One of the world’s leading gay magazines, Gay Times is relaunching for a new generation. Get an exclusive look inside the relaunch issue.
Founded in 1984, Gay Times has grown to become one of the most well known – and widely read – gay publications in the world. But the times they are a changin’. While I don’t believe the doom and gloom predictions of the total demise of print media, the impacts of the internet and social media have been huge for gay magazines.
We’ve become a generation that expects instant access to information – and we don’t want to pay for it. How can a magazine possibly compete with that?
By the time it goes to print, the information contained within it might already be outdated. And then of course, printing’s not free. Nor is hiring writers, designers, editors, as well as the cost of distributing the physical copies of the magazine all around the world.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. And Gay Times magazine isn’t ready to be booted to the relics of history pile just yet. Even before they relaunched in November 2017, they were already pivoting – and embracing – the opportunities that new technologies and new media can bring. They do after all have the largest social media audience of any LGBT+ publication in the world.
This isn’t just a superficial relaunch either. Sure, they could have just updated their website and hired a couple of millennials to handle their social media, and left it at that. But I don’t actually think that would have worked in the long-term. People are pretty savvy these days and can spot something fake or disingenuous a mile away.
Instead, Gay Times have opened up their entire approach – not just to the platforms they use, but more importantly (in my opinion at least), to the type of content they’ll be creating and curating.
Because what’s happened as a by-product of social media in particular, is that diversity of thought and opinion has become democratised. In the ’80s, magazines and media could set the agenda. They were the dominant voices because they were in essence, the only voices.
Today, everyone’s on social media and can share their thoughts with the world in an instant. Obviously, this has negatives (such as trolling and online hate in general), but it also has a few positives too. Chief among them is that these days, diversity isn’t just a buzzword, it’s simply a reflection of our reality.
Gay men aren’t all white, muscled, tanned and under 25. Such stereotypical depictions and characterisations don’t wash with us, because it’s not what we know life to be. We’re all different ages, sizes, shapes, colours – and we see that online and on social media all the time. We’re increasingly expecting to see it reflected from our media too.
Any brand that doesn’t reflect back to its audience at least a partial acknowledgement of this diversity, will quite simple, be replaced with one that does.
And that’s what this relaunch of Gay Times does so well. It gets that. And because it gets that, it really feels like a genuine attempt to become broader and more inclusive, and by doing so, reaching a new generation of readers.
I wish them all the success in the world. This article is I guess me playing my own small role in showing my support to them. I hope you guys enjoy it!
I’d also strongly recommend checking out the Gay Times website and having a look around it. It might not be your cup of tea – and that’s fine. Or you might really love it and decide you want to support it.
Remember, it’s not just about buying magazines (although that definitely helps). You can get involved in a number of different ways. You can signup to their newsletter. You can join in their conversations on social media. You can even reach out to them and contribute an article idea, or let them know of a topic you’d like them to cover.
Anyways, here’s your exclusive sneak peek into the Gay Times relaunch issue!
Gay Times Relaunch – Boy George Cover Story
In the relaunch issue, you’ll discover Boy George in conversation with Adam Lambert.
George speaks about his upcoming Las Vegas residency show, releasing new music with Culture Club and finding inspiration. He also talks about his love for collaboration and reflects on how life has changed since he first covered Gay Times 30 years ago.
Here are just a few snippets from that interview:
On his upcoming Las Vegas residency show:
“We are going to try and build a show in Vegas. I don’t really know whether it’s going to be like an extravaganza [or] whether it’s going to be something more of a one man show. So at the moment we are meeting with various people to sort of see what the view is. I am probably going to perform with guests.”
On recording new Culture Club music:
“At the moment, the next thing is the Culture Club record which we sort of half did over the last two years. We are also updating the records and this week we have been writing. It’s been such fun, I have to say we’ve laughed a lot.
Bands are like families; you don’t really choose who is in your family and often you do not choose who is in your band. You end up with a group of people that you often have zero in common with and you kind of have to learn over the years to let people be who they are. It’s the trick of life!”
On finding inspiration to write new music:
“You have to go out and listen to what people are saying and observe and for me, as a writer, I write my best stuff when I’m trawling around.
I don’t have to be on the bus — I could get a helicopter [laughs] but I like that mad contradiction. One night you’re doing a massive gig to 20,000 people and then you’re on your way to Waitrose to get some pickled gherkins!”
On his desire to collaborate with people he hasn’t yet had the chance to do so:
“Well Bowie was the big one. That was a real big dream of mine. I met him a few times and he was adorable and he knew that I was a massive fan. He was very respectable, he was always lovely!
I like the idea of doing things with people that you don’t expect. I’d like to work with Eminem or Dr Dre, or something that that just shouldn’t happen. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work.”
Interview with James Frost – Gay Times Owner
I recently had the chance to speak with James Frost, the publisher and owner of Gay Times. We chatted about the relaunch of the magazine, as well as the importance of celebrating diversity and using social media – for good.
Check out our chat below!
Little Gay Blog – Congratulations on the relaunch of Gay Times. As one of the world’s longest running gay magazines, it’s great that you’re embracing change to reach even more people. What are some of the things you’d like to achieve with the relaunch of the magazine
James – Our heritage has always been incredibly important to us, however we’re acutely aware that a brand such as ours needs to evolve and adapt. Our main focus now is to embrace the diversity of the LGBTQ community and amplify their voices.
Inside the pages of the new Gay Times, you’ll find stories and experiences from people in every pocket of our vast and varied community.
You’re still in the early days of the re-launch, but I’m interested to know what the response has been like so far?
As with any drastic change, we’ve had a mixed bag of responses. We’ve been so grateful to the community for their support and acknowledgement of what we’re setting out to achieve, and trust that as we continue to showcase diversity and inclusivity we’ll reach a new audience that may have been, sadly, neglected until now.
I LOVE your renewed focus on featuring up and coming talent. A cultural and artistic renaissance is happening in our community (across drag, art, blogging, fashion and so much more), that it’s great to know that it will be receiving the attention it deserves. How will you be sourcing new talent, and how can people get in touch with Gay Times to let you know about something new and underground?
This is one of the most exciting aspects of our relaunch. We’ve been overwhelmed with the calibre of content that our community has to offer, and it has been our pleasure to feature it in the magazine.
For our first issue, our team sent out feelers to our own communities in order to source unheard voices. As we continue, we’ll be looking for all manner of individuals to contribute – all enquiries can be sent to [email protected].
How important is social media and engaging with fans on social channels to Gay Times?
Gay Times has the largest social media following of any LGBTQ publication in the world, so it’s incredibly important to us.
As we all know, social media can also serve to lend a platform to more negative voices, so we’ll continue to filter what we read and respond to so that we can be inclusive and respectful to all.
And lastly, what would you say to someone who’s never read a copy of Gay Times to encourage them to pick it up and have a read?
We’ve got a fresh look, and fresh content featuring shared experiences from queer people all over the world and we’re confident that everyone will find something among the pages of the new and improved Gay Times.
A sneak peak into the Gay Times Relaunch Issue
Gay Times magazine have kindly allowed me to share even more of the relaunch issues with you guys. So, here’s an even bigger sneak peek of what you can expect from their relaunch issue!
Florida-based diver and social media star Aidan Faminoff discusses his decision to share his coming out story and explains why he sees himself as a role model. Florida’s newest diving star talks about why he chose to share his coming out story and why he considers himself to be a role model.
“I am young but I would consider myself a role model. I have received a lot of positive feedback on social media about how they relate to my story and that I have inspired them”
Aidan also talks about the stigma around homosexuality that still (unfortunately) exists in sport:
“First off, I think they need to be in a comfortable and welcoming environment. Also, I think to be an openly gay athlete, society has to change. If society is not supporting of “non-normative” relationships, then why would they come out?”
Designer and artist Scott Ramsay Kyle is widely recognised for his eye-catching stitch work, which involves embroidering onto 70s porn.
Gay Times meet him at his East London studio where he talks about his extensive vintage porn collection, his creative process and his upcoming t-shirt collaboration with designer, Ashish.
On whether porn blurs the lines between fantasy and reality:
“Even before porn, the question referred first to the difference between expectation versus reality in terms of participating in a sexual act. As for porn, it was mostly always based on creative a fantasy indeed.”
With his brand Wacky Wacko being work by the likes of Miley Cyrus, an impressive art portfolio and a string of bangers released through his band Hunx and his Punx, Seth Bogart is a creative with many strings to his bow.
Gay Times meets him at his studio in Los Angeles to discuss his ever-evolving artistry, his inspiration and his imminent return to music.
Ron Dorff speaks to the brand’s co-founder Claus Lindorff.
On why the brand appeals to gay men:
“As very often is the case, gay men are the first ones to pick up a new trend or a new brand and this has very much been the case with RON DORFF too”
On why they decided to open a store in the UK:
“London is very much THE happening capital in Europe (yes, despite a possible Brexit) and people come from all over Europe to see what’s going on here”
The issue also features a selection of personalised essays penned by individuals from every corner of the LGBTQ community. So, be sure to check it out!
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