Tuesday, January 22, 2019


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

AMBUSH, based in New Orleans, entered its 37th year of publication with its January 1, 2019, issue.

BAY AREA REPORTER, based in San Francisco, entered its 49th year of publication with its January 3, 2019, issue.

BAY WINDOWS, based in Boston, entered its 37th year of publication with its December 6, 2018, issue.

Patrick Colson-Price
BETWEEN THE LINES, based in Livonia, Mich., hosted a farewell party for COMMON LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE, one of the nation’s dwindling number of LGBTQ brick-and-mortar booksellers. The store was located in Ann Arbor until it closed December 15, 2018.

PATRICK COLSON-PRICE is the new editor of GEORGIA VOICE, based in Atlanta. Previously, he was a multimedia journalist at WRDW News in Augusta, Ga., and a reporter at WLEX News in Lexington, Ky.

TOBIAS GRACE, one of the founders and editor emeritus of Trenton, N.J.-based OUT IN JERSEY, passed away on January 6, 2019.

HOTSPOTS, based in Oakland Park, Fla., entered its 34th year of publication with its December 27, 2018, issue.

KGAY RADIO launched its new music format in Palm Springs, Calif., on December 26, 2018, by QCHELLA MEDIA CORPORATION. KGAY 106.5, “The Pride of the Valley,” is streamed worldwide on TUNEIN RADIO.

Barbara Kinney
BARBARA KINNEY, a prolific photographer and activist, is celebrating the release of “#STILL WITH HER: HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AND THE MOMENTS THAT SPARKED A MOVEMENT,” a coffee-table book of photographs she took during Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

LIVING OUT LI, based in Long Island, N.Y., celebrated the 25th anniversary of THE LGBT NETWORK, a network of community organizations that includes the newspaper.

JUDY MCGUIRE has been hired as a writer at ECHO MAGAZINE, based in Phoenix. Her work has appeared in publications such as SEATTLE WEEKLY and TIME.COM.

OUTCLIQUE, based in Wilton Manors, Fla., entered its third year of publication with its December 2018 issue.

OUTSPORTS, based in Los Angeles, named Olympic figure skater ADAM RIPPON as its Person of the Year 2018.

PEACH ATL, based in Atlanta, entered its third year of publication with its January 2, 2019, issue.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band held a joint 40th anniversary party on December 18, 2018.

CHRIS TARBOX marked one year as managing editor of LAVENDER, based in Edina, Minn.

TAG WARNER is the new CEO of London-based GAY TIMES. The 24-year-old has worked for the publication since March 2018 as a consultant. He replaces JAMES FROST, who bought the magazine in 2017 from previous owner MILLIVRES PROWLER.

WIRE MAGAZINE, based in Miami, announced that it is changing its publication schedule in 2019 to biweekly instead of weekly. The magazine will also launch a new website this month so that additional content can be published between print editions.

Volume 20
Issue 10

Presidential candidates have a record with LGBTQ media

by Joe Siegel
(This is the first in a planned series of interviews with local media professionals who have covered candidates as they announce their presidential candidacy.)

The 2020 presidential campaign already has a slew of contenders vying for the Democratic nomination. US Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harries of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have launched their candidacies, along with former San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julian Castro.

Much of a candidate’s past can be mined from LGBTQ media coverage in their home state or city, much as Chicago’s Windy City Times made national headlines in 2009 when the newspaper reported out the complete answers then-state senate candidate Obama gave in 1996 to a questionnaire from Outlines newspaper (which merged with Windy City Times in 2000). That survey showed that Obama supported marriage equality, even though he supported only civil unions for same-sex couples in 2009.

According to Paul Schindler, founding editor of New York City’s Gay City News, Gillibrand — New York’s junior senator since 2009 — has proven to be a staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights.

“Very early in her tenure she jumped into the fight against ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ in a very big way,” Schindler said. “She pressed then-Sen. Carl Levin (Michigan), the Armed Services chair, to hold a hearing early in 2010, before the Obama administration had signalled full willingness to try to get the repeal done that year.”

Gillibrand was quoted as saying, in one of the paper’s reports published in 2010, “We’ve lost more than 13,000 of our best and brightest to this unjust and discriminatory policy,” By repealing this policy, “we will increase America’s strength — both militarily and morally.”

Schindler added, “Beyond that, she has taken the full range of pro-equality positions. I remember one Human Rights Campaign dinner in New York City where she spoke movingly about a transgender youth she knew.”

As for Castro, who served as Mayor of San Antonio for five years and later served as President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a 2016 story in the Dallas Voice reported that under Castro’s tenure as mayor, “The city extended partner benefits to employees, appointed an LGBT liaison, and worked on various initiatives targeting homeless LGBT youth.”

Castro also proved to be supportive of LGBTQ rights as Housing Secretary: “In his capacity as secretary, Castro has winnowed out a number of disparities facing LGBT homeowners and renters. ‘We’re at the beginning of looking at what executive action we can take to extend protections to the LGBT community in the Fair Housing Act. This is something that could be very impactful,’ Castro said during his recent visit to the Metroplex.”

As for Harris, she won the support of the LGBTQ community in San Francisco when she announced her bid for US Senate.

According to a 2015 story by Matthew Bajko in the Bay Area Reporter: “‘She is a longtime champion of the LGBT community, as she is a longtime champion of universal human and civil rights. It is in her DNA,’ said gay state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). ‘I am ready and prepared to assist anyway I can.’”

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said Harris “is a stellar candidate and a huge champion for the LGBT community. Most importantly, a lot of people know she will be a very effective senator and also a very dynamic presence on the national stage. Kamala has a great combination of smarts and charisma."  

"Kamala Harris was at my side at City Hall in 2004 performing marriages long before she became [California] attorney general," said Leno, referring to when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to marry same-sex couples in early February of that year, unleashing a nearly decade-long fight for marriage equality in the Golden State, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

“At the time, Harris was newly sworn in to her role as the city's district attorney. Six years later she pledged not to defend the state's ban against same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, in federal court should she be elected attorney general,” Bajko reported.

Warren also has a strong record of support for LGBTQ equality. According to the Georgia Voice: “Warren has maintained a strong pro-LGBTQ legislative record throughout her term as senator. Warren has a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard because she has voted in favor of every LGBTQ rights reform since 2013, when she was elected.

In a letter for Pride Month 2017, Warren expressed her support of the LGBTQ community, saying, “Pride shows our country at its best: diverse, inclusive, united, and strong.”

In an endorsement for Warren for US Senate in 2012, Boston-based The Rainbow Times wrote, “Last March, she called on [Obama] to come out for same-sex marriage; and early on, Warren voiced support for the Democratic Party platform to endorse marriage equality. … Warren not only favors repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but also promises to champion gay rights in the Senate. Recently at the Boston HRC fundraiser and gala, she pledged to be a ‘loud voice,’ a true leader. … In fact, Warren takes us and our community’s issues seriously on a host of topics from marriage equality to employment non-discrimination to bullying and safe schools.”

Volume 20
Issue 10

Publications for lesbians and bi women stand up for trans people

by Fred Kuhr

Leaders from eight of the leading publications targeting lesbian and bisexual women have joined together to issue a statement in support of trans people.

The open letter was signed by Curve and LOTL publisher Silke Bader, DIVA Magazine editor Carrie Lyell, DIVA publisher Linda Riley, Autostraddle co-founder and editor in chief Riese Bernard, Curve editor Merryn Johns, Tagg Magazine editor in chief Eboné F. Bell, Lez Spread The Word founder and publisher Florence Gagnon, Dapper Q editor in chief Anita Dolce Vita, GO Magazine editor in chief Amy Lesser, GO co-managing editors Dayna Troisi and Corrine Werder, and GO senior writer Zara Barrie.

The statement, which was released last month, is entitled, “Not in our name.”

It states, “Following further vitriolic attacks on trans people in our media, the world’s leading publications for lesbians are coming together to send an unapologetic message of support and solidarity to the trans community. [We] believe that trans women are women and that trans people belong in our community. We do not think supporting trans women erases our lesbian identities; rather we are enriched by trans friends and lovers, parents, children, colleagues and siblings.”

They then went on to condemn writers and editors “who seek to foster division and hate within the LGBTQI community with trans misogynistic content, and who believe ‘lesbian' is an identity for them alone to define. We condemn male-owned media companies who profit from the traffic generated by these controversies.”

Carrie Lyell of DIVA
They also “strongly condemn the current narrative peddled by some feminists, painting trans people as bullies and aggressors – one which reinforces transphobia and which must be challenged so that feminism can move forward. We are really concerned about the message these so-called lesbian publications are sending to trans women and to young lesbians – including trans lesbians – and we want to make in clear this is not in our name.”

Lyell of London-based DIVA told Gay Star News, also based in the U.K., “I hope the LGBTQI community can move past these toxic ‘debates’ about what it means to be a woman or to be a lesbian and to actually get down to tackling the structures and systems that really hurts us. We can’t do that if we aren’t united.”

As Gay Star News points out, lesbian protesters halted the London Pride parade last summer, in part because they alleged some “younger, butch lesbians were rushing to identify as trans men instead of embracing their lesbian identities.” They also reportedly objected to trans women gaining access to female-only spaces. Subsequent reporting on this and the U.K.’s recent inquiry into altering gender recognition laws were seen as problematic.

In the open letter, the signatories state, “As the leading publications for queer women, we believe it is our responsibility to call out scaremongering conspiracy theories levelled at the trans community. … The sooner we stop focussing on what divides us and instead focus on our commonalities, the stronger we will be to confront the other injustices imposed on us. We won’t be divided.”

Volume 20
Issue 10

Hotspots Magazine sees green in going green

by Fred Kuhr

Glossy magazine Hotspots, based in Oakland Park, Fla., is making changes of its own in order to combat changes in the climate.

Publisher Peter Clark announced last month, “With so much news about climate change lately, we are stepping up and doing our part to contribute to a sustainable environment.”

As of its December 13, 2018, edition, Hotspots will no longer use the “harmful chemicals” that went into the publications production, “including the glossy cover and chemical binding. We can now boast that Hotspots uses only certified 100% biodegradable vegetable ink printed on 100% recycled paper.”

This is why, he says, the magazine “looks a little different” now. (Editor’s note: While the cover image is not quite as shiny and crisp as it used to be, the difference is negligible.)

But “not only is this good for our planet, it is also good for both readers and advertisers. We will continue to print a top quality, weekly LGBT publication without increasing prices in 2019,” calling it a “win-win combination.”

This and other changes are being made to coincide with the magazine’s 33rd anniversary.

In fact, after three decades in the same offices, Hotspots is moving to a new location in downtown Oakland Park’s new Arts and Culinary District. The new facility will feature an expanded Hotspots Live Studio, a state-of-the-art digital and social media center, a photo studio, a graphic design studio, a drop-in media sales center, and expanded meeting and conference facilities.

Renovations are continuing and the move will take place sometime in early 2019.

Volume 20
Issue 10

GUEST COMMENTARY: Print is dead, long live print

by Rick Claggett
(Rick Claggett is publisher of Watermark, based in Orlando, Fla. A slightly longer version of this editorial originally appeared in the November 29, 2018, issue of the newspaper.)

“Print is dead.” I’ve heard this for at least 10 years, and it is just as false a statement today as it was back then. The internet has made strides that some newspapers couldn’t survive, but dead? We’re still breathing and we are in good company.

Watermark's Rick Claggett
I was in college by the time the internet was taking off — thanks, Al Gore. Only a few students even had a personal computer. My roommate was one of them. He spent a lot of time in AOL chatrooms, dialing long distance to meet and talk to new people all over the world. I never really warmed up to that aspect of the internet. I never felt “internet cool.” Maybe it’s because I say things like “internet cool.” I always preferred meeting people face to face.

I do remember the first time I surfed the internet. I was at the computer lab, which was essentially just six computers lined up at the library, and everyone was abuzz with the things they were finding. One tennis-loving kid downloaded an image from the U.S. Open happening that day. After a four-minute download he gleefully exclaimed, “This was taken 10 minutes ago in New York!” In 1993, that was fast. Now this was the part of the internet I loved: information, knowledge and facts.

I get how appealing information on your phone is. It’s easy. You barely have to seek it out. I’m not sure how it started, but I get many, many notifications on my phone from WESH with a quick update on the latest local headlines and in seconds I feel informed. WESH is a legitimate news source, so I am confident that saying I feel informed means I am informed, of course I have to read the whole article and not just the headline to make that statement true.

Politics have obscured the internet’s ability to inform and educate. Feelings have worked their way into apparent news, void of facts at times. Anyone with a keyboard can create a blog, and in the vast landscape of the World Wide Web it becomes construed as news. This is why newspapers are important to me. This is why I’ve worked at a newspaper for 17 years and why I purchased Watermark in 2016.

Our goal is to inform, share knowledge and enhance communication in the LGBTQ community. We have two incredible, legitimate journalists on staff — Jeremy Williams and Ryan Williams-Jent — who work very hard to cover an increasing number of community organizations, events and breaking news to provide you with the facts. They work with a team of contributors who are equally as passionate about their roles in journalism.

We do allow space in our paper for opinions and those are reflected in our Viewpoint columns.

Watermark has a very active website and social media presence and we love being able to provide you our content in those platforms. In a sense, it is because of our ties to this community that we operate as if we were a nonprofit community organization. We donate over $300,000 worth of advertising annually to nonprofits and some small businesses in the form of sponsorships and trade. We do what we can to help support them. As I write this, it is Giving Tuesday and I hope our local LGBTQ organizations find the support they need from their community on this day.

Although Watermark is technically a for-profit corporation, there is a way for you to support us. When you need to make purchases, make sure you are doing it with a company that reaches out to you. Make purchases with Watermark advertisers. You can find them in a physical copy of the newspaper on newsstands or a flip-through version of the newspaper on our website. These businesses support you by supporting us — and you can support us by supporting them. It’s important for us to stick together in today’s political climate. Together we can keep spreading information, knowledge and truth.

Volume 20
Issue 10

PRESSING QUESTIONS: The Rage Monthly of San Diego

Interview with Editor in Chief Joel Martens
by Joe Siegel

Geographic coverage area: The larger Southern California area with three separate magazines that speak to each of the following regions: San Diego County, Orange & Los Angeles Counties, and the Greater Palm Springs region

Year founded: 2007; currently the longest-serving LGBTQ publication in Southern California

Staff size and breakdown: (writers, editors): Publisher/OwnerJay Jones, Editor in Chief Joel Martens, Creative Director Cesar Reyes, Associate Publisher Brad Hart, Copy Editor Bill Biss, Intern Korie Houston

Key demographics: Readership consists of those living in, or visiting, the metropolitan areas of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties; over 320 distribution points throughout the region, with a monthly readership that now exceeds 60,000 in print alone; online presence via website reaches an average 48,000 unique visitors per month, with 20 percent of that group paging through the full online version of the magazine as well (9,600 average per month); target market includes educated, affluent professionals between the ages of 21 to 65 (66 percent of readers are between 25-65 and 55 percent between 35 and 54)


PPQ: What feature or features of The Rage Monthly have been the most popular with readers?

Editor in Chief Joel Martens: That’s a hard thing to pin down over the course of 11 years. Our profiles of LGBTQ community movers and shakers in the SoCal region are always a popular read. After that, probably our high-profile interviews with people such as Adam Rippon, Meryl Streep,  Lea Delaria, Wanda Sykes, Dustin Lance Black, Lady Gaga, George Takei, Colin Firth, Amistead Maupin and Shirley MacLaine, to name just a few.  
PPQ: Who came up with the name and what is the inspiration for it?

Martens: Jay Jones, the publisher, came up with the name:
R – Real
A – Art
G – Gay 
E – Entertainment

PPQ: What challenge has The Rage Monthly had to overcome since its inception?

Martens: Keeping up with the changing demographics of our audience and how they acquire information. The advent of online media has radically changed how data is picked up and the length of attention readers have for said information. It’s interesting to note though that in recent years, there has definitely been a return in the popularity of print media. This is especially true for the arts and community stories we do.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is The Rage Monthly facing now?

Martens: Along with the changes to how information is acquired came a change in how advertisers reach out to those who they wish to connect with. The push to internet/online advertising was and continues to be a challenge, but as with readership, we have definitely seen a return to the popularity of print advertising in recent years.

PPQ: What one change would you like to make?

Martens: We just introduced our third edition in Palm Springs; growing that market is our best and biggest goal for 2019. An ongoing, continuous goal is to always increase our reach, representing and giving voice to the entirety of the broader LGBTQ community.

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories The Rage Monthly has covered?

Joel Martens of The Rage Monthly
Martens: Again, there are so many to choose from. Probably the current political climate and its effects on the LGBTQ community. We did a story in which we posed the exact same questions to the CEOs from the five major LGBTQ centers in SoCal: Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, Executive Director for the LGBT Center of Long Beach Porter Gilberg, Executive Director for San Diego’s LGBT Community Center Dr. Delores Jacobs, Executive Director for the North County LGBTQ Resource Center Max Disposti, and The LGBT Community Center of the Desert CEO Mike Thompson. 

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

Martens: 6 – We are totally gay!

PPQ: Do you see yourselves as “activist journalists”? If so, in what way?

Martens: Absolutely. Giving voice to the LGBTQ community is our raison d'etre and our method is to do so by illustrating the community’s many successes. When you consider the massive challenges and great changes that have occurred over the course of the last 10 to 15 years: marriage equality, the defeat of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the increased overall exposure the LGBTQ community has experienced socially, it’s pretty remarkable, especially in the face of the challenges being launched by the current administration.

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

Martens: That we aren’t “gay” enough. My personal favorite is that our covers are too “sexy.” Admittedly, we show skin from the torso up, but we are very selective about how much is revealed.

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

Martens: Be prepared to work hard! Reach out, build connections, know your market intimately and participate in it. Never take for granted how important integrity is. And fact check diligently.

(If your publication has never been featured in PRESSING QUESTIONS, and you'd like it to be, email editor Fred Kuhr at editor@pressassq.com)

Volume 20
Issue 10