South Florida Gay News is five years old. The child of Norm Kent and Pier Angelo Guidugli, SFGN flourished at a time when many print publications went out of business.

SFGN proves that South Florida’s LGBT community still appreciates a quality “news” paper that is not afraid to tell the truth. In addition to being Florida’s leading LGBT weekly and our community’s newspaper of record, SFGN also publishes Wilton Manor’s hometown journal, the Gazette. Another SFGN publication is the Mirror, a quarterly glossy that goes beyond its South Florida confines.

My own history as a journalist goes back to the 1970s, when I began my association with The Weekly News (twn), Miami’s gay community newspaper. I continued to write for twn until its demise in 2006, which kept me from contributing to Norm’s first gay paper, the Express. Fortunately, I was free from any journalistic ties in late 2009, when word got around that Norm was starting a new publication. I immediately contacted Norm, congratulating him on his new endeavor and offering my services to the cause.

I am happy to report that Norm took me up on my offer and signed me up as contributor to SFGN. Furthermore, Norm flattered me by making me a Senior Features Correspondent, a title that I share with Father Tony Adams.

In addition to allowing me to continue writing my opinion column, “Jesse’s Journal,” SFGN gives me the opportunity to write about interesting and newsworthy people, groups and events. Though I no longer write my book review column (“The Book Nook”) I occasionally get to interview authors and write about literary events like the Miami Book Fair International. I also get to write about groups that matter to me, like Congregation Etz Chaim or the Dolphin Democrats, or about deeply personal matters, like my partner Michael’s mental illness.

In addition to providing me with opportunities as a writer and a journalist, SFGN allows me to work with some amazing and talented people: Jason Parsley, Joey Amato, A. Sebastian Fortino, John McDonald, Tony Adams, Paul Gallotta, Brian McNaught, Gideon Grudo, John Fugate, JW Arnold, Jarrett Terrill, Wayne Besen and many others.

While some of these people are no longer involved with SFGN, others are and hopefully will continue to offer their contributions to this fine paper and its subsidiaries. SFGN is a group effort; one that I hope will continue through the next five years and beyond.