last month, Gay Black Men News (GBMNews.com) folded.
It was a unique online eZine because it brought a perspective
of the news as it related specifically to gay men of African
its circulation was global.
Emerson, publisher and founder of GBMNews said: "We
are blessed with a large following of avant garde, artistic
people. While most of our site visitors are in the
USA, we have a good following around the globe. This we
believe is largely due to our global prospective and the
fact that the global people of color community are a priority
has operated this publication out of pocket. And while
clearly the cost of operation was prohibitive causing
the eZine to cease publication, another reason, according
to Emerson, is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
and queer (LGBTQ) communities of African descent's lack
of support for the online site.
folk don’t rally around and support their own. When GBMNews
started everyone rushed to it, but with the advent of
Facebook the attention had shifted." Emerson
told "Out in Jersey" reporter Antoine Craigwell.
didn’t have a groundswell of support for the site and
for the newspapers as I thought it should have had from
the community. As a community, we don’t seem to work together
and support each other as a collective, and as a result,
it collapses,” Emerson stated.
November 2009, when the "Washington Blade" folded,
the nation's oldest LGBTQ weekly, soon after it's
40th Anniversary, it sent a message about this era of
digitized news, and the nation’s growing interest in Facebook.
Emerson's statement that LGBTQ people of African descent
don't support their own cannot be summarily dismiss as
Emerson's anger and bitterness for having to close shop.
Rather his statement speaks about our black LGBTQ’s history
of not financially supporting projects that are beneficial
of us sit in these homophobic churches and put money in
the offering plate. Surely we can send money toward a
healthy goal, Glen Glover of Roslindale stated.
of race, gender expression, and sexual orientation invite
a particular type of news reporting. One
of the biggest losses will be the unreported and underreported
news of our lives. GBMNews did local, national and international
coverage of us.
lack of financial support from the black LGBTQ community
has contributed substantial to all the print and online
black LGBTQ publications folding. I've had the pleasure
of writing for all these magazines but sadly my tenure
with these zines were short-lived
2007, GBMNews was founded, an all-volunteer
contribution site devoted to the LGBTQ community of color, by Ralph Emerson. In
2009, Emerson launched GBMMagazines and in 2010, he launched
RadioGBM, a ground breaking Internet radio station with
exceptional coverage of the music industry and emerging
artists. I joined GBMNews in December 2009 when Emerson
wrote, " I noticed your article submissions
and I’m contacting in hopes that you will become a regular
GBMNews contributor. I am certain our site visitors
would enjoy your journalistic dispatches, your opinions,
analysis and distinctive observations." But this
November 28th GBMNews, GBMMagazines and RadioGBM shut
its doors for good. "I’m going to take a few months
off to think about my next direction. I’ve toyed for years
with starting an arts business,” Emerson stated
2000 Arise was founded by Glenn Alexander and the Rev.
MacArthur H. Flournoy, Associate Director of the Religion
and Faith Program @ HRC. The publication's readership
was the same gender loving community of people
of African descent. Its mission was "to challenge
the mind, encourage the sprit and affirm the value of
all sexually diverse people of African descent."
November 2003 the paper celebrated its 3rd Anniversary
of publication, and had become a national icon for the
African American LGBTQ community. Sadly a month later,
"Arise folded. In an email blast to "Arise"
supporters, the publishers wrote, "Despite our best
efforts to remain in print, it has become cost prohibitive
to continue to produce ARISE as we know it. It is not
our desire to compromise its quality to remain in existence. Therefore,
effective immediately we are closing the pages of ARISE
Magazine." Eight months since the decision was made
to close the pages of ARISE, a relaunch issue was
slated for January 2004, but that too failed.
1990's Venus Magazine was founded by Charlene Cothran, a
publication that for 13 years targeted the Black LGBTQ
community. As a staple in the African-American community,
Venus Magazine was the first and only queer magazine owned
and operated by a black lesbian that spoke to and about
the unique intersections of being black and LGBTQ in both
the African-American and white queer communities. And
Venus' loyal readership had hoped the magazine would do
for its queer population what revered publications like
Ebony and Jet magazines did for all people of the African
Diaspora - that is, change society's negative and misinformed
perceptions about us.
E. Cothran sent shock waves throughout African-American
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities nationwide
when she wrote an article entitled, "REDEEMED! 10
ways to get out of 'The Life' if you want out!" In
it, she wrote that she's now not only "saved,"
having turned her life over to Jesus, but "straight"
as a fledgling magazine with the threat of folding always
hanging over its head, Cothran opted to take financial
support in 2007 from black churches funded by white right-wing
Christian organizations that emphasize "reparative
therapies." In fact, she opted to be her own magazine's
"ex-gay" poster girl, rather than let the magazine
of us who read GBMNews will feel its absence, hopefully
remembering why it's not here with us.
Editorial Board member, the Rev. Irene Monroe, is a religion
columnist, theologian, and public speaker. She is the Coordinator of
the African-American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and
Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at the Pacific
School of Religion. A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a
graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological
Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor
at an African-American church before coming to Harvard
Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow. She
was recently named to MSNBC’s list of 10 Black Women You Should Know. Reverend Monroe is the author
of Let Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible
Prayers for Not’So’Everyday Moments. As an African-American
feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society
that is frequently invisible. Her website is
to contact the Rev. Monroe.