I used to be in a SoCal gay men’s leadership group. My friends Jim and Peter started it about 20 years’ ago. The group had a good run – about 5 years. The amazing Ryan Murphy even came to one of our meetings when he was a young gay writer trying to break into the television industry. Our group was comprised of gay men in a variety of leadership positions all over Southern California. There were usually about fifty of us who showed up for the monthly meetings.
When asked why he started the group, Jim said: “When gay men are successful, we often eat each other alive. We don’t support each other and are jealous of other gay men’s successes. This group is to help us stick together, support each other and thrive.”
The group was unlike any group I’d ever been in before (or since). Due to its leadership and the great diversity of members (ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and background) it was eye-opening, enlightening and whole lot of fun. I’m not sure why it ended…maybe we’d learned what we were supposed to learn.
LGBTQ San Diego County News has recently changed owners: I am pleased that the new CEO asked me to stay on. Our new management is full of energy and new ideas.
As you probably already know, many local newspapers in America, especially LGBTQ ones, are struggling. It’s advertising that allows newspapers to keep printing. Without advertising, there’s no way to pay the bills in order to publish a “free” paper like LGBTQ San Diego County News.
We can support this paper by encouraging the people we know, the restaurants we dine at, the shops we shop at and our fellow community members to help the paper survive and prosper.
No one asked me to write this column: it was my idea. It’s an obvious request to support queer journalism in San Diego’s LGBTQ community. The situation with the paper is similar to that gay men’s leadership group I was invited to join 20 years’ ago: it’s all-too-easy to envy and resent your queer brothers and sisters when they succeed. It’s tempting to tear people down who are trying to do something new (like keep this paper thriving and moving in a new direction) and it’s easy to think “Oh, they’ll be fine without me. They don’t need my support.”
Please, sisters and brothers, be willing to rethink this. LGBTQ newspapers are dying like crazy. And, when they die, where do you think your local queer news is going to come from? The Union Tribune? Local (heteronormative/homophobic) television? Social Media? Sure, you may get bits and pieces of what’s happening in San Diego’s queer community from these media outlets, but you won’t get the “big picture” like you do in our paper.
So, let’s stick together and help each other succeed. And not just this newspaper, but all the businesses and organizations that are part of our community. Let’s support The Center, and Pride and Hillcrest/Banker’s Hill queer-owned businesses. Let’s put our money where it will do the most good: here in our community.
I don’t work for the Chamber of Commerce or in public relations. I am a local psychotherapist who volunteers to write for our one, last, remaining San Diego LGBTQ newspaper. When I moved here in 1998, there were quite a few periodicals for our community. Now, we’re the only one left that’s totally local.
If you have a favorite local restaurant, bar or store, ask them if they support LGBTQ San Diego County News. Even if they don’t have the funds to buy an ad, maybe they’re willing to tell people about us, read us and tell people about the interesting articles we publish and the local people we profile.
And if they do have some money for advertising – if they can support us with even a small ad – that would make such a difference. If a few local businesses do this, it could make the difference between us sinking or floating.
Would you like us to be around in a year or two? If so, let’s stick together, support each other and thrive.