LOOKING FOR ANOTHER place where tension is thick in the Portland queer community? Try the media.
Just Out has been the sole LGBT-focused print media outlet in Portland since at least the mid-1990s, but after mounting money troubles at the newspaper and its controversial call for Mayor Sam Adams' resignation in January, Portland has suddenly exploded with fresh queer media competition. In the last two months, a new glossy monthly mag and three web-based publications have sprung up, all of them jockeying for attention from Portland's LGBT population.
The coverage of the queer community in Just Out and in other "mainstream" papers was not cutting it for many Portlanders, says Geoff Watland, founder of new web-only publication New Queer Media (newqueermedia.com). Just Out's editorial against Sam Adams catalyzed Watland's decision to start up New Queer Media, but he also hopes his website can provide a dialogue that's entirely different from traditional papers by incorporating social networking.
West Duncan, a former reporter-turned-editor of queer start-up id Magazine (idmagazineor.com), agrees about Just Out.
"Portland needs more than one voice in queer media," says Duncan, who hopes to set id Magazine apart by incorporating community voices into the paper alongside professional staff writers. The magazine launched with a print run of 2,000 in mid-May and is planning to publish monthly.
Among the other start-up publications are QPDX.com, edited by former OregonLive.com columnist Alley Hector, and Keep Portland Queer, an online magazine-in-progress put together by Gay Rights Watch blogger Bryan Boyd.
Just Out Editor and Publisher Marty Davis says the new publications are just part of the business cycle. But, she acknowledges, this time around the causation seems clear. "Most of it seems to be a backlash against my stance on Sam Adams," says Davis.
Nevertheless, contrary to rumors of Just Out going out, according to Davis, the paper is here to stay.
"No one publication is going to be all things to all people—especially not in a gay community as diverse as Portland's."