Norm Kent, Publisher

Just a few personal words from your local neighborhood publisher today. It has been a busy week here at the paper. This is one of two issues we are publishing. On Saturday and Sunday at the Holiday Park War Memorial Auditorium, SFGN will be distributing a second issue, devoted to PrideFest. So it is crazy here as we write this.

The fact is that if you combine today’s 40-page issue with PrideFest’s special edition, at 88 pages, on this week in March of 2012, we will be the largest gay paper in the United States of America. That is testimony to the strength and vitality of this community, and hopefully, an expression of your faith in us.  For my CEO and myself, it is an acknowledgement of how far we have come in such a short time. However, each week a new deadline shortens our smile and forges our determination to buck a rough economy and rising tide, which has adversely impacted print media nationwide.

Still, there is much to be proud of, and much to look forward to. Our headlines at www.sfgn.com and at www.nationalgaynews.com reflect that the LGBT community is growing nationwide, and not just in South Florida alone. Our magazine, The Mirror, has been received with enthusiasm, from San Francisco to St. Petersburg. At 52 pages, it is actually 4 pages larger than this month’s Advocate.

The American LGBT community is more than just emerging as a niche culture. Except for Rick Santorum and a small cabal of 18th century preachers, we are part of the America that once excluded us. Once, we were a threat to society. Once, we were a moral disorder. Once, we threatened the family. Now, we are partners in tomorrow, and those who fight our rights are not only on the wrong side of history, they will be laughed at long after we are all gone.

Here is what I found out about being gay- the more I am, the less it matters. I could care less who knows or what they say. Whether it is my friends in the legal profession or on the baseball fields I play on, it is just not a factor in my life. I am who I am and it is my life to live. I don’t have to please anyone else, anytime, anywhere. I don’t have to explain who I love or what I want physically to anyone at anytime, and neither should you, whether you are 20 or 75.

My advice to you as we enter a PrideFest Weekend in greater Fort Lauderdale is to be who you are and who you want to be. Be yourself and you will be free. To quote Shakespeare, in the poster that sits above my desk in our newspaper office, “To thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night, the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”