Supporting A Mission No Less Urgent

BY TROY MASTERS | As we begin the New Year, it’s gratifying to look back on the astonishing victory last June of marriage equality. Backed by a crack team of advocates, the extraordinary leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the courage of four Republican state senators who joined 29 of their 30 Democratic colleagues, victory was secured in the first six months of a new administration in Albany.

The massive national media coverage of this victory spoke volumes about its importance to the movement coast to coast.

Still, we have no illusions that the community’s work, even on the issue of marriage, is anywhere near done. Without action by the US government or the courts, no legal same-sex marriage will enjoy the significant rights and benefits provided through federal recognition of our unions. As evidenced by the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending DOMA in court and the extraordinary speech on global LGBT rights delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month, we continue to build on our progress in Washington first accelerated in a big way less than 13 months ago with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

None of us needs reminding, I trust, at how vulnerable our tentative advances in DC will be come November 6.

Here in New York, our agenda has always been broader than marriage equality. In Albany, the next tasks ahead of us are passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), finally extending basic civil rights protections to transgender New Yorkers, and a stepped up commitment to battling homelessness among the most vulnerable of our youth.

In City Hall, at the State Capitol, and in Washington, we must renew our push to ensure that the health and social service needs of our community — on AIDS, on breast cancer, for at-risk and bullied youth, and for our seniors — are addressed in an effective, culturally appropriate, and adequately funded manner.

At a time when the traditional media — print publications, in particular — face such enormous financial pressures, I am proud of Gay City News’ resilience and success in staying on top of the stories that matter. This past year has been the strongest in our decade-long history, and that has certainly freed up my mind to focus on the editorial job the newspaper should be doing.

None of our success would be possible without the support of the team here at Community Media.

Our publisher John Sutter has been steadfast in his commitment to building a news source worthy of New York’s vital and diverse LGBT community. Associate publisher Troy Masters has devoted a quarter of a century to ensuring that the gay media survives and thrives in this city.

Special thanks also go to our design team of Mark Hasselberger and Vince Joy for executing a compelling redesign of the newspaper that is visually beautiful and also sensitive to the nuanced interplay of content and style.

It is always difficult for me to adequately convey my debt to the contributing writers and photographers who work with unparalleled talent, commitment, and passion to make Gay City News what it is every issue. Duncan Osborne, who stepped in for me so I could grab two weeks out of New York this past summer, has for the life of this enterprise been unflagging in his commitment to the newspaper’s mission.

Space precludes my singling out the others who have also made extraordinary contributions to these pages. Suffice to say that whether it’s politics, crime, health, the law, or commentary or dance, theater, film, opera, books, or visual art, I am always proud of the product we are able to produce.

There is no guarantee that even an LGBT community as large as New York’s will have a thriving and intelligent print media, and fulfilling that promise is the joint work of all these contributors.

Finally, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do unless we could count on a readership that is discerning in what it expects and engaged in the community around them. We do our best to serve an extraordinarily eclectic audience and are mindful that there really is never enough that we can do.

We hope you will trust in our determination to keep at it — and will let us know where we could be doing more.

Happy New Year!