When I had just recently come out, I was looking for a sense of fellowship and shared experience with other gay people like me. It was nothing sexual about it, not even a need to meet other people. Quite the opposite, actually. I was still somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of being gay, as I had not thought of myself in that way until fairly recently, at the same time that I felt a growing sense of pride in my newfound identity. I joined the message boards at Chadzboyz, only to slowly drift away. My first firm impression of what it means to be a young gay man, I got from the British gaymag Attitude Magazine.
I bought my first issue back in March 2007 – it was the annual Youth Issue, in which I was introduced to E4’s then upcoming Skins, and the picture site Famous Males Forums -, after having spent weeks working up the courage to pick it up at my local news agent, for fear that someone should for some reason quiz me about why I bought a gay magazine. They didn’t, of course, and when I bought the Sex Issue two months later, I had only minor such fears. I guess I had grown as a gay in only those short months.
Attitude and I immediately hit it off. It was exactly the kind of unabashed, self-conscious gay journalism I was looking for; charming, witty, unafraid and with the right mix of light lifestyle pieces, pointed culture criticism, and an eye on the political reality in a variety of countries. To outsiders, Attitude might seem a little in narrow in its scope, but for me, that was just what I hoped it would be. Here you had an entire magazine dedicated to people like me, with none of the shame that usually come with it! Attitude regularly features exceptionally well-written interviews with pop culture people important to the gay scene, like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kylie Minogue and Rufus Wainwright, and also has a wonderful segment named ‘Any Queries?’, in which reader submit questions, often making the interviewing something far more exciting and unpredictable than your average promotional interview. In its recent issues, it has also published brilliant pieces on the state of gay rights in Australia, the gay implications of the race for Mayor of London, and discussed who of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama would be best for gay right in the United States.
Something was lacking, however, if Attitude were to take a leap toward a complete gay experience. Amid turmoil with its publishing (among other things resulting in the absence of a July issue last year), the magazine’s website was taken down, and it was not reintroduced until this Monday, June 9th. I have signed up as a member, and I’m happy that they plan to preview some of the print content (living in Norway, the magazine is not available for sale until approximately two weeks after it’s UK release date). The ‘video’ section of the site seems a little dull yet, and I am not a fan of spaces highlighting random YouTube clips, but hopefully this will all improve in time.
This blog, and my presence at QueerAttitude means that I no longer am starved for gay sites on the web, but that of course doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that Attitude is back online. Will I be seeing you around?
I used to love Attitude and still occasionally buy it, but Gay Times and AXM and the expensive but oh so sexy DNA are far more visually alluring. Gay Times also provides a more eclectic range of interviews and content!.
I dont buy any gay magazines (well, only once a year maybe). I have read Attitude, but it seemed to be aimed at teenage girls with photo shoots and storylines about older women soaps stars. Maybe I need to re-read it.
I think that perhaps I just dont care about being part of a the gay crowd. I’m just me and don’t tend to fit, or want to fit any “type” that the magazines seem to promote.
But, having said that, each to his own.
I get your point, to a certain point. I’m not exactly wild about their obsession with Will Young-like pop stars and such, but they’re better at the more serious gay-themed stuff than the occasional flip-through might suggest. And Johann Hari simply is one terrific scribe.