The New G Philly

Our editor explains the revamped editorial slant behind our fab quarterly gay glossy and accompanying blog.

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new era for all of us here at G Philly—the publication of our Spring 2013 issue, and with it a new editorial direction for the publication.

Some of what you’ll see is cosmetic—we have an amazing new design team in B&G Design Studios, which has freshened up the look of the magazine, altered the typography, updated the color palette, and brought in some gorgeous new photography that has injected a new level of sophistication into the magazine’s aesthetic.

We’ve also launched some new regular features in the book: “Guy at the End of the Bar,” where every issue a bachelor on the market lets us know a bit more about him through a breezy Q&A; “Accessorized,” which will feature must-haves of the moment; “Eating Out,” our rebranded dining column, which each issue will feature a themed roundup of three great spots for good grub; “Long Weekend,” our peek into a great weekend getaway destination with a gay bent; “Hey, Chirl!,” our sassy new love and sex advice column; and “Simply Fabulous,” which each issue will offer a mouth-watering peek into the domiciles of gays with very good taste. On our back page, we now offer “Stripped,” a carousel of handsome men who are not only confident enough to answer our G Philly questionnaire, but to also pose shirtless as they do it.

Our features, which this month include stories on spring fashion, antiquing, and the surprising new way gay men are using Grindr, will offer a wide, eclectic range of topics to explore and discover.

So let me hit the first question you’re no doubt having head-on: Where are the lesbians in all of this? The bisexuals? The transgendered? Why are you doing a magazine that seems to only target gay men?

It’s an excellent question, and here’s the answer: Yes, in the print version of G Philly we are narrowing the focus a bit, to mainly target the lives and interests of gay men. But no, we are not excluding our other brothers and sisters in the LGBT community from the G Philly universe. Not at all.

Quarterly magazines are difficult prospects; in an era where breaking news is reported every five seconds on the Internet, as news vessels they are anachronistic. It just doesn’t make sense to do news in a quarterly, and in the LGBT community, there is breaking news almost daily that is of vital interest to all of us.

Which is why this, our daily G Philly portal on the Web, is now your daily news digest for everything LGBT in news and popular culture. Our daily blogger, the amazing Josh Middleton, brings you a daily feed covering what you need to know when you need to know it, on issues ranging from gay marriage to the effect of the sequester on LGBT services to new HIV drug trials to the queer female poet honored as the best in the world. We do a roundup of what to do each weekend on Fridays, and we do a weekly roundup of the weekend’s news on Mondays. And we supplement all of this with some lively fun and games, from Q&As with local movers and shakers to previews of some of our community’s most interesting events to Alexander Kacala’s hilarious recaps of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The print component is a now exclusively focused on lifestyle content. And we felt that to serve this venue best, it made sense to sharpen its editorial focus a bit, instead of trying to be all things to all people and giving short shrift to everyone in the process. Much of the content of the “new” print G Philly will, I hope, be of value to everyone in the LGBT community, whether that’s great gadgets for your iPhone or a terrific weekend getaway or where to dine out. But yes, we have also added some eye candy to the print product, and I don’t apologize for that. The simplest way to think about it is this way: G Philly the web blog is the local version of The Advocate; G Philly the print quarterly is the local version of Out or Instinct. Just as the national gay media targets to better serve its constituencies (Curve for lesbians, for example, or Dragazine for drag queens), we are taking a page and doing the same here, to deliver, in sum, a 360-degree view of gay life in Philly.

Of course, no relaunch is perfect, and ours is not, either. One criticism I fully accept is that ours is a diverse community, and there needs to be solid representation of men of color within the G Philly magazine. In our defense, we did book an African-American model for our fashion shoot, but he cancelled when he found out the publication was gay, saying he didn’t feel comfortable with the content, and we had to scramble a bit to find a replacement. That said, I pledge to do better going forward in representing all of the colors of our rainbow in future issues.

These changes will not be embraced by everybody, and in fact will upset some people, and I regret that even as I understand it. Any creative enterprise that changes anything leaves itself open for criticism. But media properties that don’t change atrophy.

I am proud of G Philly, and proud that I work for an established media company in Philadelphia that thought serving the gay community was so important, and such a no-brainer, that they have invested significant time and resources into both print and digital outlets, as well as sponsored events, to do it. I hope you will offer your thoughts to us, that you will try and be constructive in your dialogue when you do, and that you will help us make G Philly the best it can be, online and off.

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  • Leona Thomas

    Disappointing to say the least. The editors comments only add to confuse me more rather then explain the decision. Would love to hear a logical description of the decision but since I’m clearly not in the magazines target market anymore, I don’t expect to see one

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  • Kate H

    “One criticism I fully accept is that ours is a diverse community, and there needs to be solid representation of men of color within the G Philly magazine. In our defense, we did book an African-American model for our fashion shoot, but he cancelled when he found out the publication was gay, saying he didn’t feel comfortable with the content, and we had to scramble a bit to find a replacement.”

    Are you saying that you don’t have any queer MOC friends that you could call to model for your magazine, Mr. Callahan? It’s probably not ok to admit that since you don’t know any gay black people you had to hire a straight, homophobic one. G Philly’s previous editions featured REAL Philadelphia LGBT folks of all colors, sizes, and orientations. Shame on you for hiring models to represent our community!

    Also, You have the financial backing of a major publication and your choice to “narrow the focus a bit” from the entire community to white, gay men is disheartening. Your defense that lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people will still be featured on your blog sends a resounding message to all of us that we aren’t important enough to appear in print and that you are joining in with so many Americans to stamp us as second class citizens. But hey, as long as there are shirtless, white guys you’re happy right?

  • Chris F.

    While most of the lesbian and trans* community is up in arms, I feel tremendous sadness and shame that the people who run such an established media company, the people who are part of my community, chose for whatever reason, to change their focus to that of only gay men. While I respect a publication’s right to change and advance in ways to keep up circulation, I cannot justify your decision for many reasons based on the editor’s letter to the public.
    First, the lesbian and trans* community in Philadelphia needs exposure and coverage because there simply isn’t enough. The more voices being heard, the more change begins to happen. By excluding us from your publication, you have contributed to the idea that we are not shopping, traveling, getting married, buying real estate or doing any of the things G Philly covers. Gay men are, by comparison, more fabulous and exciting than lesbians and therefore need to have constant coverage. Right?
    Second, you’re right; you can’t, “be all things to all people.” I face the same challenge on any given night when trying to decide between the plethora of lesbian and queer events in Philly. However, you could be a little someone to everyone by including different aspects of LGBT life especially because you have the funding and resources to do so. Clearly, there is space and time for LGBT life to be investigated because there was time to create new intellectually stimulating features as, “Guy at the End of the Bar,” and, “Stripped.”
    Third, why are there models being used in G Philly? We have gorgeous people in our community that you once recognized and appreciated. The first issue of G Philly featured my friend Kaylynn on the cover and had a spread on my friend DJ NiiLo. Are we not pretty enough to be representatives of our own LGBT community?
    Fourth, when the male model of color chose to opt out of the photo shoot, you could find no one else of color to replace him? In this moment, I can think of at least five friends who would have all volunteered at the chance to be a part of G Philly’s photo shoot for the sole opportunity to represent their pride for their community. I appreciate the mea culpa, but next time try harder before jumping to the white male model construct. In addition to appearing insensitive for excluding lesbians and trans* from your publication, you now look racist.
    I’m so disappointed in you, G Philly and Philadelphia Magazine. Try harder.

  • Tracy Levesque

    This is very disappointing to say the least and a real step backwards.

  • Crystal A. Fox

    This blows literally and figuratively. Bring back Natalie Hope McDonald.

  • Laura S

    Just focused on men now? Ill be sure to focus on not spending a dime on any of the companies that advertise with you!

  • Amy Laura

    1) Don’t bother to target your ad content towards me, as a queer woman. Why would I look at your web content if you’re not fully invested in the full diversity of my community in your print mag?

    2) Why would I expect differently after this:

    3) Do you actually know any trans* folks who refer to themselves as “the transgendered?” Get to know your readership or just stop pandering and limit your coverage entirely. Here are some resources — — start reading.

  • Leona Thomas

    Oh two things I forgot – I’m clearly in the Philly Mag target market since I regularly get requests to renew my subscription….and second – don’t hold your breath waiting for my next renewal

  • Jen D

    This new direction you’re headed in is unfortunately narrowly focused and (quite frankly) offensive. There isn’t another queer magazine for people specifically in Philadelphia and now you’re going to just focus on the gay men! You and other queer people in the city of brotherly love need to wake the f up and realize how isolated each segment of the community is – cordoned off into their own little corners, not knowing exactly how to make it better…well, things like this don’t make it better! You’re further distancing the l’s, b’s, and t’s not to mention all queer people OF COLOR from your magazine which is again, the only Philly-based publication of it’s kind. Tell me you couldn’t find a queer man of color in this city for the front of your publication! You aren’t doing your work…there are interesting, beautiful people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and experiences who are living and working and playing this city. By not including them, you’re part of the problem.

  • Heidi

    All the articles and things you say you publish on your blog sound more interesting than the dredge you have decided to publish in your magazine. This switch to male only focus is horribly offensive to the community. Maybe you should change the name from G-philly to Men Only because obviously it doesn’t represent the gay community in Philadelphia.

  • Derick Wilson

    So your one token Black model cancels and that is your justification for why there is no diversity at all in the pages of the magazine? Are there no Black, gay owned restaurants you could have profiled? Are there no Black, gay bachelors that sit at the ends of bars? Are there no get away places where Black, gay men like to go? Are there no Black, gay men with well appointed domiciles? The patronizing attempt to insulate yourself from attack regarding diversity through adding Black eye candy that can be objectified is horrifyingly insulting. I would respect you more if you just said “We cater to affluent, White gay males.” I would still think you racist but I would at least respect you for being forthright with it.

  • Nikki Lopez

    This is disappointing, upsetting and completely utterly disrespectful to the beautiful mosaic that is the lgbtq community in Philadelphia. It’s a blatant move of exclusivity showcasing that gay, white men are deemed “worthy” to print. The editor should basically say we want to put our dollars to gay white men. Perfect, I will put my dollars, time and efforts into business and organizations that acknowledge and CELEBRATE the array of people that make up Philly’s LGBTQ community.

  • Nicole K

    You think you appeal to a broad audience because you are advertising iPhone gadgets and where to eat out? This is the result of gay liberation: we can eat fancy food and play on our iphones and pretend like it’s one models fault that the only people who are important enough to publish in print are white men?

    This move is incredibly regressive and just plain wrong.

  • Joyce

    With your publication, you have an opportunity to highlight all of the amazing diversity of the LGBTQ community here in Philadelphia, and instead you’ve decided to perpetuate the same old divisive tropes that have separated many of us for years.

    I know I, for one, would happily put my dollars and reading time behind a magazine that showcased all of the community and I know others would as well. I hope you’ll reconsider your decision.

  • Wes

    So Philly Mag decided it hadn’t offended enough minorities this year? It’s bad enough you just voluntarily eliminated about 80% of your potential audience with a bunch of racist and sexist rhetoric, but you don’t even understand the audience you think you’re targeting.

    What’s remains of this magazine’s focus is on some sort of 90s gay male that doesn’t even exist anymore. Your sassy gay bent towards “simply fabulous” “chirls” doesn’t do much but offend the handful of potential readers you had left.

    I’d wish you luck but honestly, I hope this magazine and your parent company go away.

  • Monika

    Wow, this is terrible move. There are amazing L B and T folks out here and you’re going to miss out on some great articles. You don’t have to be everything to everyone, but this narrow(minded) focus is going to make you a whole lot less to rest of the community. Perhaps you should rename the magazine to Gay Men Only Philly, subtitle: and some vapid content.

  • M. Sinning

    I can’t believe that “Hey, Chirl!” is published in this magazine. The advice “Chirl” gives to the drag queen was spot on. However to go on boasting to “Catch 22,” about how he lives in Rittenhouse Square for free, and to tell someone who’s overweight to “back off the Ho Hos and get your fat ass to the gym…” is just offensive and perpetuates everything that’s wrong with the “gay community.”

    I can’t believe this schmuck is published by you guys. Instead of putting someone down like that, why doesn’t “Chirl” try to do their job and offer some sound advice. Maybe Chirl should try doing some research about venues that cater to bears before typing out the same stereotypical put downs that probably bog down the reader that was looking for advice in the first place.

    Your new “advice” column makes me question my subscription to your publication.

  • Lizz

    Wow. Way to be pro-privilege rather than pro-equality! A more appropriate title for this magazine would be Gaycist Quarterly…OMG isn’t that name just totes sassy?! It’s this vapid, self-centered ignorance so prevalent within the white gay male community that keeps all of us non-heteronormative folk from moving forward.