Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report
Euclid Media Group, the privately held media company formed in 2013 to acquire the San Antonio Current as well as three other alternative weekly publications, will debut its first new glossy magazine this November, Out in SA.
The free magazine will focus on San Antonio’s growing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The Current’s Publisher Michael Wagner is among the media company’s shareholders.
Euclid Media contacted long time San Antonio resident and journalist Elaine Wolff in January to begin development of the quarterly magazine and online publication. Wolff was made editor and publisher in February. The online edition is expected to launch in October.
“(Out in SA) will be tailored and designed for the LGBTQ community,” Wolff, a former editor of the Current (2006-10), said. “If we’re doing our job really well, it’ll cater to (straight) allies and people that want to learn more about the community as well.”
Wolff is assembling a team of local writers of varying expertise and experience for the glossy magazine. The list of contributors includes Sam Sanchez, Scott Andrews, Randy Bear, Ron Bechtol, Jade Esteban Estrada, Richard Farias, Lauryn Farris, Chrissy Garza, Dan Graney, Tom Jenkins, Greg Mannino, Will Muñiz, Tom Payton, Bryan Rindfuss, Bill Sibley, Amy Stone, Rita Urquijo-Ruiz, and Jeffrey Wright.
Inquiries from curious content creators are encouraged to contact email@example.com. Wolff is also accepting submissions of high-resolution photographs of “San Antonio’s LGBTQ community and allies for a special summer publication.”
Out in SA already has a Facebook page and Twitter presence in anticipation of its sponsorship of the local Human Rights Campaign chapter’s gala in early November and printed magazine launch later that month.
The new website, www.out-in-sa.com, is just a landing page for now for potential readers and contributors to sign up for a mailing list.
San Antonio native Sam Sanchez may be the most recognizable name in the LGBTQ news community as founder, publisher, designer and writer for QSanAntonio, a widely-read online media source solely dedicated to covering local LGBTQ issues and events. He started QSanAntonio in 2006 as an “intellectual exercise” after returning home from an almost 30-year career in publishing in New York to take care of his aging father. As a one-man-band, Sanchez said he welcomes the transition.
“It (QSanAntonio) became kind of a monster,” Sanchez said, laughing over the phone. “It consumes a lot of my time and most of it does not involve writing.”
Sanchez currently manages all aspects of the website, which will shut down sometime in September, including its event page, business directory, advertising, weekly digest, content, photography, etc.
“This (new arrangement) gives me more time in an environment where everything else I don’t like to do gets taken care of for me … and frees up time to write stories I’ve been meaning to,” he said.
The plan is to have Sanchez regularly posting on Out in SA’s new website by October.
Euclid Media will handle web-hosting, marketing, and advertising for Out in SA, allowing Wolff and other contributors/future staff to focus on content. The magazine will be funded by advertising and event revenues.
“It’s still important to preserve that line (between editorial and advertising departments),” Wolff said.
Out in SA will start with 250-300 stands citywide and build from there.
Politics, news analysis, home, lifestyle, fitness, profiles, and more – Out in SA plans to become a one-stop-shop for this niche market.
That’s where Wolff stops me – “niche market.”
“To me, it’s not a niche market,” she said. “We have made very significant gains and have a broader acceptance of (people who identify as) LGBTQ in San Antonio … being LGBTQ is a defining thing – it’s not the defining thing. It’s only niche if you think about one part of a person.”
Passage of the local non-discrimination ordinance, proliferation of gay marriage nationally, the overturning of the U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and increased media coverage of LBGTQ issues and controversies has led to a more accepting community in town. “San Antonio is a lot more liberal in (this) respect than most people realize,” she said, pointing to San Antonio’s substantial LGBTQ family population.
According to a 2012 report, “San Antonio has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children compared to any other major metropolis in the nation.”
Sanchez remembers a time when this statistic was unfathomable and offered another reason for the growth of the LGBTQ community.
“When I lived here (30 years ago) there was an LGBTQ community but nobody was out … it was still a closeted place,” he said.
Large corporations have moved to town, he said, bringing and hiring employees from all over the country.
“They (LGBTQ and ally employees) wanna see gay infrastructure,” he said. “It’s coming from people who have moved here from another place who are expecting more … (this) propelled the gay community out in to the open more.”
As the city rises, so does its LGBTQ community, Sanchez explained.
“But we don’t have a ‘gayborhood,’ ” Wolff said, noting that many large cities have a “gay district.” Sure there’s the North Main Avenue strip, but LGBT-frequented bars and restaurants does not a community make.
“When we talk about the LGBTQ community it’s really communities,” she explained. “We’re talking about a group that’s diverse economically, socially, (etc.) — not homogenous in any way, shape, or form.”
However, Wolff notes, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve equality. “Straight people take for granted the choices (they have) … building homes together, wealth together, building families together … everybody should have that choice.”
And those choices should be equal, not separate, from those heterosexuals enjoy.
She references a popular quote from comedian and author Liz Feldman: “I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch.”
“First and foremost, Out in SA is about San Antonio,” she said. San Antonio has a unique story to tell in terms of the LGBT community experience.
“A great magazine will speak to its readers as a whole,” she said. “That’s what civil rights is all about. It’s about accepting everybody as a whole into society.”
The San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce is also launching an online-only magazine, Inside Out San Antonio, on July 3, just days before the 2014 Pride “Bigger Than Texas” Festival and Parade on Saturday, July 5 at Crockett Park, 1300 N. Main Ave.
The monthly magazine will be accessible through a downloadable app for mobile phones and tablets.
Sanchez reports: “Ruby Resendez, president of the chamber, told QSanAntonio that the magazine would not be exclusively about chamber members’ businesses, saying the content would have an emphasis on promoting the LGBT community and its allies.”
Wolff, who graduated from St. Mary’s University with a degree in political science and spent a few years in Austin at KO.OP Radio, served on the board of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in the early ’90s, and currently serves on the board of Fiesta Cornyation. “(The latter of) which is actually far too fun to be called service,” Wolff stated in an email.
As for Plaza de Armas, the hyper-local, political news and insider chisme news website Wolff founded in early 2011 with local reporter Greg Jefferson, the indefinite publishing hiatus has become definite. The website, www.plazadearmastx.com, has been taken offline.
Wolff said she’ll miss the chisme, but not the tireless work days and nights.
“There will be an opportunity to do some of that here (for Out in SA),” she said, smiling.
Out in SA does not have a physical office yet, but staff can be reached at (210) 218 2151 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Featured/top image: Marriage equality supporters wave LGBT rainbow flags at Main Plaza in celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision that found Prop 8/DOMA unconstitutional in June 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.