25 years of bilingual magazine Adelante

by Al Ballesteros
(Al Ballesteros is co-publisher of Los Angeles-based Adelante Magazine. The following editorial appeared in its June 2023 issue and appears here with permission.)

Collage of 25 years of Adelante covers created by the magazine

Adelante Magazine celebrates 25 years of publishing this month. This is a significant milestone and we believe Adelante is the longest-running LGBTQ bilingual Spanish and English monthly magazine in the United States. We are very thankful to our readers, writers, models, artists, photographers, advertisers and other supporters who have helped make this happen.

In May 1998, a group of volunteers (Pepe Torres, Enrique Romero and Al Ballesteros) started Adelante to create a gay community magazine that would provide AIDS education to the gay, bi Latino community. Twenty-five years ago, information about the HIV epidemic including places to get tested and those providing free or low-cost treatment in Latino communities was not adequately covered in the LGBTQ media. The general mainstream media were not an option to reach the community. A major gap existed in information to the community.

The name Adelante was chosen because it means “progress.” Adelante Magazine exists to contribute to the progress of the LGBTQ Latino community. Every month the magazine has been distributed free to the community and made possible by advertisers and volunteer writers. As Adelante published monthly issues, it quickly added additional areas of interest suggested by the community, writers and readers. Community events, general news, politics, celebrity interviews and artists reviews became regulars.

Over these last 25 years, we believe we have stayed true to our original goals to educate the community about HIV. In every issue produced, Adelante has provided HIV and AIDS information aimed at prevention, testing, care and treatment.

We are thankful to our long-term writers and contributors: Our resident DJ and Music Reviewer, DJ Rubín has been writing his column for almost all 25 years. DJ Rubin has kept us up-to-date with the music scene with the Top 20 Chart just about since the beginning.

Dr. Daniel Pearce, DO, has been writing the Ask the Doctor section with information about physical, mental health and whole person care for more than 20 years. Thank you Dr. Pearce for caring about the community’s health and bringing important information forward in every single issue. Dr. Pearce’s coverage was also very critical during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the Monkeypox outbreak in 2022.

Immigration Attorney Ally Bolour, Esq., has written a monthly column for more than 22 years. This column provides vital education on immigration matters of importance to our community. We have learned a lot about the unfortunate situations affecting LGBTQ people in countries which have very bad laws. We have received feedback over the years with respect to how this information has reassured and guided readers in navigating the complex immigration system.

Hector “Gipsy” Rodriguez has produced a music and entertainment column and has, at times served as a spokesperson for the magazine. Gipsy appeared on several national television shows promoting the work of Adelante and speaking to the issues of the gay Latino community. Gipsy has worked with Adelante for more than 20 years.

Carlos Manuel aka “MaryKhon” is another long-term writer, crafting some very cleaver and entertaining columns which have been a favorite of readers for more than 20 years.

Joe Castel has written feature stories for more than 20 years. Joe attends community screenings and has covered events and people and also produces documentaries.

Scott Smith, Sandra Wells and now Christian Smith have been writing one of our travel columns for more than 15 years. They find amazing places to visit in our local community and beyond. Many readers have shared they have visited places in Los Angeles and Southern California because of their feature stories they read in Adelante.

Jorge Diaz, MSW, writes an amazing section covering areas of mental health, wellbeing, cultural and social insights specific to the LGBTQ Latino community. For nearly eight years, Jorge’s perspectives are always educational and enlightening.

Bryan Herb also writes a travel column, mostly from places far away and provides advice for the visit and tips for getting the most from the trip along with wonderful pictures.

Others have provided important contributions to the magazine including Francisco Dueñas, who regularly produced information on immigration and tenants’ rights important to many of our readers. Daniel P. Lopez has been a columnist for nearly 15 years covering mostly celebrities and doing interesting book reviews. Daniel is also a writer with several books published and available in bookstores and on the Internet. Victoria Ruiz’s coverage of the transgender community filled an important gap with our readers.

Edmundo Rodriguez, Joey Amato, Mostro Vacci, Joey Krebs, Joe De Hoyos are recent collaborators to our volunteer magazine team and much appreciated by our readers.

We have also lost writers and members of the Adelante family along the way. Most recently, we lost Octavio Pozos, who had written Adelante’s monthly fitness/workout columns for nearly 20 years. When he became ill and went to the emergency room, he asked his partner to let us know that his column would be late for that month. Unfortunately, that column never came and we lost the great Octavio Pozos.

Early on, we lost the wonderful Oscar Reconco, a long-time community advocate and master of spirituality. Oscar wrote a regular column for Adelante right up until the day he passed away. So did Kellie Haadvedt, aka Maria Etta Anabel. Kellie wrote a self-help column about energy therapy. Antonio Yepes, one of our original graphic artists, also passed away. We miss them all and we thank them for their contributions.

The Adelante covers are some of the best among all gay magazines. We have had great models to work with and very talented photographers. A shout-out to the more than 300 cover models. We have had the privilege to work with talented photographers including Lorenzo Gomez, Jose Aguilar, Gil Evan, Joseph Leon and Paul Culver that produced the majority of the photo shoots of the models.

There are the “behind the scenes” operations people that have kept the publication moving forward. Alberto Orozco had been with the publication for many years and recently changed careers. Christopher Jackson continues to provide distribution services across our region of our print edition. Ran Refael has upgraded our online presence and now thousands read the magazine from around the United States and the world.

Perhaps the biggest thank-you goes out to our Editor Pepe Torres, who has put together every issue for the last 25 years. Pepe deserves recognition for a great publication. It has been his love for the magazine and dedication to the importance of a bilingual publication for the LGBTQ community that has made Adelante a success.

Finally, this magazine would not exist without you, its readers. Thank you for picking up the publication monthly or reading it on line at www.AdelanteMagazine.com.

As we move past this important milestone, it is our hope to continue producing a high-quality regular publication that meets the needs of our community. The publication is different today with a substantial number of people reading content online and via electronic delivery. We anticipate moving more into online media distribution as a means to reach more people. We also hope to expand past Southern California and into other parts of the United States and around the world. If you can help contribute to this goal of ours, please contact us at readelante@aol.com.

Thank you to everyone involved in supporting Adelante. It could not have been done without you. We hope we captured everyone involved or supporting the magazine over the last 25 years.

Volume 25
Issue 7

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September 24, 2023