Much has been written about the “death of the LGBT press,” as more community papers bite the dust and more of us get our news and information from the Internet.
In fact, many LGBT journals are alive and well. Not counting the Advocate, which survives as an adjunct to Out, there are many queer papers which have been around for years, even decades: Bay Area Reporter, Philadelphia Gay News, Seattle Gay Newsand Washington Blade, just to name a few.
To those previously named successes we should add South Florida Gay News (SFGN), now celebrating its 10th anniversary serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Though it will be a while before SFGN matches the 29-year lifespan of the weekly news (twn), South Florida’s Gay Community Newspaper (1977-2006), it’s surely heading in the right direction.
For its success we should give credit where credit is due: to SFGN Publisher Norm Kent, CEO Pier Angelo Guidugli, Associate Publisher/Executive Editor Jason Parsley and all the staff members, writers, advertisers and the community that they serve.
There was a time when only gay bars and sex clubs would deign to advertise in the queer rags. Now major companies seek the queer buck in our pages and SFGN celebrates its 10thanniversary in one of Fort Lauderdale’s leading car dealers. That, IMHO, is progress.
I did not have the privilege of writing for Norm’s first publication, Express Gay News, because I was a twn contributor during the years of the Express’s great success. But found myself without a local outlet for my writing talents in late 2009 when Norm announced the creation of his new journal, to be named South Florida Gay News.
I immediately contacted Norm and jumped at his offer to write for SFGN, now with the flattering title of Senior Features Correspondent. Though my life has had its ups and downs during the past decade, my work for SFGN has been an almost-constant high. Under the leadership of Norm, Pier Angelo and editors Joey Amato and Jason Parsley, SFGN is a welcoming and accepting forum for freelancers, even for those who, like me, have written for other publications throughout the years.
Though I regularly contribute to special issues of SFGN, like the annual “Out 50" or “Best of” issues, most readers know me for my “Jesse’s Journal” columns, a series that began in twn way back in 1980.
My editors have kindly allowed me to write about anything I want, with the condition that it be something that would appeal to our mostly-LGBT readers.
When Michael Greenspan, my partner of over three decades, died from complications from dementia (2017), I wrote a heartfelt column that Jason featured on the cover, a memorial to Michael’s life and work.
During my 10 years with SFGN I have written about accordions (Michel was an accordionist, among other things), Juan Ahonen-Jover, AIDS Books, AIDS Day, the Ali Forney Center, the LGBT “alphabet soup,” animals, Argentina and astrology — and that is just the A’s! Though I seldom write about personal topics, I made an exception when I wrote about Michael, my parents, or my experiences growing up as a Cuban American gay man in 1970s Miami.
Where do we go from here? Though sometimes I wonder, I am confident that SFGN will survive another decade, despite Donald Trump and climate change.
When I came out of the closet (in 1973), I was one of the few queers who went by his full name. Today doctors and lawyers and Native American tribal elders proudly affirm their sexual orientations or gender identities. The LGBT community will continue to thrive; and SFGN will be around to cover it.
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and journalist. He has been an active member of South Florida's LGBT community for more than four decades and has served in various community organizations.