With businesses beginning to slowly reopen, even in the face of growing numbers of the coronavirus, we are now printing and distributing more and more issues of the South Florida Gay News.  

Do me a favor though. If you see someone defacing our free but very bright red news boxes, say something. Over a dozen boxes on the Drive were sprayed with graffiti in the past two weeks. Those acts constitute criminal mischief, and if you are caught, I will prosecute you for it. I will also pay the person who turns you in $500. 

I might also add that if you want to advertise your business in our paper, do what everyone else does. Pay for it. Stop placing your handbills on the front window of every one of our news boxes, and playing dumb like you don’t know how it happened.  

Anyway, now that I am done venting, I want to congratulate my faithful staff here at SFGN, who ensured that we continued to publish throughout the pandemic, taking only one week off for Memorial Day. Thank you to my editor, graphic designer, and sales team. Their names are more than fonts in a newspaper. Their hearts are in the belief in a free gay press. 

SFGN celebrated its 10th anniversary this January, and we are going nowhere. To quote a line from one of Woody Nelson’s new albums, “I woke up this morning and found out I was not dead today.” Rumors about SFGN’s demise are greatly exaggerated. We are here and going nowhere.  

As a matter of fact, I just ordered more outside news boxes to reach more locations. In this week’s paper, we have even posted a page of outlier locations where you can pick up the print edition of our paper.   

Aside from our print edition, we have hired a new webmaster, Kimberly Swan. Our online presence will continue to be enhanced going forward. 

If you missed some print copies over the past few months, extra copies of each are available from our offices and at the Stonewall Library on East Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, where they store back editions of everything LGBT in South Florida. It is an amazing institution, one of the many non-profits in our community that do so much for so many. 

SFGN will continue to be the FREE voice that celebrates our achievements and acknowledges our errors. To those of you who have contributed to our online fundraising campaign, let me thank you.  

A free gay press in a disturbed straight world is important to all of us. Our state government wants to know if our paper is owned by Communist China. It’s asking me to verify that for them. Don’t worry, my friends, SFGN is owned by a boy from Brooklyn, not Beijing. 

We still have cases to fight and causes to fight for. The Republican party platform just announced that it is opposing gay marriage. Workplace equality in Florida is not coming because we have a progressive legislature. Sometimes I think we are lucky our water fountains are still not segregated. Outside of Nikki Fried, our state leadership is woefully Neanderthal. 

SFGN still has stories to tell, and you have them to share. If these pandemically compromised months caused us to miss a few, fill us in. We can catch up. Send us a column, write a letter to the editor, or pass us a lead. We are your voice. Keep us on our toes. 

We may have lost more than a beat these past few months. We lost some good people. Let me share two that come to mind. 

Once a financial columnist for our paper, Dan Pye,  a local investment counselor, has passed away.  A principled sponsor of many causes, including the Human Rights Campaign, Dan’s passing remains mysterious. We would love someone who knows more to share his story. 

Equally sad,  Ed Nicholas lost his life at the beginning of the pandemic’s emergence, but it was due to a one-car accident. Ed was one of the architects and directors who put together the  Gay and Lesbian Community Center  20 years ago. A fighter for gay causes since his days in New York. A good man gone. 

We found out we have friends who support us in a time of adversity. Our Fund  initiated a resilience fund which was matched by the  AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  

The Pride Center at Equality Park ran virtual programs. Equality Florida held an amazing virtual concert to generate funds to sustain their activism. Glen Weinzimer at Bona Pizza continued with his Monday night give back Mondays.  

These past few months, our paper has celebrated the work of Dawn Holloway and Howard Marr, who have been champions during this plague. Aided by a host of sponsors, they have been distributing free meals courtesy of Hunter’s, feeding those left without jobs and income during these tough times.  

So too have others reached out, like Shawn Bombard at the Courtyard handing out 500 meals one afternoon, and Johnny Pak at the Alibi, with John Fugate distributing 500 hot dogs and chips, over a couple of weekends.  

Who else do you know that is praiseworthy that we should be mentioning? Let us know. 

It is now time for all of us to chip in a little to help  H.G. Roosters in West Palm rebuild, recovering from a fire in May, with no insurance to rebuild.  

Do what you can do make the world a better place to be. Help us write about those who have. SFGN is here, to report on the good times and bad, celebrations of life and in this era, losses we cannot bear. The virus has no boundaries, but neither do we.  

Our community has been tested before. Nothing can hold us down. We are gay. We are strong. We find rainbows after every storm. Work towards that goal and today’s adversity will become tomorrow’s blessing. 

Happy Independence Day. May you celebrate many more. Vote on November 3, and maybe we will.