Wednesday, May 22, 2019


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

BETWEEN THE LINES, based in Livonia, Mich., hosted publishers from the 12 largest LGBTQ newspapers in the U.S. when they met in Detroit April 10-11 for the annual meeting of the NATIONAL LGBTQ MEDIA ASSOCIATION.

THE FIGHT, based in Los Angeles, published issue #100 in May 2019.

GOLIATH ATLANTA announced that it will now be published quarterly, rather than monthly, stating with its Spring 2019 issue. ROBERT BROWN and TODD DAVIS of BROWN DAVIS ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIORS were also hired as co-editors of the magazine’s new Design & Living section.

LGBTQ NATION managing editor BILL BROWNING announced changes in May 2 in a letter to readers. Those changes include a newly designed site, making the site more mobile friendly, and an increase in the number of writers.

New PGN editor
Jess Bryant
THE MONTROSE STAR, based in Houston, entered its 10th year of publication with its April 3, 2019, issue.

PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS announced that JESS BRYANT is its new editor, replacing interim editor DENISE FUHS. Previously, she was managing/assistant editor of the GETTYSBURG REVIEW, a Pennsylvania-based literary journal.

SCHNEPS MEDIA, owner of New York City-based GAY CITY NEWS, won 27 awards for editorial, design and photographic excellence at the NEW YORK PRESS ASSOCIATION 2018 Better Newspaper Awards, announced in April 2019.

THE STAR OBSERVER, Australia’s oldest LGBTQ publication and a community-owned nonprofit, as entered voluntary administration, similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. The publication, founded in 1979, may be put up for sale.

Volume 21
Issue 2

Editors and publishers mark National Independent Bookstore Day

by Joe Siegel

April 27 was National Independent Bookstore Day. To mark the day, Philadelphia Gay News founder and publisher Mark Segal went to the bookstore now known as Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni's Room and posted about it on Facebook.

The relationship between LGBTQ media and independent bookstores has been seen as crucial over the years for generating sales for authors and providing readers access to print publications. And the closure of these booksellers has had an impact, according to editors of various publications.

“There isn’t great historical data on LGBT bookstores in the U.S., perhaps in part because these spaces were once, by design, underground,” according to a 2018 report, “What we lose when LGBT books become simply books,” on “But since their peak in the 1990s, with around 40 stores, according to Spectrum South, the numbers have fallen. Of the 13 LGBT bookstores listed on the Lambda Literary site, two have closed since the site was last updated in Feb. 2010. Of the early pioneering shops, Oscar Wilde Bookshop closed in 2009, followed the same year by Lambda Rising, and, soon after, by San Francisco’s A Different Light.”

PGN's Mark Segal
Independents have loyal customers and customers who like to be informed and read,” said PGN’s Segal. “When they disappear, part of our distribution disappears. But we do find new outlets, especially cafes where people are using the net, but still seem to prefer to pick up the print editions.”

“We have always delivered papers to these stores, and covered many authors as well,” added Tracy Baim, former editor of Chicago’s Windy City Times. “In Chicago, Women & Children First Bookstore has remained a critical bookstore for the entire community, and they are among the few surviving feminist bookstores in the nation. It does hurt communities, and distribution of free newspapers, when stores go out of business.”

In its heyday, A Different Light had four locations. The first opened in Los Angeles, followed by stores in San Francisco’s Castro district, West Hollywood, and New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Over the years, many LGBTQ authors made A Different Light part of their book signing tours. That list includes such notables as Quentin Crisp, Judy Grahn, Armistead Maupin, Christopher Isherwood, Paul Monette, William Burroughs and Edmund White.

“The closure of independent bookstores has affected the Bay Area Reporter,” noted news editor Cynthia Laird. “One, Books Inc., used to be a regular advertiser but stopped when they closed their Castro location. Years ago, some independent bookstores (A Different Light, Walt Whitman Books) did advertise. Both are long gone. The few remaining stores do not advertise.”

There were once five bookstores in the Castro. Today there is one.

Washington, D.C., lost popular LGBTQ bookstore Lambda Rising in 2010. It was in business for over 35 years. “We greatly miss Lambda Rising and other area bookstores that were pioneers in carrying not just the Blade but other resources for the LGBTQ community,” said Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff. 

Naff said the Blade is now being made available in alternative locations. “Despite the loss of many of those spaces, our distribution remains strong and we are available in many mainstream businesses that wouldn't have carried the Blade in the early years,” he said. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lambda Rising and the others for their fearless, pioneering spirit.”

Volume 21
Issue 2

Gay San Diego retains publisher after shuffle

by Fred Kuhr

Even after a shuffle of community newspaper ownership in San Diego, David Mannis remains publisher of Gay San Diego.

But that is the only newspaper left under the control of Mannis’ San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN).

General readership publications San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Downtown News, Mission Times Courier, La Mesa Courier and the since-shuttered Mission Valley News were bought by the San Diego Community Newspaper Group (SDCNG), led by Julie Main, who also happens to be Mannis’ ex-wife.

The deal was made official on April 1, 2019, according to reporting in Gay San Diego.

David Mannis
“Although I will miss being involved in the Uptown, Downtown, Navajo and La Mesa communities, I’m pleased to retain Gay San Diego and to provide this important platform for the LGBTQ community,” Mannis said. “I hope to build an even broader audience for this publication.”

As Main already publishes three other coastal California newspapers, she becomes the largest independent publisher in the region, a first for a woman.

“It’s a rewarding industry,” Main told Gay San Diego. “The most exciting thing about the community newspaper industry is everyone has a story. It’s very exciting to peel back the layers and find these treasures and share them with our readers. These people help shape the community.”

As Gay San Diego tells it, control of the newspapers has passed between Main and Mannis over the years. The former couple founded SDCNG together in the 1980s. Even after their divorce in 2002, they worked together on a number of community newspapers until Main took full control at the end of 2008.

Mannis decided to enter the newspaper industry again in 2009 and founded San Diego Uptown News. He later bought Downtown News from SDCNG and grew his newspaper network to six papers stretching across the county. After 40 years in the newspaper industry, he decided to enter semi-retirement, retaining control of one remaining SDCNN publication, Gay San Diego.

Volume 21
Issue 2

A changing Blade over 50 years

by Joe Siegel

The Washington Blade is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In its April 12 issue, the newspaper featured the many different logos the newspaper has used over the years.

What began in 1969 as a one-page, monthly newsletter compiled by volunteers and based in an activist’s apartment, now has 17 full-time employees and a sister newspaper in Los Angeles.The newsletter, known then as the Gay Blade, was published monthly. The 500 copies were distributed to the city’s gay bars.

Original editor Nancy Tucker left the Blade in 1973. Pat Price, who used the pseudonym Pat Kolar, took over as editor. It was also the first time in the Blade’s history that stories contained bylines, although nearly all of them were pseudonyms.

The Gay Blade officially changed its name to the Blade in November 1975 and the newspaper also became incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the mantle Blade Communications Inc.

The paper took the title of The Washington Blade in 1988.

"While the name has changed a few times in 50 years, the mission of delivering quality journalism for the LGBTQ market has always been the same,” said editor Kevin Naff.

The Blade was purchased by Window Media, a gay-owned media company, in May 200. Chris Crain, a co-founder of Window Media, became the Blade’s executive editor and William Waybourn its publisher.
The Blade re-incorporated as a for-profit, employee-owned business and changed its name officially to the Washington Blade.

In November 2009, Window Media’s parent company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; the Blade offices were shuttered. Just four days later, the Blade staff published the first issue of the DC Agenda, a weekly placeholder publication.

In the spring of 2010, business partners Naff, Lynne Brown, and Brian Pitts purchased the Blade’s assets from the bankruptcy court and re-launched the Washington Blade brand. The new parent company was Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia (BNPO).

In 2012, a new logo was unveiled. Blade appeared in a larger font with the word Washington streamed along the top. The words “America’s LGBTQ News Source” appeared below.

In 2017, BNPO launched the Los Angeles Blade, a sister publication headed by publisher Troy Masters, later adding veteran journalist Karen Ocamb as news editor.

Keeping the Blade fresh has been a top priority for Naff and his colleagues. The changes have been key to the paper’s survival in the midst of an evolving media landscape.

"My business partners and I have worked hard over the last 10 years to keep the Blade relevant by engaging with new technologies and diversifying our revenue streams,” Naff explained. “We have launched a sister paper in Los Angeles, created a non-profit entity, spun off a boutique marketing firm and created an events business, among other ventures. We, of course, still believe in the power of print, but now our advertisers have many new ways to work with us and to reach our growing audiences in print, online and mobile.”

Volume 21
Issue 2

Biden and de Blasio among Dems joining crowded field

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

Former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as the frontrunner in a crowded – and growing – Democratic presidential field. And Biden, 76, has already won the endorsement of LGBTQ activists.

Former VP Joe Biden
“From his support for inclusive hate crimes protections in the U.S. Senate to his leadership on marriage equality as vice president, Joe Biden has been a vocal champion of equality,” Sarah McBride, a transgender woman from Delaware who is a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, told the Washington Blade.

In 2012, Biden publicly endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples before then-President Obama. “Discrimination against anyone for their sexual orientation and gender is anathema to most basic values,” said Biden.

Another new contender is Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton. Moulton, 40, is an Iraq War veteran first elected in 2014. At the time, he won the endorsement of The Rainbow Times (TRT) of Boston for his support of LGBT rights.

At the forefront of many LGBT issues is the transgender community, who are fighting for equal protection under the law as it relates to gender identity,” Aaron Bartnick, Seth Moulton campaign spokesperson told TRT. “Seth is a firm supporter of transgender rights and will fight for the equality of all Americans in Congress.” Including transgender rights is in his agenda is one of the reasons TRT endorsed Moulton.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, 58, has also received praise for his support of LGBT rights. “He was there early on marriage equality, and has steered the city toward a completely flexible position on transgender folks changing their birth certificates — no requirements for affidavits from doctors or mental health practitioners and one can designate an X rather than a M or F on the certificate,” said Paul Schindler, editor of Gay City News. “He's also been very strong on bathroom access issues.”

But Schindler faults de Blasio for failing to take on bullying in the city’s schools: “I don't think [he] has shown particular leadership here.”

Another newly announced candidate, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, 54, supports same-sex marriage and lauded the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision which resulted in legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Bennet is also an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act.

"It's past time we ensure our laws are entirely free from discrimination and protect all members of the LGBTQ community," Bennet said."Fortunately, LGBTQ Coloradans already enjoy many of these protections. This bill will ensure that every American has the same protections and opportunities regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, 53, has also been a staunch advocate for LGBT rights. In 2016, Bullock signed an executive order that banned discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2013, Bullock signed into law a bill decriminalizing sodomy. “I am not going to speak too long because, frankly, the longer I talk, the longer this embarrassing and unconstitutional law stays on the books,” Bullock said during the signing ceremony. 

According to The Advocate, Bullock “wasn't always known as a red state hero for marriage equality. … In 2010, Bullock as attorney general of Montana filed a motion asking courts to dismiss a lawsuit led by seven same-sex couples who sought equal rights as opposite-sex married couples. The Montana constitution at the time defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Bullock argued the court does not have the authority to compel states to extend spousal benefits.”

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.

Volume 21
Issue 2

GUEST COMMENTARY: 300 and counting

by Michael Aaron
(Michael Aaron is the publisher and editor of QSaltLake Magazine based in Salt Lake City, Utah. A version of this editorial appeared in the magazine’s March 21, 2019, issue.)

We will put issue 300 out in May — the Guide to Utah Pride. Seems fitting that such a monumental achievement — 300 issues — is our most monumental issue of the year.

Our 15th birthday was at the end of April as well. Our first issue hit the streets April 29, 2004. I don’t even have to look that up to remember the date. It was a big day for me, for us, and I’d like to say the community.

On that day we rented two Kimpton Hotel Monaco presidential suites for a party that included the mayor, legislators, almost all of the 2News on-air team, leaders of almost every LGBT organization in the state, and a lot of wine drinkers as guests.

That day I was on NPR affiliate KCPW’s pledge drive for three hours with now-editor of The Salt Lake Tribune Jennifer Napier Pierce. I did a five-minute segment with Mary Nickles on KUTV News. I was on Fox 13 News, News 4 Utah, and KSL News. Yes, KSL. We had stories in The Tribune, Deseret News, the Provo Herald, and Ogden Standard-Examiner.

Michael Aaron
The past 15 years have had many highs and lows. To me, though, the lows were actually as good as the highs, like when we feared we were going down in 2012 when the economy, and many of our advertisers, hit hard times. Our community responded to our plea for help and helped keep us afloat as we retooled to become leaner and meaner.

As I’m not one very good at asking for help, it was a humbling and a heart-warming, experience as my friends, family and fellow community members showed me that they thought our work was important to them.

So, here we are 15 years later. While we aren’t dripping with cash, we are still here providing stories our community would not otherwise see.

We are asked often whether we think we are still necessary, since it seems to some that the movement for LGBT equality is done.

What? Were you asleep during this legislative session? Have you not heard of movements across the country and the globe trying to push back time? National organizations who support the “ex-gay” movement and conversion therapy flew to Salt Lake to testify against our community’s efforts to end the barbaric practice. And they won.

Anti-transgender feminists, known as TERF, around the world have a presence here in our state. Hell, a local anti-LGBT representative from Grantsville tried to make one’s gender immutable, thereby sending the trans movement back to the ‘50s.

But we are about more than just reporting the news of the equality movement. We are also a lifestyle magazine which brings entertainment, health, culture, and other items of interest specific to our community.

Like Ebony, La Galeria Magazine, Senior Times, Seventeen, Woman’s Day, and AARP Magazine that provide information and entertainment to their demographics, we are a peculiar people wanting our peculiar voice.

To another 15 years. Cher help me.

Volume 21
Issue 2

PRESSING QUESTIONS: The Unleashed Voice of Memphis, Tenn.

by Joe Siegel
Interview with Publisher and Editor in Chief Gwendolyn D. Clemons

Geographic Coverage Area: 36 U.S. cities ranging from Tennessee to California to Florida

Year founded: 2015

Staff Breakdown: 
Transgender Correspondent Renae Taylor
Atlanta Correspondent and HIV AIDS Specialist Writer Eddie Wiley
Washington, D.C., Correspondent Rayceen Pendarvis, HRH
Fashion Editor Rashandra Campbell-Clemons
Spirituality Writer Pastor Dr. Darnell Gooch, Jr.
Co-Founder and Writer Dr. Davin Clemons
New York Correspondent and Talent Search & LGBT Influencer Monick Monell
Program Manager Ravell Slayton

Key Demographics: Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi



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

Publisher and Editor in Chief Gwendolyn D. Clemons: We’ve been fortunate as a new publication to have landed some great interviews in each issue. Our critics thought we would fail because of our lack of celebrities on the cover. However, we are intentional about the stories we feature. I believe that is our distinction from other magazines.

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

Clemons: The name is synonymous with one of our mantras “unleashed.”  The word “unleashed” means to set in motion forcefully, and we added “voice” because we felt that it was time for the LGBTQ community to be heard. I came up with the name as an off-spin to our 501C3 nonprofit “Relationship Unleashed.” In 2014, we founded this organization to provide programming specifically tailored to address systemic problems in our community.  

PPQ: What challenge has The Unleashed Voice had to overcome since its inception?

Gwendolyn D. Clemons
Clemons: Our biggest challenges have been the lack of support from the Black heterosexual community when seeking to offer advertising services. The stigma of being labeled “a gay magazine” has hampered our ability to grow as fast as we would like. We live in the Deep South and having a “gay publication” floating around the city was not well received.

PPQ: What challenge or challenges is The Unleashed Voice facing now?

Clemons: Our challenge is staying current and ahead of the competition.  We are independently owned so everything is done in-house except printing. [Co-founder] Davin [Clemons] and I both work 9 to 5 jobs and operate our businesses as well. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but I am quickly reminded that this is exactly what I prayed for.

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

Clemons: I used to be involved with the creative process and we broke a lot of publishing rules. I rejected the restrictions of what a magazine could and could not do. None of us had any experience and everything was trial and error. We learned everything about this business while I was pursuing my MBA. I had to write a business plan so instead of wasting the research on a fictitious business, I wrote it on The Unleashed Voice Magazine.  

PPQ: What one change would you like to make? 

Clemons: I would like to have correspondents from all 50 states. I believe that print media is still valuable and that we can learn so much from each other through genuine story sharing. I love when each issue arrives from the printer. I get a rush from seeing the excitement of the person featured for the first time in a publication. I would change the reports that print media is dying and social media is the new way.  

PPQ: What has been the biggest news story or stories The Unleashed Voice has covered?

Clemons: Our biggest story was having Academy Award Winner Mo’Nique on the cover of our 2018 November-December Issue. This in my opinion changed the way a lot of individuals looked at our publication. The biggest question about this interview was, “How did you all get her?”  

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

Clemons:  Our first commitment is to our LGBTQ community, but we do not want to be one-dimensional in our stories. On a scale of 0-6, we rank a 4½.

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

Clemons: Yes, we see ourselves as activist journalists. We do not shy away from the tough questions or issues of the day. We pride ourselves on being unrestricted about what we want to write about or cover. We do not have to ask for permission from anyone.
PPQ: What's the most surprising feedback you've received from a reader?  

Clemons: I was surprised to find out that many in the LGBTQ community lacked general knowledge about gender identities and transgender issues.

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

Clemons: I would encourage them to properly secure at least two years of funding. Also, find a mentor to help with the publication business. Learn as much as you can about this field because it is more than pictures and articles. I had to learn paper weight, dimensions for ads. The print world had its own language, graphics designers have their own language. Learn how to use the color spectrums, practice how to properly conduct interviews, and develop a keen eye for detail. In addition, make sure you brush up on your grammar because editing is a whole business in itself. You most definitely will need an English scholar on your team.

Volume 21
Issue 2