Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

The Mainstreaming of Gay Titles

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

The Mainstreaming of Gay Titles

Article excerpt

From Waldenbooks to the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, gay magazines are now sharing the shelves with other titles delivered by wholesalers. Publications like Out, Genre, 10 Percent, Frontiers and Our World can now be seen and purchased at a majority of newsstands and grocery chains that never carried any such titles before this year.

The "outing" of gay magazines can be credited to two key factors: Michael Goff and the changing content of gay publications. Although Goff is not the first to publish a gay lifestyle magazine, the president and editor in chief of the New York City-based bimonthly Out has been a major influence in altering the category's image.

Two years ago, when the idea of Out was in its infancy, Goff paid a visit to the FOLIO: show in New York City. Browsing through the gay titles on display with the rest of the 1991 launches, he realized none of the gay titles was directed to him. He recognized that there was "a need for a different kind of gay magazine."

Goff intended for Out to be "the best in culture, politics, insight and style for and about lesbians and gay men." In order to make that happen, he knew he had to hire the best people possible. "We had to deliver a high-quality, general-interest magazine to a community that had been ignored, not spoken to," he recalls. Today, Out is beating the odds, delivering a general-interest magazine to a select group of readers at a time when the national trend is toward specialized magazines for specialized audiences.

Prior attempts to publish titles like Out were either unsuccessful or had limited circulations. In Style, the first gay fashion magazine with no nudity, was launched in 1984 as an offshoot of In Touch. The magazine did not last for more than a few issues. Out/Look was born in 1988 from "the need to bring together the diverse elements of the lesbian and gay communities," according to a letter from the editors in the magazine's first issue. …

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