The first issue of the Los Angeles Blade is a great opportunity for our sisters and brothers on the West Coast to appreciate all that nearly 50 years of East Coast publishing experience can bring to a community. With this new publication and its online availability the rest of the country will have the opportunity to appreciate the exciting things always happening in the LGBTQIA community in California. After all, we are one nation and we need to be connected and there is no better way to do that than having a Blade on both coasts.
Angelenos reading the Los Angeles Blade’s first edition need to know the history of the LGBT community has been written about and preserved on the pages of the Washington Blade, which is now in the process of being digitized for easy access by all. The New York Times dubbed the Washington Blade the “LGBT paper of record” and now the new Los Angeles Blade will be enhancing that record.
I have been honored to be a columnist for the Washington Blade for many years writing on both local and national issues from D.C. mayoral races, to Congress, presidential elections, to the ‘alternate universe’ we now find ourselves in with the Trump administration. My columns continued to appear even during the short period of time when the previous Blade owners declared bankruptcy. That was a difficult but exciting time at the Blade and for a short period the paper was actually published under the name DC Agenda. But the history and value of the Blade were recognized by the whole community, gay and straight, which supported it in every way including donating money and other resources to keep it alive. With the leadership of the three amazing people who form the current ownership team, the Blade continues to be the paper of record for the LGBT community. Lynne Brown, Kevin Naff and Brian Pitts formed Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, and award-winning journalists like Lou Chibbaro Jr. and Chris Johnson stayed with the Blade because they understood how much the community relied on their reporting. Together with others they ensured the paper would continue to publish and continue to write about and serve our community.
Today, our community like other minority communities, is again under attack. After eight years when we made incredible advances there are many in power who would like to turn back the clock. If they had their druthers we would go back into the closet and once again disappear. For some reason we frighten them. We face hostile members of state legislatures, governors, members of Congress and a president who says he wants to protect us then rescinds guidance from the Obama administration supporting the transgender community. We have a vice president who once suggested we take money designated to fight HIV/AIDS and shift it to support conversion therapy.
The Los Angeles Blade will afford the opportunity for new voices to be heard and for those of us in the rest of the nation to hear from those on the front lines in California. After all so many ideas and trends that start in California will eventually make their way across the nation. California is the home of 39.5 million Americans and while the Electoral College doesn’t give Californians the clout they should have this new Blade will make sure the LGBT community in California has a strong journalistic voice.
I am on the planning committee for the June 11 Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, D.C., and it was exciting to see a FB page hosted by Brian Pendleton and others saying the annual Pride Parade in LA would be turned into a sister protest march with thousands already committed to attend. I look forward to the Los Angeles Blade covering this, and reading about what led up to it and more about it in the pages of the publication. As we meet regularly to plan the details of the national march, excitement is being built and spreading as it did with the Women’s March and sister marches are being planned around the world.
The voice of the LGBTQIA community is strong and vibrant. We will not be stopped until the members of our community, especially those who are more marginalized today, have all their rights and can live openly and safely everywhere in the world.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.