Yesterday we said that gay blogs and print media can co-exist in sweet harmony, so now let’s put that to the test. Former XY magazine editor Peter Ian Cummings and Savas Abadsidis, editor of Abercrombie and Fitch’s A and F Quarterly, have decided to publish two new magazines: B, a magzine with politics, art, music and fashion articles aimed at 18 to 35-year-old gay men and All American Guys (link NSFW), a magazine featuring erotic but G-rated photos of hunky male models. So why would any gay guy spend money on these magazines when they can find gay cultural articles and softcore porn online for free?
Cummings says B magazine will probably garner criticism from the LGBT community because “[there’s a] self-congratulatory nature in gay life now. There’s not enough thinking going on. We want to stand up for the right to express yourself sexually.” For example, he says that the modern marriage equality movement has encouraged gays to practices sexual repression, presumably to make us more palatable for straights. But a lot of LGBTs don’t want gay marriage, he says. “We reject [sexual repression for rights] as a compromise. If they want to call us porny or slutty, let them.”
Indeed, it’s harder to come by LGBT news sites, sites like ours, The New Gay, and The Bilerico Project willing to piss off queer readers (by calling them “queer” for example). And though B magazine will also publish reader art and writing, it’s hard to keep hungry young homos writing and snapping pictures for without offering decent pay and editorial leadership to ensure quality.
Cummings and Abadsidis’ have decided to distribute 20,000 copies of B 4 times a year which will help lower the prohibitive costs of printing and distributing. But it’s likely that only a small number of bookstores will offer B. Combined with the will cost of freelancers, will the fledgling magazine be able afford to independent queer reporters to keep readers coming back every 3 months, especially considering how fast information and culture move on the web?
Until it folded in 2007, XY usually had more photos than writing, putting itself somewhere between a fashion rag, a DIY repository for reader submissions, and a cultural magazine. It had advertising mostly from gay businesses which lacked that elusive “crossover appeal.” Put another way, heteros didn’t read it which makes one wonder what B magazine will offer straights without adding non-gay content.
We know less about All American Guys, though the site has been around for years now. A relaunch suggests they either bought it off or partnered with its old owners who needed financial support. But even if the new owners have a bunch of arty photogs who will poop out artistic nudes and a stable of cute guys willing to turn it out on a regular basis, it’s hard to imagine how All American Guys will compete against other amateur nudie sites like DudesNude. Arty softcore is nice and all, but gay guys like dick and they’re not one to stick around for blue-balling.
That’s not to crap all over Cummings and Abadsidis’ project. On the contrary, if their websites offer good mobile apps, smartphone versions, lots of ads, and one-of-a-kind subscriber content, they could make some money and really take off. We also love the idea of giving readers a way to create and share content, a DIY feature that most LGBT blogs still lack. We’ll definitely ask Cummings and Abadsidis to tell us more. But with so many gay magazines like The Advocate downsizing or just plain out disappearing, it’ll definitely be an uphill slog to keep B from going the way of XY.