Friday, August 29, 2008

The Advocate's Naked Truth

While you were busy not noticing, America's two most important gay magazines--The Advocate and Out--got extreme makeovers.

Formerly owned by parent company Planet Out, the magazines seemed for years to be searching for their identities (yes, we see the irony) and going all-out commercial. That's one thing for Out, which is putting itself, well, out there (punny, huh?); but The Advocate began as just that: a periodical publication created to support sexual minorities. So why, then, were straight celebrities featured on so many of their covers?

The identities of these magazines is important to LGBT people, even if we don't read them regularly. Or at least my parents thought so when they gave me a huge, four-pound volume of a book called Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Never a student of history, I was momentarily puzzled until it hit me like a ton of feather boas: This was their way of saying, We still love you, We still accept you, And you do have a history, And you do have a future.

No, really. It's true: The straight world knows about these magazines; it's one of their associations with gay people (if not necessarily with the spectrum of "others").

I've been cynical for so long--too cynical to really care about anything or believe in anyone. Last night's speech by Barack Obama actually changed that; I finally feel hopeful, and I really feel like things--all things--have the potential to change for the better.

Planet Out no longer has a stranglehold on The Advocate and Out, and we're encouraged by The Advocate's most recent issue--the one that features Barack Obama's beaming smile of hope on its over--and the forthcoming one, which will feature a lot of skin...and a discussion of body image in the LGBT population.

Yes, a lot of the guys (and girls) are typically hot--and many are typically typical.

Guess what the point is?

Gay guys, lesbians, transgender people love parts of their bodies, hate other parts. In other words, they're just like everyone else.

(Uh, except those straight guys who really do not care who they offend with the fertile wildernesses of their bodies. Seriously, WTF?!)

Anyway, The Advocate's new Editor in Chief Jon Barrett has worked for Oprah (O at Home magazine) and Real Simple, and he seems to be steering this vitally important magazine in the right direction. With a new focus on up-to-date online content (and plenty of skin), go to for the hotness and stick around for a while to see the changes that are occurring--including thoughtful coverage of the historic presidential election year.

1 comment:

buff said...

The Advocate and its Naked Truth issue goes back to its roots, of sorts.

Skin sells. This is a refreshing look at the gay male body. WOOOF