It’s regrettable that I have to address the topic of LGBT news any differently than I would mainstream news. Really, I hate to have to breach the topic of LGBT news at all, since it should be a main priority of all mainstream news sources to focus on this generation’s Civil Rights movement as part of their usual coverage. The unfortunate reality is that most news stories concerning equal rights get pushed aside by the likes of natural disasters or drug addicts eating various body parts.
Every morning at work, I proceed to get coffee and then check two news sources: CNN, and The Advocate. Sadly, I have yet to find one news source that’s a one-stop-shop for both essential mainstream stories and LGBT-centered stories. That said, I would say that The Advocate should be the go-to gay news source for any well-informed queer. Will and I subscribe to the print version in addition to reading the online version. It’s not necessary that you do both, but the print issues are extremely affordable if you have a subscription. Also, they are a great thing to keep on your coffee table if you feel like showing off your social activism to your latest hookup from Grindr.
In terms of keeping up with LGBT news stories, The Advocate ranks up there in timeliness along with pretty much every other gay news website out there. Such is the beauty of living in the online era—we get to keep track of events as they happen. Whether on their website or on Twitter (@TheAdvocateMag), these guys are as good as any other publication about staying on top of important stories as they happen. Furthermore, they provide the kind of comprehensive coverage that is, unfortunately, severely lacking on a lot of gay news blogs. Sure, it’s more fun to read about Aussiebum’s new photo shoot than it is to read about human rights atrocities in Central Africa, but that’s the sacrifice you make for staying informed.
For me, though, what sets The Advocate apart is their consistent delivery of a truly diverse sampling of news, op-ed, and culture. This is likely due to the fact that it’s been in existence since 1967. This not only makes them the oldest LGBT publication in the country, but also means they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their coverage of current events. Their staffers don’t just look to cover the big gay-centered current events; they also look for ways to examine mainstream news with an LGBT lens. For instance, one can definitely classify the upcoming Olympics as a source of mainstream news, but you can bet that Advocate.com will be giving real-time updates on all of the out athletes. This not only makes it easy to relate various events to your daily life, but also makes it apparent exactly how integral gay men and women are in American and global society. The magazine’s op-ed contributors are very good at building upon this, offering up different ways to examine and digest the various events taking place around us. At the same time, though The Advocate accomplishes this without becoming overly dry or austere. It recognizes its core demographic, and makes sure to cover stories about Liza Minelli or Elton John in addition to ones regarding judicial proceedings or elections. Sure, it may not be huge news covering a Pride Parade that took place in South America, but they definitely manage to seize plenty of gratuitous photo ops anyway. It also welcomes a fair amount of scantily clad bodies in its “Artist Feature” section, as well as plenty of follies and dollies in their weekly “Hot Sheet”. Rounding off their entertainment pursuits is their comedy Twitter account, @gaysayer, which brings followers the funniest tweets from gay comedians as well as a few straight allies.
Bottom line: whether you’re a full-on LGBT activist or simply a concerned citizen who doesn’t want to be kept in the dark, The Advocate needs to be on your short-list of required reading.