From the desk of the Editor
Published Thursday, 27-May-2010 in issue 1170
So I’ve been the unofficial editor for a few weeks, but it’s official now, which means I get some say in the direction the Gay & LesbianTimes takes.
But before we get to my “vision” for the paper, you might want to know, who the hell am I? Well, I’ve been reporting on news for the Gay & Lesbian Times since 2007.
The story of how I got here is actually pretty funny: I started as a photographer taking photos of patrons at bars and clubs (Yes, that was me popping a flash in your face just at the wrong moment). A few months later, I became an editorial intern. Eventually, the editor at the time removed my “intern” moniker and dubbed me “reporter.” Then the editor left, so now I’m editor by default. But I think I’m ready, and I have a lot of stuff I want to do that I hope you’ll like, which brings me back to that “vision” I mentioned a moment ago.
The GLT offers a lot of great features that should continue such as, “Life Beyond Therapy,” “Epicurious Eating,” “World News,” “Out & About” and “Theatre,” among others. But I also want to move the paper in a direction that encourages:
• different viewpoints
I put these in point form so they would JUMP off the page. After all, they are what constitute journalism. Lifestyle columns, dining and entertainment reviews are apart of what makes the GLT, but I think we also need community news and features that are diverse, substantial and controversial.
I want this paper to include more viewpoints and perspectives. That means getting beyond our white, male, middle-class bias. Let’s face it, most of our contributors are white, middle-class men. While I’m not against this demographic, our community has a lot of voices that our paper should reflect. So consider this an open call for GLBT writers who come from different backgrounds and have different political perspectives and beliefs!
Specifically, I want to expand our commentary and social sections. Currently, we only have two commentaries; typically we run “Creep of the Week” (sometimes “Center Stage,” “General Gayety,” and/or “Quote/Unquote.” These are funny and well written, but I also want to include two new weekly commentaries: one written each week by a different person from a subcommunity of the GLBT community (a transgender person, Latino, lesbian or HIV-positive community member) that will discuss an issue important to their subcommunity. I also want to include more social columns by members of our different subpopulations. The second new commentary will be a political column written each week by a different GLBT person with a unique political standpoint. For example, the first week we might publish a column written by a mainstream liberal Democrat, the second week a column by a Republican and the third week we’d run a piece by a Green Party/socialist.
Our San Diego News section could also be more diverse. A few weeks ago we reported on the Queer People of Color Conference. This week, our new writer Kari Luu covers what local GLBTs think about Arizona’s new immigration law (thanks to Carolina Ramos, the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Coordinator of Latino Services and our editorial board’s first member, for proposing the story). Continuing this focus on our diverse subpopulations, next week I will report on recent events that took place in honor of the sixth annual National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Of course, we also will continue to report what is happening at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego LGBT Pride and other GLBT-oriented organizations and events.
Now, what do I mean by research? San Diego has three major universities, not to mention dozens of research-based organizations and institutions with research departments. These produce research papers about GLBT issues, but much of it is not distributed to a larger audience. I want the GLT to cover some of it in a way that is understandable and interesting. This week, for instance, Marco Flores, a graduate student in the department of anthropology at San Diego State University, discusses bear culture in our feature article – what being a bear means, bear history and issues scholars have raised about bear identity.
I also believe this paper should continue raising questions about important issues. Our reporting on the recent Pride scandal, issues with Auntie Helen’s and stories about the internal affairs of our local organizations are critical. If anything, I think there needs to be more of that type of reporting. The community needs to be informed about such controversial issues and the GLT should be there to provide it.
At the same time, I believe the GLT should be more open to criticism directed at itself and at the community. Criticism is valuable in helping us make sense of our actions and words. When Billy Maximus states, in this week’s “Comments from the Web,” that The Center’s executive director Delores Jacobs has “gone too far” with respect to her position on immigration, it makes us think more thoughtfully about the issue. And who would disagree that our community needs more mindful thinking about critical issues like immigration?
These changes won’t happen over night, but slowly, over time. I hope you find that the changes are for the better.