become a bone of contention this year after the National Association of Hispanic Journalists recently returned more than $16,000 to Fox. That was in reaction to Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes’ remarks against Latino immigrants.

Critics of the sponsorship say that the network’s conservative editorial positions should disqualify it from being associated with NLGJA. “By promoting Fox News with sponsorship logos and ads, NLGJA is helping pinkwash the image of a far-right corporation,” said Dominic Holden, NLGJA’s 2016 Journalist of the Year and a vocal critic of Fox’s sponsorship, told CONNECT student journalist Jonathan Lee.

The topic of corporate sponsorships came up at the annual meeting of NLGJA’s board. “We discussed feedback that we’re hearing from members,” Durhams, the group’s president, told Lee, “and there wasn’t a change in policy.”

The 2020 convention will be held in Chicago, September 10-13. For more information, visit

(Editor Fred Kuhr contributed to this report.)

Volume 21
Issue 6

Rhode Island’s Options at a crossroads

by Joe Siegel

Options, based in Providence, R.I., is looking to regroup following the resignations of its chairman and several members of its board of directors.

“Due to financial reasons, the board of directors decided not to publish an August/September issue, and also decided to cancel the Gay 5K planned for September 22,” wrote Editor Jen Stevens in a message posted on an LGBTQ listserv. “Subsequently, several board members have resigned and new leadership is needed to keep this 37-year-old institution afloat.

While Stevens, as editor, does not serve on the board, she offered to connect potential board members with the remaining members of the board.

The publication, which launched in 1982, has undergone many changes through the years, starting as a newsletter produced in conjunction with AIDS Care Ocean State and evolving into a glossy monthly magazine.

Options ceased publication in 2017 due to financial difficulties but relaunched in 2018.

“What we’re looking for is potential board members to come on and help run Options,” said board member Joty Allison.

The remaining board members had considered shutting down the print edition of the magazine and publishing online only. But readers expressed their support for the print edition.

“A lot of our sponsors prefer we have a print magazine as well,” Allison said, noting it was “so expensive” to produce.

Allison said that if the board of directors is unable to raise enough money, the print edition will be shuttered for good.

Stevens said work on the magazine’s October/November issue will proceed “thanks to a generous sponsorship from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.” The publication’s writing and design staff are intact.

Options’ management team intends to solicit feedback from the community to determine the magazine’s future direction.

“We know that Options must develop a more consistent and valuable online presence to compete in the digital age, and strides are needed to reach marginalized community members,” Stevens said. “We intend to hold a community meeting this autumn to assess how Options can best serve our diverse local LGBTQ community. We hope that readers will share their ideas and opinions to chart our path and reinvest in our mission.”

Volume 21
Issue 6

Washington Blade returns to Mexican border and Central America

by Fred Kuhr

The Washington Blade continues to be the highest profile LGBTQ news outlet covering the plight of Latin American immigrants as Michael K. Lavers, the newspaper’s international news editor, returned to the U.S.-Mexico border over the summer.

Lavers spoke with a number of activists and immigrants, including Héctor Ruiz of the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Imelda Maynard of Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico and Paola Fernández of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee. Lavers also interviewed a gay Ugandan man who recently won asylum in the U.S., Nathan Craig and Margaret Brown Vega of Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chihuahuan Desert, and Ryan Steinmetz of PFLAG Las Cruces Rainbow Refugee Project in Las Cruces, N.M.

Lavers also traveled to El Paso, Texas, and its sister city Ciudad Juárez, which is just across the Rio Grande in Mexico. That trip was prescient as it was only two weeks before a white supremacists drove from Dallas to a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso to kill 22 people and injure two dozen others.

One of the Blade's Michael K. Lavers' images from the border
During an interview with Lavers in Guatemala City, Guatemalan Congressman-elect Aldo Dávila “sharply criticized his country’s government over its decision to sign a ‘safe third country’ agreement with the White House that requires migrants who pass through Guatemala on their way to the U.S. to first seek asylum in the country.”

Since January, the Blade has reported from California’s Imperial Valley; Arizona, New Mexico; Mexico City; Mexico’s Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua and Chiapas states; Guatemala; El Salvador and Honduras.

Along the way, Lavers has photographed people and places that illustrate the political battle underway. These photos include Guatemala’s Dávila protesting outside that country’s presidential palace, a transgender woman from El Salvador living at a shelter in Ciudad Juárez, a sign in an El Paso Walmart advertising that it is investing in “American” jobs, and a mug with a gun handle for sale in Abilene, Texas, a sign that gun culture is alive and well there.

Volume 21
Issue 6

GUEST COMMENTARY: We are more than LGBTQ, we are queer

by Rick Claggett
(Rick Claggett is the publisher of Watermark, based in Orlando, Fla. This commentary originally appeared in the May 30, 2019, issue of Watermark.)

Hi! My name is Rick and I am queer.

How does that make you feel? Does the word queer invoke anger or fear? Or is it something you embrace? Is this a generational question?

I understand and respect completely that the word queer is a trigger for some. I vividly remember being asked if I was queer when I was younger. It was usually accompanied by some snarl-faced look that let me know being queer was not a good thing in their eyes. Not knowing what queer meant, I would answer no, which would result in my gender being questioned or chased around the playground. By the time I was called “as queer as a three dollar bill,” I knew what they were saying.

Watermark's Rick Claggett
It was more than 30 years ago so my memories might be a little hazy, but I don’t remember being crushed by the word. I have definitely been called worse. Let’s be real, my last name is Claggett, pronounced kla-git. Now go ahead and sing it in the “Name Game.” My brothers and I are certainly no strangers to being called the “F” word.

For me it was different, obviously, as I am gay. Yet again, I don’t remember it bothering me so much. In fact, I got to the point where someone would yell “faggot” and I would retort, “Yeah, so what?” That usually shut them up. Although, I realize it wasn’t as easy for others, so I’ll just refer to it as the “F” word from now on.

Watermark Film Company is currently working on the documentary, “Greetings From Queertown: Orlando.” The goal is to follow the path of Central Florida’s LGBTQ history. We will detail the evolution of LGBTQ rights through politics, HIV/AIDS, Pride and entertainment, highlighting the struggles and heroes who built our community and made it possible for us to weather unthinkable tragedy. We have to talk about how bad it was to understand how good it is. That is how I feel about the word queer.

When I was in school in the ‘80s and ‘90s, queer was a derogatory term. What made it derogatory was the intent of the user. Much like how acceptance of the LGBTQ community has evolved, so has acceptance of the word queer by the LGBTQ community. It seems fitting to use queer in the title of the upcoming documentary because, like the community, the word queer started out as a negative connotation and transformed into something that is representative of a diverse and inclusive world.

In my last column of 2018, I asked for the conversation to begin for us to change how we refer to our community. Too many people in our community do not identify with L, G, B or T. I used to jokingly say that we added Q to stand for Queverybody, but the truth is everybody is not represented by LGBTQ. The only way to make sure our alphabet soup is all inclusive is to make it 26 letters.

I recently attended the annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast put on by The LGBT+ Center. A prominent ally mentioned — and I am paraphrasing — that she always felt the word “ally” described someone who was not part of a group, but supported the members from the outside. It made me take a step back and think. Our allies shouldn’t feel like they are not 100 percent members of our community, and they should be able to claim name to our existence.

My roommate just bought a rainbow magic band, rainbow T-shirt and a string of rainbow lights to wear at RED Shirt Pride Day at the Magic Kingdom. That cisgender, heterosexual ally is completely part of this queer community.

This is my official pitch that we adopt the word queer and an all-inclusive way to join our cisgender, non-binary, allied, L, G , B and T family. The word is weathered, tested, evolved and strong. It speaks to how our community fought and how we were defined to become what we are today. It speaks to the strength and love we have for each other, and it speaks to our diversity.

Still don’t like queer? Then start a conversation about another word. Let’s cut ourselves a break from having to stumble through the words “LGBTQ community” when speaking in public.

Volume 21
Issue 6

PRESSING QUESTIONS: Swerv Magazine of Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Interview with Publisher Jamil Fletcher
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: National, distributed free of charge directly in 70 cities within 30 states

Year founded: 2008

Staff size and breakdown: Three plus a number of independent contributors

Key demographics: Black LGBTQ


PPQ: What feature or features of Swerv have been the most popular with readers? 
Publisher Jamil Fletcher: It varies. The basis of our popularity is centered on the fact that we tell stories about a community at the intersection of race and sexual identity that are not being told elsewhere. The entertainment, columnists, and cover profiles are very popular.  
Swerv's Jamil Fletcher

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

Fletcher: The name was suggested by a friend. It's a play on the word swerve, meaning "to change course." We dropped the closing "e" for style purposes. 

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

Fletcher: There is little to no advertising market invested in Black LGBTQ people. Thus, advertising is a HUGE challenge. Entities interested in reaching LGBTQ audiences are not interested in segmenting based on race, and those looking to reach Black folks are not interested in segmenting based on sexual identity. Beside the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture medicines for HIV/AIDS patients, no one really has this unique demographic in mind. 

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is Swerv facing now?

Fletcher: Advertising, advertising, advertising. On top of that, advertisers discount the value of this demographic, so they don't want to pay market rates. 

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

Fletcher: The look and feel of the publication has evolved over the years. Since 2012, my brother, who is an experienced graphic artist, has been coordinating the layout. We look a million times better than before. It's like night and day. 

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Fletcher: I would love to add more pages to the publication, but that is currently based on the advertising support. 

PPQ: What’s the biggest news story or stories Swerv has covered?

Fletcher: Some of the more widely viewed stories thus far have been our cover profile of Bishop Yvette Flunder, as one of the great spiritual leaders in the country, our profile of former adult film star Mustang, and our musical profiles of both B. Slade and Toshi Reagon.

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

Fletcher: Totally gay or same-gender-loving, but we include allies and things that are relevant to all Black people, no matter the sexual identity. 

PPQ: Do you see yourself as an “activist journalist”? If so, in what way?  

Fletcher: No, not activist. Just creating a forum to capture and celebrate the humanity of Black same-gender-loving people.  

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

Fletcher: Honestly, nothing has surprised me yet. I am always inspired to hear feedback about how a particular story may have had an impact. What I do find startling is what many in our community are not aware of about each other. 

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

Fletcher: I would say if you are looking to make money from the publication as an LGBTQ entity, then you must gear it towards white gay men. That's the only demographic within the LGBTQ community that advertisers appear to value. Otherwise, be prepared to basically finance it yourself.

Volume 21
Issue 6

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


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

BOSTON SPIRIT will be sponsoring its first-ever 5Gay, its version of a 5K fun run, in November in Provincetown, Mass.

Lou Chibbaro Jr.
LOU CHIBBARO JR., senior news reporter at the WASHINGTON BLADE, has been named an “icon” by the EQUALITY FORUM, an advocacy group that promotes awareness of LGBTQ history. Chibbaro will be among those the group honors during LGBT History Month in October.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, unveiled its new logo in June 2019. The new logo combines both the paper’s full name as well as the initials GCN in lower case. The new logo was designed by MICHAEL SHIREY, the newspaper’s former creative director.

GAY SAN DIEGO is up for sale. Publisher DAVID MANNIS sold the five other community newspapers he used to own in April 2019 to his ex-wife, but he retained control Gay San Diego. But he announced last month that he is ready to retire altogether. Interested parties can contact Mannis at or 858-750-5631.

Dubbs Weinblatt
GOGUIDE MAGAZINE, based in Iowa City, Iowa, enters its fourth year of publication with its September 2019 issue.

DALE GODFREY, a contributing photographer for San Francisco’s BAY AREA REPORTER, died June 30, 2019, after suffering a heart attack. He was 72.

YARIEL VALDÉS GONZALEZ, the WASHINGTON BLADE contributor from Cuba seeking asylum in the United States, appeared before an immigration judge in Louisiana late last month. A second hearing is scheduled for September 6, 2019.

WATERMARK, based in Orlando, Fla., moved to new office space in Baldwin East on July 12, 2019.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE will celebrated its 50th anniversary at a gala on October 18, 2019,  at the Intercontinental Hotel in D.C. Tickets available at

DUBBS WEINBLATT, a trans genderqueer improv performer, is the host of GAY CITY NEWS’ new podcast called THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT. It’s available through the Apple podcast app.

Volume 21
Issue 5

Journalists to convene in New Orleans, honor Washington Blade

by Joe Siegel

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is going to New Orleans for its annual convention from August 29 through September 1. The event will be held at the InterContinental New Orleans. More than 450 journalists, news executives, communications professionals and educators are expected to attend.

Notably for an LGBTQ media outlet, the Washington Blade will be honored by the group with its inaugural NLGJA Legacy Award.

The NLGJA Legacy Award was created this year to recognize an outlet, publication or news organization that has exhibited innovative, high-quality and sustained news coverage of the LGBTQ community over an extended period of time, according to the group. The NLGJA Legacy Award is the association’s only award that is presented to an outlet, publication or news organization to recognize the work of its entire staff, rather than an individual.

"Thank you to NLGJA for this honor,” said Naff. “The Blade team works hard each day to hold this administration accountable, to cover hate crimes targeting our community and to shine a light on the plight of LGBTQ people around the world. We have helped write the first draft of LGBTQ history for 50 years and while much progress has been made, we look forward to the advances of the next 50 years."

Hall of Fame inductee Lilli Vincenz
Representatives from the Washington Blade will be on hand to accept the NLGJA Legacy Award at the convention in New Orleans.

“We're very excited to be headed to New Orleans for our 2019 National Convention,” said NLGJA Executive Director Adam Pawlus. “We're excited to build on the momentum from last year's convention, which was the largest in a decade. Our co-chairs have worked tirelessly to program the convention. There is truly something for everybody, and I'm confident that every attendee will leave having learned more about our community and developed new skills."

Convention speakers include financial guru Suze Orman, Senior Vice President for MSNBC & NBC News Yvette Miley, Associated Press Executive Editor Sally Buzbee, and CBS News National Correspondent David Begnaud.

There are more than 30 breakout sessions and five plenary sessions on the agenda this year. Also, more than 25 organizations and companies will be exhibiting at the Career & Community Expo. Work that is produced by the students in the CONNECT: Student Journalism Training Project will be found at

A conversation between correspondent Mo Rocca and CBS Sunday Morning Executive Producer Rand Morrison will be the focus of a Friday morning session. Morrison and Rocca will focus on ways of keeping broadcast news appealing to audiences amid heavy competition from cable news outlets.
Hall of Fame inductee Steve Rothaus

Other plenaries include “Straight Money Talk with Suze Orman,” “Fact Checking in a Trumpian World,” “Driving the Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Women,” “Perfect Podcasting: Finding Your Voice,” “How I Survived as a Freelance Writer,” “Reporting on Bi+ Identities,” and “Stonewall 50.”

There will also be a New Ways: Reporting HIV & AIDS Today workshop, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control Act Against AIDS program. NLGJA has a partnership with the CDC's Partnering & Communicating Together (PACT) for the Act Against AIDS program.

Opening and closing receptions will “feature local musicians celebrating NOLA's rich music tradition,” said Dillon Lewis, NLGJA’s communications and marketing manager.

Ahead of its convention, NLGJA named three new people to its LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. They include Steve Rothaus, who worked at the Miami Herald for over 30 years covering LGBTQ issues; Kara Swisher, an award-winning business journalist who co-founded and is editor at large of the website Recode; and Lilli Vincenz, who co-founded The Gay Blade, a precursor to the present-day Washington Blade. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the convention on Aug. 31.

The group has also announced that its 2020 convention will be held in Chicago September 10-13, 2020.
For a complete convention schedule, visit

Volume 21
Issue 5

Gay Star News shutters due to Brexit, economic woes

by Joe Siegel

Popular U.K.-based website Gay Star News has ceased operations.

“We entered 2019 with every reason to be confident we were going to have a strong year,” wrote Tris Reid-Smith and Scott Nunn, who founded the publication in 2011. “But as the year progressed, decisions have been delayed and projects people had committed to do with us have fallen flat.”

Tris Reid Smith (left) and Scott Nunn
Readers and supporters of the publication have reportedly expressed their dismay to the founders. “As we said, the news broke before we could tell it. But since then we have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of positivity and love for Gay Star News and the people who have created it,” said Reid-Smith and Nunn. “People who have every reason to be angry or disappointed have responded with love and compassion. There have been a lot of hugs and a lot of tears.”

Political upheaval in the United Kingdom was one of the contributing factors to the publication’s financial difficulties. “There are a number of reasons, of course. But the biggest change was the level of confidence brands and businesses in the U.K. have, due to the uncertainty over Brexit. It won’t surprise anyone to hear that many media organizations are struggling with the same problem.”

Reid-Smith and Nunn went on to express their dismay with how some businesses recognize LGBTQ Pride. “Brands which are wishing to ‘do’ LGBTI work are increasingly doing so in a tokenistic way. Rather than working with us to engage and serve LGBTI people year round, many have chosen to ‘rainbow wash.’ They have turned their logo rainbow colored for Pride week or month and – at best – made a small donation to an LGBTI good cause. Worst still, we have learned that some brands have done this while at the same time funding anti-LGBTI politicians to the tune of millions of dollars. Tokenism has reached a new low.”

Given the bad news, Reid-Smith and Nunn do not want readers to believe Gay Star News is shutting down due to lack of readership. “To avoid any doubt, our problem has been entirely financial. By all the statistics, Gay Star News is now more widely read, watched and loved by the international LGBTI audience than ever. It is a sad paradox that our popularity has not transferred into our survival. We are convinced we are closing at a time when more people want and need what we offer than ever before.”

Volume 21
Issue 5

Longtime gay journalist and activist honored by Smithsonian

by Fred Kuhr

Bil Browning, managing editor of news website LGBTQ Nation and founder of since-shuttered, is officially part of LGBTQ history.

Browning and his husband, Jerame Davis, donated dozens of items that are now part of “Illegal To Be You: Gay History Beyond Stonewall,” an exhibition unveiled in June at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Bil Browning
As outlined in LGBTQ Nation, the donated items include a small paper gift box taken from their wedding, a bullhorn from Davis’ activists days back in Indiana, and two buttons — one that reads “TELL” with a camouflage background (a nod to the political fight in the ‘90s over the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly LGBTQ troops) and another that says “Trans Rights Now.”

The exhibit also contains personal items from Browning’s Indiana childhood — a toy bus that brought him “peace and empowerment as a bullied child.” Browning explained that because of a broken latch the bus’ hood could detach from its base, he used to imagine the bus as an alligator’s head.

“In my daydreams, the bus would swallow my tormentors, gobbling down the pain they cased and spitting it back out, now neutralized, through its broken alligator jaws,” he recalled. “I’d unknowingly learned another lesson from the bus-inspired fantasies of vanquishing my bullies. If you want to succeed, if you want to move forward, you first have to open your mouth.”

According to curator Katherine Ott, the items showcase LGBTQ history, activism and the “everyday experience of being queer.”

Other items on display include knives used to lobotomized gay men in the 1970s, a figure skating costume worn by gay Olympian Brian Boitano, shoes worn by trans tennis player Renée Richards and cosmetics used by film director and provocateur John Waters.

Volume 21
Issue 5

GUEST COMMENTARY: The past and future of 35 years in print

by Leo Cusimano
(Leo Cusimano is publisher and president of Dallas Voice and OUT North Texas. This commentary originally appeared in the May 10, 2019, issue of Dallas Voice.)

As we here at Dallas Voice celebrate our 35th anniversary, we are reflecting on our history and investing in the future of our community. One of the things I love the most about Dallas is that our community values the importance of preserving our history, honoring those who paved the way for us and learning from our past as we shape our future.

When Dallas Voice was founded 35 years ago, our community needed to be seen and heard. We needed
Leo Cusimano of Dallas Voice
a vehicle to put our words in print. We demanded to be counted, and we needed to be not just acknowledged as a community but to be treated fairly. For me, LGBT rights are all about one thing: Equality. Dallas Voice has played a vital role in telling the stories of our community, shaping our history and helping us create change as we fought for equality. And still today, as we continue fighting to be recognized as a community in Texas, Dallas Voice remains strong, committed and a vital part of this fight.

I remember when I moved here in 1991 as a young activist and picked up my first issue of Dallas Voice. I read every word, consuming the news of my community. The stories reflected a time when, as a community, we fought to keep our government from ignoring HIV/AIDS and ignoring our struggles for equality. I remember crying over the number of obits in the paper, but at the same time, turning the pages of the paper felt good in my hands. I remember seeing the organizational directory for the first time; seeing a full page of groups to join and meetings to attend was so exciting.

When my husband Tony and I moved to Dallas, we found a thriving, welcoming LGBT community. We come from families with strong traditions, so we looked for the history and traditions of our new community. We were impressed with the cohesive mix of men and women throughout the community, something that we had not experienced in other cities. Now, as fathers of two boys, it is important to us to establish stability through traditions, setting a foundation to help our family grow. At Dallas Voice, our tradition of telling your stories, providing in-depth, comprehensive news and entertaining features helped shape this community and created stability and pride. Recording our history helps define us as community.

Today the fight for equality continues, even in the LGBT press. I think about the many corporations that our community supports and holds in high regard, companies like Apple and Starbucks and Amazon that all have 100 percent scores in the HRC Corporate Equality Index. But they do not invest in LGBT media. In a time when accurate, informative news media is perhaps more important than ever before, it is vital that those supporting our community support our community media.

Dallas Voice is proud of the way we have evolved over the past 35 years — going from a weekly newspaper to an integrated media company. We continue to invest in our products, from print to social media to video. In January, we increased our circulation to address growing demands in surrounding areas. This elevates our readership in print to more than 28,000 every Friday, and our online readership continues to flourish. Our social media footprint has also grown to more than 34,000 friends, followers and fans. With the launch of our newly-designed website last year, we are seeing more readers turning to our website for comprehensive, in-depth local LGBT coverage.

We also take this time to honor the dedication and foresight of our founders, Robert Moore and Don Ritz, who were brave enough and dedicated enough to invest in our community 35 years ago. They established the core values and traditions that continue to guide us at Dallas Voice today. We also honor all the staff members who make this publication possible every week and those who have been a part of the Dallas Voice family over the years.

As our dedicated and passionate staff write the next chapter in the story of our community, I hope you, too, continue the tradition of picking up Dallas Voice every Friday and that you support the companies that DO invest in us as a community; continue reading the stories and seeing and hearing our voices. Thankfully, we do have fewer obituaries today, but the organizational directory is still an important part of our publication and a place for you to connect with our community.

Thank you for supporting Dallas Voice and valuing the importance of having a voice for our beloved LGBT community and … keep reading.

Volume 21
Issue 5

Thursday, July 25, 2019


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

ADELANTE, based in Los Angeles, entered its 23rd year of publication with its June 2019 issue.

CHARLES ALEXANDER, artist and longtime columnist for Livonia, Mich.-based BETWEEN THE LINES, suffered a stroke in late May 2019. He is recuperating.

TRACY BAIM, co-founder of Chicago’s WINDY CITY TIMES and currently publisher of the CHICAGO READER, was honored on May 22 for her 35 years in the LGBTQ press. The event was a fundraiser for Windy City Times.

DALLAS VOICE celebrated its 35th anniversary in its May 10, 2019, issue.

GAY CITY NEWS, based in New York City, was among the honorees at the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City’s annual event on May 23, 2019.

GET OUT, based in New York City, celebrated its 10th anniversary in its June 12, 2019, issue.

GED, also known as the GAY ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTORY and based in Long Beach, Calif., entered its seventh year of publication with its June 2019 issue.

Fay Jacobs
GRAB MAGAZINE, based in Chicago, celebrated its 10th anniversary in its June 25, 2019, issue.

FAY JACOBS, editor of Rehoboth Beach, Del.-based LETTERS FROM CAMP REHOBOTH, has been named one of THE ADVOCATE’s 2019 Champions of Pride.

NLGJA: THE ASSOCIATION OF LGBTQ JOURNALISTS announced the recipients of its 2019 EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM AWARDS. Winners from LGBTQ media include:
EVA BERLIN SYLVESTRE of GEORGIA VOICE for Excellence in Feature Writing, Non-Daily;
EMILY STARBUCK GERSON of INTO for Excellence in Long Form Journalism;
ADRIANA FRASER of PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS for Excellence in Newswriting, Non Daily;
MARK CHESTNUT of PASSPORT MAGAZINE for Excellence in Travel Writing;
MARK S. KING of POZ for Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing; and

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS won eight KEYSTONE PRESS AWARDS this year, sponsored by the PENNSYLVANIA NEWSMEDIA ASSOCIATION. The newspaper won top donors in the categories of investigative reporting, news, ongoing news coverage, news beat reporting, news photo, photo story/essay, and diversity, for Division V (weekly publications with a circulation over 10,000). Staffers honored included TIMOTHY CWIEK, SCOTTY DRAKE, JEN COLLETTA and KRISTEN DEMILLO.

QSALTLAKE, based in Salt Lake City, celebrated its 15th anniversary in its May 24, 2019, issue.

THE WASHINGTON BLADE was honored by the D.C. chapter of the SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS for reporting and opinion writing at its annual Dateline Awards competition. Senior reporter LOU CHIBBARO JR. won first place in the category of Non-Breaking News. International news editor MICHAEL K. LAVERS won first place in the Editorial/Opinion Writing category. He was also a finalist in the Non-Breaking News category. Features editor JOEY DIGUGLIELMO was named a finalist in the Features category.

WINDY CITY TIMES, based in Chicago, held its annual 30 Under 30 Awards on June 26, 2019. The awards are coordinated by managing editor MATT SIMONETTE.

Volume 21
Issue 4

Covering the first out gay prez candidate: Is it too much?

by Joe Siegel

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and the first openly gay man to run for president of the United States, has received widespread media coverage for his historic campaign. But are LGBTQ media outlets giving him preferential treatment just because he’s gay?

Andrew Davis, publisher of Chicago’s Windy City Times, believes Buttigieg’s status as a gay candidate justifies “additional coverage in an LGBT publication,” yet notes the paper’s coverage of Buttigieg has been objective.

The Windy City Times published a May 21 story about the homelessness problem in South Bend: "The mayor has not pushed for anything that we see to help the homeless problem here in the community," said John Shafer, who heads and co-founded the South Bend-based nonprofit Michiana Five for the Homeless. "If nothing else, he's aggravated the problem, and the city just continues to harass the homeless.”

Frank Pizzoli, editor of the Central Voice in Pennsylvania, believes the large amount of coverage of Buttigieg is justified.

“With 24 Democratic Party presidential candidates, our coverage reflects who’s at the top of the list,” Pizzoli said. “Buttigieg is performing well.”

Buttigieg’s support from members of the LGBTQ community has also been discussed in the paper’s reporting. In the most recent issue of the newspaper, Pizzoli ran an articled headlined “Would you vote for Buttigieg because he’s gay?” 

In that article, “Three local, openly gay individuals who are involved in politics and who’ve met Buttigieg through The Victory Fund — two are elected officials and one is a Democratic Party officer on both the state and county level — were asked if they’d vote for him because he’s gay,” Pizzoli said. “With their responses, we also ran what Buttigieg himself said about ‘identity politics,’ in an articled headlined, “Identity politics ‘doesn’t get us very far.’”

Tammye Nash, managing editor of the Dallas Voice, agrees that the large amount of Buttigieg coverage in the LGBTQ press is warranted. “Obviously, Buttigieg’s candidacy is an historic moment for our community, and he is going to get attention in the LGBTQ press, and I do think it is possible — even likely — that he does have a bit of an advantage when it comes to getting attention in the LGBTQ media simply because he is the first openly LGBTQ candidate for president to be even remotely viable. And I think he deserves extra coverage from LGBTQ media because of all the ‘firsts’ he has and will accomplish.”

Nash also doesn’t feel other candidates will be cheated out of coverage due to Buttigieg’s special status. “I think most of the editors and publishers in our community media are professional enough to give fair coverage to other candidates as well — at least, other viable candidates,” she said. “I think there will certainly be lots of outlets at least doing comparison pieces, seeing how the LGBT-friendly candidates stack up against the LGBT candidate on LGBT issues.”

“We are working on interviews and profiles of as many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as we can,” added Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff. “We have so far interviewed and profiled Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, and featured them both on the Blade cover. Buttigieg is getting more coverage in the Blade by virtue of being gay but not preferential treatment. We have not endorsed him and have covered some of the South Bend controversies that he's faced.”

Volume 21
Issue 4