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Can A New LGBT Print Magazine Make It In A Digital World?

Imagine an LGBT magazine that is edited by frequent Vanity Fair contributor Kevin Sessums (pictured), includes articles from the likes of novelist Salman Rushdie, and features new poems from National Book Award winner Mark Doty. That’s just part of the lineup for a new magazine called 429, which bills itself as “a style bible for the LGBT community.” The inaugural issue, with a theme of friendship, is slated to launch in October.

Twenty years ago, that assembly of talent would have made 429 a formidable contender in the marketplace. But with the tide shifting from print to digital, 429 will have to swim against the current. The granddaddy of LGBT publications, The Advocate largely disappeared from newsstands for two years and after its latest shakeup is focused more on digitalOut magazine, which shares an owner with The Advocate, essentially outsourced its entire staff. 429 is seeking funding on Kickstarter to launch and is already more than half way to its $10,000 goal.

In his letter announcing the magazine, publisher Richard Klein obliquely acknowledges the challenges. “At times when starting a new magazine we can all feel like conjurers rather than editors and photographers — or even a publisher,” he writes. “But conjuring is invigorating. You’ll see.”

Let’s hope that they can pull a rabbit out of the appropriately stylish hat.

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  • QJ201

    Here! Media that purchased OUT and The Advocate has destroyed both brands.

    OUT is basically an entertainment and life$$$tyle rag…the Advocate has become an aggregate news sources…NEVER on top of the news always two days behind…linking to other sources.


  • bmwblonde

    Couldn’t agree more with QJ201. I briefly tried both digital publications. The “reading experience” for both was “Men’s Health” (a total misnomer – should be called “Quick Tricks for Snagging Chicks for Immature Straights”) “times” 1990’s Vogue or maybe GQ – oh, and with the most token, obligatory homo stuff tossed in. All to make The Advertisers comfy. The predictable result: those two E-Rags are utterly content and depth-free.

    It’s true that 80-90 percent of any readership group are unconscious, immature, fear-based sheep (and essentially illiterate). That’s what The Right’s 30-year deliberate assault on public education has produced. But there IS an LGBT audience for the other 10-20%, including people with a BRAIN and also just maybe, many of us distinctly over 50. WE (that audience) are not “fascinated” by endless Twink gossip, celebrity worship and stories about the likes of Justin Bieber (whoever the hell he is, during his 5 minutes of fake-manufactured “fame.”)

    A lot of people who ARE literate, prosperous, discerning and multi-faceted – and who happen also to be queer – would enjoy a magazine that had actual content. I’ve long envisioned a publication showcasing real leaders in all the important fields of society (and not by “just” MAKING MONEY or achieving FLASHY FAME), who happen to be LGBT, and who are multi-dimensional and have fought all of their various good fights. As in “role models of consciousness.” But good luck launching something like THAT – in our deliberately post-literate and celebrity-and-money- worshiping “modern” USA.

  • jeff4justice

    People have given $10,000 for a Kickstarter for a style bible magazine? I am so glad LGBT homelessness and poverty is cured!

    LGBT media is reduced to a bunch of blogs that have 99% of the same posts (despite having editors!) that mostly come from another source. Then there’s a few LGBT TV channels that push dumbed down content.

    There’s very few smart, insightful LGBT original content out there and it’s mostly in podcasts and YouTube channels.

  • Scott Rose

    I loved Sessums’ book “Mississippi Sissy.” And, I’m excited about 429, among other reasons because of the literary line-up already achieved for the first issue. Literary fiction of course is a hothouse flower in contemporary markets, but there is indeed a market. That one publication with connections to the wider LGBT cultures will now be including such material is uplifting. We aren’t in an age of either/or, of print v. digital; we’re in an age of both. As convenient as it is to read a publication’s online edition, there are times when what I’ll call the luxury of reading the print edition is a huge pleasure. And if you think I’m talking about print porno, you have a nerve.

  • adam madam

    “a style bible for the LGBT community.” possibly the LAST thing this community needs, possibly the tritest slogan for a publication imaginable. good luck with that.

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