November 9, 2008.
I have often wondered how most of your readers “deal” with the extremes of your articles — from serious, such as the editorials, to the reviews of sex videos, and the basic coverage of travel resources in different cities. Or does each reader just read the sections that interest him?
I have often felt I was reading back issues of ONE/Tangents magazines as the views of French Wall are like those of Don Slater and the editors of ONE.
The editorial in the current issue of The Guide on giving thanks for being gay is a perfect example. Most “gays” do not agree with your thinking, as they did not like the views when Don Slater expressed them for two decades (’52 to ’72). Too many newbies to our community/movement have not spent the time to understand the consequences of terms they want to use to make them feel good and get “accepted.” The problem, you point out, with saying “accept poor us, as we can’t help being gay” is lousy PR even if “gays” think it is good PC thinking that will get us accepted and laws changed. It didn’t seem to help on the marriage issue, and it is pathetic victimology that is not very “gay.” You are so right when you say it misses the whole point of “gay liberation,” which is that it is society that is sick — not homosexuals.
One point on the “issue” of your coverage of cities around America and the world for gay consumers/travelers. I wonder how many gay travelers are interested not only in where to find gay bars and hotels but also in learning about the situation in the city they are visiting. You do give (most of the time) the name of the local gay/lesbian newspaper, and the gay center provided there is one, but you seldom list a gay church, or gay library, or archive, or Front Runners club, or gay theater — as there are in Los Angeles.
Having lived most of my adult life in L.A., I thought your coverage was good (Yukon is closed), but since most of my life’s work was (is) with ONE, Inc. and the Homosexual Information Center, both of which came out of early Mattachine and thus are the first g/l organization still going, mainly as archives/libraries, I think they deserved mention — ONE Institute being at USC (in a separate building) and HIC being at Cal State Northridge (in the library as a special collection), plus the June Mazer Lesbian Archives in West Hollywood.
And since the Metropolitan Community Church started in L.A. it is a logical thing to mention, as several of its churches are in the area. But the point is that any “guide” will list the non-gay places, but a gay guide also should list available resources.
I always like reading letters to the editor of publications as I like to see what other readers think about an article, etc. And in this case if most people agreed or disagreed with your editorial, if they read it, and what other people living in L.A. thought of your coverage. I hope they appreciate that your travel coverage is more up to date than most guides, and that you stimulate thinking on issues of homosexuality.