by Joe Siegel
News editors and publishers of LGBTQ publications across the nation have selected the presidential candidacy of South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and the violence against members of the trans community as the top news stories of 2019.
“Mayor Pete, who is friends with West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Horvath, came to West Hollywood for a ‘meet & greet’ at a local bar four days after his breakout showing at the CNN town hall at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas in March,” recalled Karen Ocamb, news editor at the Los Angeles Blade. “He was smart, inspiring and said he knew how to stand up to Trump because he has dealt with bullies before. He was very impressive and said he had a ‘narrow path’ to victory, which he has since been following.”
Ocamb also noted two major local and regional stories from the year that are still ongoing.
|Mayor Pete Buttigieg
“Regionally, we extensively covered the Democrats flipping the long red Republican seats in Orange County and San Diego that helped Democrats win the House of Representatives. Now the Democrats have to defend those seats in 2020 in purple territory, including the seat unexpectedly vacated by popular bisexual Rep. Katie Hill,” said Ocamb.
Andrew Davis, publisher of Chicago’s Windy City Times, agreed that Buttigieg’s “historic presidential run warranted plenty of coverage from us.”
But, he noted, “We do pride ourselves on being a local LGBT newspaper, of course, and there were several big local items that became national ones, such as the Jussie Smollett case “ — the “Empire” actor who alleged to have been the victim of a hate crime — and the election of Lori Lightfoot, who is the first LGBTQ mayor in Chicago.”
Mark Segal, publisher of Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), said the biggest national stories of the year were “Mayor Pete and the number of trans killings still unsolved around the nation.”
Jess Bryant, PGN editor, added, “I agree with Mark about Pete Buttigieg and the trans murders, especially those still unsolved. I think Stonewall 50 coverage may be up there with Mayor Pete. I suppose I’d add the wave of LGBTQ candidates being elected in different offices across the country and locally, hate crimes on the rise nationally, the trans military ban and the bathroom bill, finally ending with an LGBTQ victory.”
According to Tammy Nashe, managing editor of Dallas Voice, “The biggest national story we’ve covered this year has been the violence against transgender people, especially trans women of color. That was also the biggest local story, too, because four of the 22 transgender people murdered this year were murdered in Texas, two of them in Dallas in less than a month’s time.”
Nashe said that since the murder of Chynal Lindsey in Dallas the first weekend in June, another trans woman, Daniela Calderon-Rivera, was shot six times by a man shouting anti-trans slurs.
“Although she survived, she was critically injured and still struggling to recover emotionally, mentally and physically,” said Nashe. “We have also had another trans woman who went missing here. In September, just before Daniela was shot, Pauline DelMundo, who lives in Florida, went missing from DFW International Airport during a layover on her way to Cozumel. She still has not been found, as far as I know.”
Peter Frycki, publisher of Out in Jersey, said, the biggest story for his publication has been “the continued assault on LGBTQ people by the Trump administration and the religious freedom arguments running through our court system. The support of the Trump administration to deny civil rights to LGBTQs is fuelling the evangelical anti-LGBTQ movement. Out In Jersey has been following how Trump and the more conservative courts are reversing a majority of the rules and regulations that the Obama administration put in place to protect LGBTQs.”
Frycki said the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots was also a major news story.
“Here in New Jersey, we had a plethora of new LGBTQ Pride festivals, rainbow flag raisings, celebrations, awards, and other events that were just about everywhere,” Frycki added. “It seemed during the summer and fall months that almost every city and town was celebrating LGBTQ Pride in some new and more public way.”