G Philly’s New Editor: A Welcome

Ernest Owens reintroduces the LGBTQ community to G Philly — and G Philly to the community.

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Allow me to reintroduce myself: My name is Ernest.

Ernest Owens — born in Chi-Town, I grew up in H-Town. Now I’m living in Philly … so hype to be here at G Philly!

It’s 2016, and I was born in 1991. Yes, this year I will be turning 25 and will also be celebrating my sixth year living in the “City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection.” My experience has been quite the journey, to say the very least. I’m a Penn grad whose been blessed to have my work published in The Huffington Post, USA Today, Metro US, The Advocate, and countless others. I even have my own television talk show at Philly CAM.

However, being an openly black gay man, neither my Ivy League degree nor respectability excludes me from sometimes feeling rejected from what is this expansive LGBTQ community in Philly. I have faced discrimination at bars in the Gayborhood (yes, I was the one who wrote about Woody’s).

However, we can’t ignore the circumstances that cause such disconnect. The LGBTQ community in Philly is often divided by age, gender, race, and socioeconomic class. If you aren’t an older, white, cisgender, upper-middle-class man living in Center City — this publication and many similar ones weren’t fully invested in appealing to you.

That was then; this is now.

Allow me to reintroduce this section – its name is G Philly.

This space is devoted to progressing the community. And when I refer to community, I mean that G Philly will foster an inclusive environment that strives to cover various topics and identities within it simultaneously.

As one who knows what it feels like to be on the outside looking in, my goal is to eradicate this problem by welcoming various voices, events, and perspectives to participate in this L-G-B-T-Q community.

It’s not simply just about improving diversity, but accurately depicting what LGBTQ life really looks like in Philadelphia.

Lesbian lives matter. Gay lives matter. Bisexual lives matter. Transgender lives matter. Queer lives matter. And all of these lives matter, whether white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American, or interracial in whichever gender identity and sexual expression they personally choose.

That’s what this community actually looks like and will now be reflected in this section’s news coverage each and every day.

You can count on me as the curator of this content to provide the most variety, complexity, and inclusiveness you have ever experienced on G Philly or any other gay publication in this city.

I know this because I’ve been there. I think and complain about these problems like a reader, while focusing and troubleshooting them as a writer.

To describe my plan for this publication in a nutshell is simple: I’m here to open new doors while improving the quality of them along the way.

But I can’t do this alone.

I want you, the reader, to get active and spread the word. I know more than just one sector of our community reads this publication, and I want to know who you are! If you have a story to tell, an event worth attending, or an op-ed that the community must read immediately – please e-mail me at gphilly@phillymag.com right away!

I’m on all social media, and my Twitter is @MrErnestOwens. Make sure to follow G Philly on all of our social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

Your creativity and involvement will help determine how well the community as a whole gets depicted. We must collectively work together to bring more voices to the table to guarantee balance.

Intersectionality – the recognition of various identities and the individual issues they possess within the larger cause – will be the power that ensures this community is built to last. So look for difference, embrace originality, and coexist peacefully.

One of my favorite Pennsylvanians and LGBTQ icons, Bayard Rustin, once said, “we need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.”

Here’s to a new legacy of angelic troublemakers and spirited allies.

Allow me to reintroduce our community – its name is G Philly.