After four glorious years of smoking joints, exposing the fact that Katy Perry has never in fact “Kissed A Girl”, and showing his penis to win a Netroots Nation scholarship, on Friday, July 22nd Zack Rosen will step down as Editor-In-Chief of the Washington D.C. alterna-queer blog, The New Gay. Though he anticipates a future of “panic eating, infrequent showering and bored, compulsive masturbation,” let us take a moment to reflect on Mr. Rosen’s accomplishments… beyond showing his dick, we mean.
Rosen has been with The New Gay one week longer than he’s been with his current boyfriend and in that time he helped turned it from a one-man operation into a full-fledged blog keeping tabs on the Northeast queer culture by regularly featuring new music, visiting artists, curated photographs and poetry, and refreshingly honest hot button articles like “Why I Reject Gay Culture”, “Gays Don’t Deserve Equality” and “Why Am I Not Attracted To Black Men?”
Rosen delighted in interviewing Cut Copy, The Dodos, Stephen Merritt from The Magnetic Fields, and Margaret Cho. He once interviewed Gawker’s gay staff writer Brian Moylan while nude and Of Montreal while wearing a skin tight, sparkling, magenta body suit.
In person, Rosen became a regular at queer conferences and panels including Netroots Nation and Creating Change. I sat with him at a panel entitled, “The Penis That Ruined Marriage Equality” and have heard his frequent musings denouncing use of the word “tranny”, calling bullshit on idyllic conceptions of romance and slamming self-righteous activists who act passively rather than directly. His editorship also oversaw the creation of the ‘Fuck Ruben Diaz’ writing contest which asked readers to submit their wildest sexual stories about the anti-gay New York senator amidst his campaign to squash marriage equality.
Rosen’s really the kind of queer we need these days: young, mischievous, idealistic, willing to speak his mind, take risks, and make mistakes. He got his ass handed back to him in two columns that he penned for The Advocate: one criticizing Lady Gaga and one bemoaning his loss of minority-cred as a white, cisgendered male. But what he lacks in self-reflection he makes up for in cage rattling.
So it makes sense that The New Gay also aligned itself with Get Equal during Rosen’s tenure—their direct and sometimes disagreeable form of activism fits Rosen’s philosophy well. He prefers to challenge preconception and recreate queer culture rather than passively accept pre-packaged identity. And though he’s still in his 20s and still refining his work, Rosen’s career remains one to watch, he’s really a newly-pressed B-sides CD that grows more complex and sophisticated in context of all the music that will follow.