An Open Letter To ‘Men’s Health’ Magazine

Men's HealthDear Men’s Health,

I’m a long-term, loyal subscriber. I love your magazine and get lots of useful, useable information every issue.

As a guy in my 30s, it’s a great source of information (that I can actually try and apply in my own life), as well as inspiration.

I don’t have any aspirations/delusions about ever becoming a Men’s Health cover model. But since moving out of the city and having to drive 30 mins to my nearest gym, your mag provides me with the motivation I sometimes need to get into my car in the first place.

So, I love Men’s Health. I really do. But while I love you guys, in the few years I’ve been a reader and subscriber, I haven’t felt the love back. It feels like you guys don’t see me, a gay guy, at all. It’s like the whole the “gay issue” is completely whitewashed from the pages of your magazine.

So, I thought I’d write to you to let you know that a) gay guys do exist- and b) we read Men’s Health magazine!


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What I’d like to see Men’s Health do

In a nutshell what I’d like to see Men’s Health do is to just occasionally have a little bit of gay-related content. The key words here are words are occasionally and a little bit.

I don’t expect to see gay-related content in every single edition of Men’s Health magazine. That’s not why I read the magazine. It wouldn’t be appropriate given what the magazine is about, and it wouldn’t fit in with your core audience. I get that.

But what I would like to see is something, even a small sign of something, that at least acknowledges that there are gay guys who read their magazine, and cater just slightly to that. Just a little bit of gay-related content every once in a while, is all I’m asking for.

Here are a few ideas to show you what I mean:

What about occasionally (say just once or twice a year), running a gay-related article? There are a lot of interesting and topical issues where sports, nutrition, exercise and gay issues intersect. Why not take the lead as Australia’s leading health magazine and explore some of them?

Off the top of my head, there’s the No to Homophobia campaign happening in AFL. Or Ian Thorpe’s recent coming out could service as a catalyst to interview some of the world’s top sports psychologists to examine how mental and emotional issues can impact sports/exercise performance. Or you could highlight some of the great work (straight) sportsmen like Ben Cohen are doing for LGBT rights through his Stand Up Foundation.

Or how about running stories on issues that affect all men (like say depression) and just incorporating a paragraph or two about depression and its impact on gay men into the article? See, it doesn’t have to be “all about the gays”. In this way the “gay issue” can simply be a small part of a larger article. Those readers who aren’t gay won’t get offended, but those who are will really appreciate it.

Or how about occasionally using slightly less gender specific language? It’s just as easy to use words like “partner” as opposed to “girlfriend” or “them” as opposed to “her”. Even a small change like this would give your gay readers a bit of a look in, and make us feel a bit more included in the conversation.

Or (and this would be my one thing I’d personally really like to see in the magazine, but I left it to last for altruistic reasons), how about seeing a gay reader submitting a question to the “Ask the girls in the office column”? The possible scenarios here are endless, and could prove to be entertaining, funny and even enlightening.

Like I said, I’m not asking for a lot of content, just some. Even just a little would be great. Just please keep it real, and stereotype free. We get enough gay stereotypes on Modern Family, thanks.


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Why I think Men’s Health should do it

Men’s Health is a business, and in 2014, it’s a miracle that any media-related business is able to make money. So, I’m not suggesting that Men’s Health do anything to alienate their audience or advertisers, and jeopardise their revenue capacity.

I just think that by including just a little bit more gay-related content in your magazine, it might actually benefit your bottom line.

Sure, maybe only a very small percentage of your audience is actually gay. But the majority of your straight audience probably at least know a family member, friend or colleague who is gay. It’s therefore something that more and more people are not only cool with, but also experience in some way in their own lives.

“Gay issues” aren’t the publishing poison they may once have been. In fact, given that support for issues such as marriage equality in Australia is currently at an all-time high, gay issues are becoming mainstream. They’re popular, they attract an audience (especially online virally and on social media networks) which can lead to more engagement, more clicks, more readers, more magazine purchases, more advertisers and more subscriptions.

And ultimately, doesn’t that make good business sense?…

Men’s Health, I will continue to be a loyal subscriber of your magazine. Like I said, I get so much out of it each month. It would just be so nice and really, really cool, if you could perhaps take some of what I’ve said on board.

Show your gay readers that you see us and that you know we exist. Throw a little content our way, and we’ll throw a lot of love right back at ya!

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