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Journalism and Publishing  
 
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In 1977, novelist and poet Felice Picano founded SeaHorse Press in New York City, which has published work by such authors as Dennis Cooper, Martin Duberman, Brad Gooch, and Doric Wilson. Subsequently, Picano collaborated with two other small gay presses to form the Gay Presses of New York, which has published among other notable titles Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy (1981) and Picano's own fictionalized memoir Ambidextrous (1985).

Also in 1977, Sasha Alyson founded Alyson Press in Boston. Alyson has published a large list of gay and lesbian formula fiction and nonfiction, including works specifically targeted to young adults, as well as reprints of gay and lesbian classics, such as Richard Meeker's Better Angel, which was originally published in 1933. Alyson has recently begun a line of books for children: Alyson Wonderland.

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The 1980s and 1990s

The 1980s and 1990s saw continued growth in gay and lesbian publishing. In Putting Out 1991: A Publishing Resource for Lesbian & Gay Writers, Edisol W. Dotson identified approximately 450 publishing outlets for gay and lesbian work.

In 1980, Felice Newman and Frédérique Delacoste established Cleis Press. Among the many glbtq presses founded in the 1970s and 1980s, it is the only one that is still owned and run by its founders. Originally a lesbian-feminist press, it is now more accurately categorized as a queer press, with a notably diverse list ranging from sex guides and erotica to lesbian mysteries and literary essays. It has reprinted classic pulps from the 1950s and has also published works by Virginia Woolf, Gore Vidal, and Edmund White.

Openly Gay and Lesbian Journalists

The acceptance of gay and lesbian writers and themes in the mainstream media is one of the most significant developments of our time. The most prominent of the openly gay journalists, Randy Shilts in San Francisco and Jeffrey Schmalz in New York, made gay issues the center of their reporting and writing. Shilts's And the Band Played On (1987) and Schmalz's AIDS reporting for the New York Times are landmarks in journalistic accounts of the AIDS epidemic.

Other breakthrough journalists include syndicated columnist Deb Price, whose column focusing on gay and lesbian issues, appears in such newspapers as the Detroit News, San Jose Mercury, Chicago Sun-Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, and David Sedaris, who appears regularly on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Among other significant works of gay journalism must be counted Shilts's The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (1982) and Conduct Unbecoming: Lesbians and Gays in the U.S. Military: Vietnam to the Persian Gulf (1993), as well as Edmund White's States of Desire: Travels in Gay America (1980), Frank Browning's The Culture of Desire: Paradox and Perversity in Gay Lives Today (1993) and Bruce Bawer's A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society (1993).

Mainstream Publishers Open to Gay and Lesbian Writers

Spurred on by openly gay and lesbian editors such as Bill Whitehead, Michael Denneny, and Carole DeSanti, some major publishing houses such as Crown, Dutton, and St. Martin's Press have been particularly open to gay and lesbian writers.

Similarly, university presses have aggressively sought manuscripts on gay and lesbian subjects, and new scholarly journals that welcome gay and lesbian studies have proliferated, including GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Genders, and differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.

Professional organizations in the publishing field have also been formed. The Publishing Triangle, with a membership of more than 600, is a group of lesbian and gay men in the publishing industry; whereas the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association comprises twelve chapters with a combined membership in excess of 800 members. Both groups are dedicated to bringing gay and lesbian issues to the public's attention.

Gay and Lesbian Publishing in the Heartland

One phenomenon of gay and lesbian publishing in the 1980s and 1990s was its encroachment into the American heartland. Among the significant literary journals founded in the 1980s, for example, a number were published on neither coast. Common Lives/Lesbian Lives began publishing in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1981; The James White Review was founded in Minneapolis in 1983; The Evergreen Chronicles in Minneapolis in 1985; and Tribe in Baltimore in 1987.

Tribe and James White Review concentrate on gay male creative writing, whereas Common Lives/Lesbian Lives focuses on lesbian creative writing, and The Evergreen Chronicles publishes both lesbian and gay male work.

Other important developments of the era include the founding of Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press by writers Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, and Cherríe Moraga in 1981 and the brief efflorescence of Out/Look, a serious quarterly that was published from San Francisco at the end of the 1980s and attempted to appeal to both lesbians and gay men and to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the gay and lesbian communities.

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