Wednesday, September 16, 2020

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

BAY WINDOWS, based in Boston, entered its 38th year of publication with its July 30, 2020, issue.


THE CENTRAL VOICE, based in Middletown, Penn., received five awards as part of the 2020 PROFESSIONAL KEYSTONE MEDIA AWARD program sponsored by the PENNSYLVANIA NEWSMEDIA ASSOCIATION. The newspaper, the only LGBTQ bimonthly in the central part of the state, won one first-place and four second-place awards in its niche publications division. The first-place prize was in the category of diversity. The second-place awards were for news beat reporting, columns, lifestyle/entertainment beat and graphic/photo illustration.


Chris Johnson

CHRIS JOHNSON, White House reporter for the WASHINGTON BLADE, won the GLAAD MEDIA AWARD for Outstanding Newspaper Article. He won for “Military reports no discharges under trans ban, but advocates have doubts.” His competition included nominees from the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, LOS ANGELES TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS. PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS founder and publisher MARK SEGAL and the LOS ANGELES BLADE’s KAREN OCAMB also won special recognition awards from GLAAD.


GOGUIDE, based in Iowa City, will begin its fifth year of publication with its September 2020 “Back to Campus” issue. This marks its first issue this year to appear in both print and digital formats. The issue also features two new columnists, former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party TROY PRICE and Des Moines area activist ERICA BARZ.


LGBT HISTORY MONTH, produced by THE EQUALITY FORUM, has unveiled its 2020 icons for this October. They include actor DIVINE, political activist DAVID MIXNER, Chicago Mayor LORI LIGHTFOOT and SNL cast member KATE MCKINNON. Free materials are available for media outlets to highlight all 31 icons, one for each day of the month, at LGBTHISTORYMONTH.COM.


METROSOURCE, based in Long Beach, Calif., celebrated its 30th anniversary in its August/September 2020 issue.

Karen Ocamb


NLGJA: THE ASSOCIATION OF LGBTQ JOURNALISTS has posted the agenda for its 30th annual convention — an online event for the first time this year — https://nlgja.pathable.co/agenda. The virtual event will be held October 23-25, 2020.


KAREN OCAMB, longtime LGBTQ journalist most recently with the LOS ANGELES BLADE, has decided to take a break from journalism to work on the YES ON PROP 21 campaign, the Rental Affordability Act initiative on the November ballot in California funded by the AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION and a coalition of economic justice and renters rights groups.


TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

Volume 22

Issue 6

Election coverage ramps up in final stretch

by Joe Siegel

LGBTQ publications have been providing comprehensive coverage of the presidential election, which has been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter (BAR), for one, provided online coverage of both the Democratic and Republican conventions. News Editor Cynthia Laird said each week’s issue included an advance piece, including some of the LGBTQ aspects of the events.


For the Democrats, BAR covered every night of the convention and got stories online shortly after the sessions ended.


“Reporter John Ferrannini talked to some delegates and included that in his overall coverage,” Laird said. “He also highlighted LGBTQ speakers, such as U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.”

For the GOP confab, however, BAR skipped the first two nights, Laird noted. “Even before the convention started, Richard Grenell,” an openly gay former diplomate and Trump cabinet member, “put out a misleading video and I determined it wasn't worth it to have to constantly fact-check the speakers. We did cover Grenell's convention speech that Wednesday, though it was misleading, fact-checked, and he didn't even mention his sexual orientation. Mr. Ferrannini did include his interviews with some gay GOP delegates and Log Cabin officials in that article.”


BAR then covered Trump's “misleading” speech and included fact checks, Laird said, noting the newspaper will cover the presidential and vice presidential debates.

“In terms of coverage on Election Night, we will probably post something online and have something in that week's paper, though I doubt we will know results and suspect it will be a drawn out contest,” said Laird.


Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) also provided features on the Democratic and Republican conventions.


“For the DNC we focused on the LGBTQ Caucus and the keynote speech as our local state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta was one of the speakers at both,” said Interim Editor Jason Villemez. “We also focused on Tammy Baldwin, Pete Buttigieg, (transgender member of the Virginia House of Delegates) Danica Roem and the two nominees.”


For the RNC, PGN focused mostly on President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — due to his anti-LGBTQ actions at the State Department — and Richard Grenell, Villemez said. “I also wrote editorials on the DNC and the RNC, and (Publisher) Mark (Segal) wrote his Mark My Words columns on the conventions as well.”


PGN plans to cover the election as in past years, with a focus on LGBTQ issues and local/regional candidates, as well as features on the presidential candidates and summaries of the debates. Villemez said the newspaper will continue to write about the election in editorials and Mark My Words columns.


“For both the DNC and the RNC, our coverage was limited to end-of-convention wrap-up stories focused on LGBTQ issues and people,” said Tammye Nash, managing editor of the Dallas Voice. “We used stories supplied to us by freelancer Lisa Keen. Lisa had ongoing coverage throughout both conventions that were available to us to use. But because of the pandemic we, like many other smaller media outlets, are doing our best to keep up the quality and the quantity of our content, only with fewer and fewer resources. That includes cutting down on the amount of freelance content we can pay for.”


For the November 3 general election, the Dallas Voice will be spreading out their coverage by running profiles on Texas LGBTQ candidates weekly leading up to Election Day and will be blogging about candidates and issues.


“On Election Day, we will be blogging results as they come in,” Nash said. “We have our list of local, state and federal level races that are important/high profile to the LGBTQ community, and we will do our best on Election Day and in the days after to report on those races in as much depth as possible, online and in print.”


The Washington Blade covered the LGBTQ highlights from the major speeches, including by Pete Buttigieg. “We also profiled and interviewed Jason Rae, the first openly gay secretary (of the DNC), and Joe Solmonese, who served as CEO of the convention,” said Editor Kevin Naff. “We surveyed openly LGBTQ delegates about their hopes for the party, beyond defeating Trump. There were a record 635 out LGBTQ delegates this year. We examined the platform, which was groundbreaking in its inclusion of non-binary people.” 


For the RNC, the Blade chronicled the party platform, which was unchanged from 2016, then abandoned entirely. “We covered Rick Grenell's speech, contrasting it with the previous two out gay RNC speakers, (former Arizona Congressman) Jim Kolbe and Peter Thiel,” the openly gay founder of PayPal.


Naff said in addition to regular news coverage and op-eds, the Blade will be hosting a series of weekly Facebook Live election events in October counting down to the big day.


“Our events group is finally starting to be able to host some in-person events again,” Naff added. “We have an upcoming event with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) addressing a live crowd of LGBTQ voters.”


TOP STORY

Volume 22

Issue 6

Chicago’s venerable Windy City Times ends print edition after 35 years

by Fred Kuhr

Windy City Times, Chicago's only remaining LGBTQ newspaper, is moving to a digital-only format starting in October. The September 30, 2020, edition, which marks the paper's 35th anniversary, will be its last regular free-standing print issue.


The website windycitytimes.com will continue to be updated. “But the free-standing, regular biweekly print editions of WCT will end,” co-founder and longtime publisher Tracy Baim told readers and supporters in a message on Facebook.


Tracy Baim

“I co-founded Windy City Times in 1985, when I was just 22 years old. I was managing editor of GayLife newspaper at the time, and a bunch of us left to start WCT,” wrote Baim. “… While I am very sad, and have shed many tears over this decision, our small and mighty team at WCT decided the economics could not stand. I have mortgaged my house, have worked for low wages for decades, and asked others to sacrifice as well to keep the paper going. Friends and readers have donated, advertisers have stepped up, and our delivery drivers have done their work through hail, blizzards, scorching heat and more.”


Windy City Times was founded in September 1985 by Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish and Baim, who was the managing editor. In 1987 she left to found Outlines newspaper. Over the years, Outlines also launched Nightlines, BLACKlines, En La Vida and other LGBTQ media. In 2000, Baim purchased Windy City Times back from McCourt and she became publisher.


Baim accepted the position of publisher of the Chicago Reader, that city’s mainstream weekly alternative newspaper, in 2018. “I am lucky I still get to do this work in community media today, as publisher of the Reader, and have been fortunate to keep WCT going in print for as long as we have. I don’t regret the financial sacrifice at all, because I got to do what I love this long. And the website will continue.”


Baim said WCT staff will mostly be on furlough after October. She also asked for donations to help retire WCT’s debt and pay staff through the end of the year. “We will look to re-tool and pivot to digital with additional revenue streams, and hopefully partner with a larger media company,” said Baim


Windy City Times, which is among only about two dozen weekly or biweekly LGBTQ newspapers left in the U.S., has tried to hold on to print during the decline in advertising and support of newspapers in recent years, but COVID-19 and its impact on the paper's core entertainment advertisers meant continuing a print paper was not tenable. The Windy City Times' digital footprint includes an average of 125,000 unique monthly visitors to its website, plus nearly 40,000 followers on social media.


As part of its 35th anniversary, the September 30 final print edition will be a special collector’s edition with a look back at 35 years, said Baim. Windy City Times will also be putting out a book of covers of WCT and its related LGBTQ newspapers. Windy City Times will be inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in October.


Donations are being accepted at http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/donate.php.


IN THE NEWS

Volume 22

Issue 6

LGBTQ publications help beat back ad tax in DC

by Fred Kuhr

Two Washington, D.C., publications targeting the LGBTQ community lobbied against the city’s proposed advertising tax, resulting in its city council reversing course.


The Washington Blade and Tagg Magazine, which focuses on lesbians of color, along with the Washington Informer, one of the city’s two African-American newspapers, came out swinging against a proposed three percent sales tax on advertising.


“As local business owners, we understand as well as anyone the grave impact coronavirus is having on commerce and tax revenues and the need for the city to find new sources of revenue," the Blade and Tagg said in a joint statement."

“But this misguided measure will only further damage the local economy by taxing businesses that are already strained,” the statement continued. “An additional three percent tax on our primary source of revenue will force some outlets to lay off additional staff and others to shutter entirely.”


The statement also noted how the tax would particularly hurt media outlets that target underrepresented communities. “Our businesses are already stressed to the limit. All of our arts and entertainment related advertising has disappeared overnight in the aftermath of coronavirus restrictions. Forcing us to pass along a three percent rate increase at this vulnerable time will lead to further advertising cancellations.”


An editorial in the Informer stated, “The term ‘Black Lives Matter’ applies to the Black Press that has never received its fair share of ad revenue comparable to what Black consumers spend. The last thing we need now is a tax that will diminish what few dollars we rely on to stay alive.”


The editorial also said the ad tax would have a detrimental impact on media organizations that are “holding on by a thread.”


D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson disagreed, telling the Blade, “I recognize that businesses fear that a sales tax will depress revenues. I think that effect is overstated. And I recall a couple of years ago health clubs were furious when we expanded the sales tax to include health club memberships. They made it clear in no uncertain terms that they were going to lose customers and close outlets in the District. And the exact opposite happened.”


The tax received initial approval from D.C. Council on July 7 and a final vote on the budget was scheduled for later that month.


On July 23, D.C. Council unanimously gave final approval to a $16.8 billion budget, but the proposed advertising tax was not included. Mendelson ended up abandoning the proposal “in the face of opposition from business groups and local media outlets that would be affected,” as reported by the Washington Post, which also opposed the measure.


IN THE NEWS
Volume 22

Issue 6

Connecticut finds its Voice with new publication

by Joe Siegel

Connecticut Voice has been serving the Constitution State’s LGBTQ community for over a year and is thriving despite the coronavirus pandemic.


“We have covered a full variety of topics from Health and Wellness, challenges of LGTBQ youth, the homelessness crisis, milestones in transitioning, history, dating, trends, religious and spiritual leaders devoted to openness and inclusion, families, political candidates in our state and so many more,” said Jim Tully, who is both owner and publisher. “We have fantastic articles on arts, food, interesting op-eds, celebrity and the importance pets play in all our lives. These just touch part of what we have done and what we will do in the future.”

Tully launched the publication late in 2018. The first edition was published in March 2019. 


“I have a fantastic and diversified board of advisors and after only two or three suggestions for a name, Connecticut Voice was offered and it was a no-brainer,” Tully said. “It has such a specific and general meaning all at the same time. And it is Connecticut's voice.” 


“I strongly believe that the little things matter,” Tully continued, “simple things like fact checking, proofing, layout specifics that many publications have cut to save money. Connecticut Voice writes everything you see in the magazine. Quality breeds quality. Our readers and advertising partners recognize our attention to detail.”


Readers have responded favorably.


“We have received great feedback with phrases like, "It's about time,” for Connecticut to have its own LGBTQ publication,” Tully said. “Many of our readers tell us that they have every issue of Connecticut Voice on the coffee table. What an incredible compliment! We are also open to all ideas and always respond. We do not pretend to have all the answers. But my editors and writers know one rule — everything starts with the story.”


Tully notes the pandemic “has affected our timetables somewhat and certainly accessibility for some story subjects. But we can still utilize the technology at hand like Zoom or other methods for our stories although we strongly prefer in-person.” 


Tully is proud of the publication’s multi-platform approach with its dedication to new content weekly on their social platforms as well as the television show Connecticut Voice Out Loud that now airs on WTNH in New Haven.


IN THE NEWS
Volume 22

Issue 6

Commentary: Words matter at “family-run” newspaper

by Mark Segal
(Mark Segal is the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. This column originally appeared in PGN. It is reprinted here with permission.)

Words are important, and over time they take on a meaning of their own. Take, for example, “One man, one woman,” or “religious freedom,” or “family-friendly.” How do those words make you feel? Do they put a knot in your stomach, or simply make you feel not welcomed or excluded?

Mark Segal (right) with husband Jason

That last one, “family-friendly,” often makes me wonder, does it mean that a family must be one man and one woman? That term to me always seemed to come with the subtext: LGBT people need not apply.

Maybe I’m too sensitive? What business is not family-friendly? Who doesn’t like families? We all come from families, and every family is different.


Those coded terms harken back to a time when we weren’t allowed by law to have a spouse, children, or be a legal family. We were not deemed family-friendly. LGBT did not equal family in the eyes of those in power.


There’s also another way to look at terms like that, and how our community has been excluded. Consider the phrase “family-run business.” That now has new meaning for many of us in business today, especially during this pandemic.


If you run a business and your spouse is helping you, that makes it a family-run business. When marriage was still illegal, that term, like the others, ostracized our community. We weren’t allowed to have families recognized by the law, and therefore we weren’t allowed to have family-run businesses.


Years ago, when Philadelphia Gay News joined the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association, I was told at my first meeting that Pennsylvania was proud to have the largest number of family-run newspapers in America. I somehow felt left out. But, a couple decades later…


During this time of lockdown, my husband Jason has been helping me run this newspaper. So I guess, after all these years, I can finally say that yes, PGN is also a family-run newspaper as well!


GUEST COMMENTARY

Volume 22

Issue 6

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

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

BALTIMORE OUTLOUD entered its 28th year of publication with its June 5, 2020, issue.


BAY WINDOWS, based in Boston, entered its 38th year of publication with its July 30, 2020, issue.


DAVID CARTER, historian and activist who authored 2004’s seminal “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution,” died May 1, 2020, in his Manhattan home of a likely heart attack. He was 67.


ERIC FERRERO has been appointed executive director of the FUND FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, based in Washington, D.C. He previously worked at the Open Society Foundations, Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union.

RICK KARLIN, a native Chicagoan who moved to Fort Lauderdale with husband and fellow journalist GREGG SHAPIRO, has published his autobiography, “Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volatile LGBTQ Press,” which chronicles his time working in that city’s LGBTQ media, including GAYLIFE, GAY CHICAGO MAGAZINE, NIGHTLINES, CHICAGO FREE PRESS, CHICAGO PRIDE and BOI MAGAZINE.


JIM PROVENZANO, an editor at San Francisco’s BAY AREA REPORTER and a LAMBDA LITERARY award-winning author, has written his seventh novel, “Finding Tulsa,” which will be published in September 2020 by PALM DRIVE PUBLISHING.


QLIFE, based in Las Vegas, announced that after 10 months without a print edition, it will continue to publish again with a new look and a redesigned website with a national focus. The publication also announced new “elastic advertising,” giving businesses more flexibility in advertising choices.


SEATTLE GAY NEWS has launched a GOFUNDME campaign to help cover operating expenses in light of

the coronavirus lockdown and the subsequent loss in advertising revenue. The campaign can be accessed at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/seattle-gay-news-needs-your-support-now


SEAN STRUB, founder of POZ MAGAZINE, is the subject of the new documentary “My Friend, The Mayor: Small-Town Politics in the Age of Trump,” now available on Amazon Prime. The documentary from Dutch journalist and filmmaker MAX WESTERMAN focuses on Strub’s for mayor of a small county seat in Pennsylvania.


JEREMY WILLIAMS has been promoted to the role of editor in chief at Orlando, Fla.-based WATERMARK. Previously, he served as the newspaper’s central Florida bureau chief. He takes the reins from publisher Rick Claggett, who had been serving as acting editor.


TRANSITIONS AND MILESTONES

Volume 22

Issue 5

Publications catering to travellers impacted by lack of travel during lockdown

by Joe Siegel

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the travel industry in the over the past five months. For LGBTQ publications that focus heavily on travel and leisure, the impact has been dramatic.


Florida, including gay tourism hotspots like Key West and South Beach, has been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with over 500,000 cases statewide.


Throughout the Florida Keys, officials are requiring facial coverings to be worn by everyone in business establishments and other public settings. Facial coverings are also required to be worn outdoors in the Florida Keys when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. In Key West, masks are required everywhere outside a residence, regardless of whether social distancing is maintained.

“We continued to publish every month,” Chamberlain said. “I felt it was important to keep up some normality during the heart of it, plus it made sure my contributors had some sort of income coming in.”

Despite that, “We are a much leaner magazine than we were before this started (regarding page count), but some advertisers [have] returned,” Chamberlain added. “I offer my advertisers a ‘rate for life’ guarantee, meaning that their rates will never increase as long as they continually advertise. For the pandemic, I did allow people to suspend their advertising without risk to their rates. A few people did take advantage of that. Those that advertised all along will be getting a free month in an upcoming issue as a thank-you.”


Despite the setbacks, Chamberlain remains optimistic about the future. “We are slowly building back up and I'm confident that we will be back to the old levels of advertising, hopefully by the end of the year.”


HotSpots, based in Fort Lauderdale suburb Oakland Park, Fla., returned to publishing its print edition on June 18, after three months of being online-only due to the pandemic. 


“We made a conscious decision to go digital only as many businesses were closed and our distribution network was limited to just outdoor boxes,” according to publisher Peter Clark. But since many of the publication’s advertisers have reopened, “We will start by printing a monthly edition.” The weekly edition will continue to be published online.


Connextions Magazine, which bills itself as “The Travel Magazine for the LGBTQ community,” has had to cut back on content simply because its writers have not been able to travel due to coronavirus restrictions, said Manny Velasquez-Paredes, editor in chief of the Long Island, N.Y.-based publication.


“In addition, people are not in the frame of mind to want to read much about traveling because we can't do it and not sure when we will,” Velasquez-Paredes added. “However, as trailblazers, the LGBTQ community usually are the first ones who will try something new, therefore, we will be traveling before the rest of the world.”


Virtual Connextions is the publication’s talk show and podcast, where the editorial staff sits down with visitor and convention bureaus, tourism boards, and LGBTQ publicists to discuss their locations and venues. That has been able to flourish during the lockdown.


“They're fun short videos and they have been received very well. I do believe people are looking for distractions. So our videos are a way to escape our current reality,” Velasquez-Paredes said. “Luckily for us, as a digital magazine, we quickly switched to Virtual Connextions, which allowed us to revisit places in a virtual setting.”


Arts and lifestyle publications have been impacted as well. “Everything you can imagine has happened,” said Jay Jones, publisher of Rage Monthly in San Diego. “However, we are now publishing the monthly editions online until businesses and theater and entertainment venues reopen.”


Mikkel Hyldebrandt, editorial director of Goliath Atlanta, admitted that publishing a lifestyle magazine “in the midst of all this may seem unfitting.” But, as he wrote in its Summer 2020 issue, “there are three main reasons for why we should publish, and why it is crucial right now.”


First of all, he wrote, “at the onset of the pandemic, we weren’t even sure if we would be able to put this publication together for you. … But with federal and relief systems in place and a community that has bounced back in an effort to resume business in a new normal, I am grateful that Goliath continues to publish with no interruption to our editorial calendar.”


Secondly, “Goliath provides an appreciated perspective on the world we inhabit,” wrote Hyldebrandt. And thirdly, such lifestyle publications “offer you  a much-needed mental break from the weight of the world.


TOP STORY
Volume 22

Issue 5

NLGJA convention will be virtual for first time

by Joe Siegel

The 2020 convention of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists will be held virtually due to the restrictions around the novel coronavirus pandemic. This will be the group’s first virtual gathering in its 30-year history.


This year’s event, which will run a little later in the year than usual (October 23-25), will not be too different from past conventions, according to Adam Pawlus, the group’s executive director.


“Hosting an entirely online convention allows us to reach people who may have otherwise been unable to come to the convention, and we have aimed to make it as affordable as possible,” Pawlus said.


“We will offer more than 30 breakout sessions and several plenary sessions throughout the weekend, which

NLGJA's Adam Pawlus

will offer attendees skill-building opportunities and a chance to learn more about a variety of topics,” Pawlus added. “A full agenda will be announced soon. We encourage all of our attendees to take full advantage of the opportunities presented with the online platform.”


Pawlus said there will be “a variety of structured networking opportunities each day, but the online platform allows attendees to connect directly with other attendees, as well as our sponsors and exhibitors throughout the weekend.”


This year's sponsors will include Comcast NBCUniversal, CBS News, Knight Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Democracy Fund and Prudential Financial.


Last year’s convention, which was held in Chicago, attracted 400 people.


In anticipation of this year’s convention, this month NLGJA announced its 2020 scholarship award recipients.


Ogonna Ononye is the recipient of the 2020 Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award. Ononye is a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art studying graphic design. She plans to pursue a career in multimedia journalism and visual communication design.


Leo Baudhuin is the recipient of the 2020 Steve Mason Sports Media Scholarship Award. They are a sophomore at the University of Oregon. They have been covering their hometown women's professional soccer team, the Portland Thorns, and the NWSL for the past two summers, and they hope to continue to do so going forward.


The recipients of the 2020 Facebook Journalism Project Scholarship Awards are Katie Anastas, Jacob deCastro, Olivia Muse, Laura Scudder and Irene Vázquez. Anastas is a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism, deCastro is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, Muse is a graduate student at the Columbia University School of Journalism studying journalism with a concentration in documentary filmmaking, Scudder is a third-year student at George Mason University studying communications, and Vázquez is a senior at Yale University studying Ethnicity, Race, and Migration as well as English.


Registration is available to members for $150, and available to non-members for $250. Students who are members receive a complimentary registration, and students who are not members are able to register for $25. There are also some discounts available to members who may be experiencing financial hardship. Additional registration info can be found at www.nlgja.org/2020/registration


IN THE NEWS
Volume 22

Issue 5

Seattle Gay News pays tribute to longtime leader George Bakan

by Fred Kuhr

George Bakan was the longtime publisher of Seattle Gay News (SGN). But he was also described as an activist, civil rights leader and pioneer, pillar of the community, father, mentor and friend. In fact, he was such a giant in Seattle’s LGBTQ community that SGN dedicated two issues to memorializing the man who had led the publication since 1983.


As has been reported, Bakan died at his desk on a Sunday evening — June 7, 2020 — while working on the newspaper. He was 78 year old.


The newspaper’s June 12, 2020, issue featured a front-page banner stating “In Memory of George Bakan,” with a large photo from 2011 at a local bar as he celebrated the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, giving a thumbs-up with a huge grin on his face.


Photographer Nate Gowdy noted, “I’d hopped onto the bar for an angle of the jubilant crowd in the room, only to realize the happiness on George’s face said it all.”


Also on the front page was a tribute by Sara Toce, publisher of The Seattle Lesbian, another publication in the city. “A pioneer in the LGBTQ+, HIV and AIDS communities, Bakan was beloved by many who were influenced by his natural wit and personality” Toce wrote.


The issue also included tributes from Justin Carder of Capitol Hill Seattle, the Greater Seattle Business Association and the Seattle Collegian.


SGN’s June 26 issue, also its Pride issue, ran a front-page banner “Remembering George” along with a photo of a painting of a young Bakan entitled, “Portrait of the Activist as a Young Man,” by Virginia Newman. The portrait shows him — Rudolph George Bakan — at age 18 in 1959.


In this issue, more tributes were printed, including one from Gaysha Starr Olympia 29, The Empress of Good Fortune and the First Asian Pacific Islander Empress of Seattle. “George, to all of us in Washington’s LGBTQIA community, was our father. Even if you didn’t know him, you benefited from his lifelong commitment to activism. Whenever I would introduce him on stage or acknowledge him from the audience, I would credit him as ‘The Grandpapa of Capitol Hill’ and the crowd would cheer.”


The issue is filled with 10 pages of more tributes from friends and colleagues, and many more photos of Bakan. More than a few of the “tributes and eulogies … via Facebook” that were reprinted in the newspaper included the words “Rest In Power.”


In the newspaper’s July 10 issue, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, whose district includes Seattle’s heavily-LGBTQ Capitol Hill neighborhood, took out a full page ad paying “tribute and reverence” to Bakan.


IN THE NEWS
Volume 22

Issue 5