Michigan’s Out Post bids farewell after 34 years

by Steve Culver
(Steve Culver is the publisher of Out Post, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The following editorial was published in the June 2024, and final, issue of Out Post, and appears here with permission.)

This “first draft of history” is finally put on the shelf.

The final issue of Out Post in June 2024

In the spring of 1991, I received a call from Marc Loveless, a Detroit activist whom I had met a year earlier after I started this publication. Loveless needed someone who was willing to go on WDIV and speak to a reporter about a controversy in the news over negative portrayals of LGBT characters in Hollywood. Specifically, the anti-LGBT tropes of the just released “The Silence of the Lambs,” which featured among its characters an effeminate serial killer who cross-dressed.

Loveless was not publicly out, and neither were most of the few community leaders we had at that time. I wasn’t either, but l agreed to go watch the film that night and participate in an interview with the TV reporter the next day because, well, someone had to do it. (Before I went to the theater, I stopped by my parents’ house and came out to them. For real. “Mom, Dad, I’m gay. And I’m going to be on Channel 4 tomorrow.”)

It’s been quite a ride these past 34 years. At times I found myself experiencing a tinge of imposter syndrome:

In April 2015 l was camped out on the front plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court building while justices were inside listening to oral arguments in the landmark marriage equality case. Among the plaintiffs, of course, were Michiganders April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who I captured addressing the throngs of media in a photo I consider to be one of the most iconic l’ve ever taken.

The photo almost didn’t happen. At one point, so many people were clamoring to be in the roped off media pen that the Supreme Court Police began to question the validity of media credentials. For obvious reasons, mine basically said that “I, Steve Culver, verify that Steve Culver is an authorized member of Out Post.” After some desperate pleading to a patient officer that I’m sure came off as pathetic, he showed mercy and let me stay in the pen.

In March of 2023 I had the honor to be on the floor of both the Michigan House and Senate when those chambers passed an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include LGBT rights after a 40-year struggle. Jeremy Moss valiantly defended the legislation as the only openly gay member of the Michigan Senate (with a little help from when he called me the night before as he prepared his remarks). But it was the pre-vote speeches of the six LGBT representatives in the standing room only House chamber a week later that gave me chills and the feeling that I was witnessing history in the making.

And then there’s Kid Rock. In the mid-’90s I encountered the rapper in a “late night” bar popular among the gay crowd. I was about to take his photo with a group of fans when he

abruptly declined after he found out it would be featured in a gay magazine. As I walked away, the singer turned to me and apologized, saying “Sorry for contributing to the ignorance.”

A recent magazine profile of the now uber-famous celebrity considered whether his metamorphosis into all things MAGA was just an act. I’ve known all along that it is.

They say journalism is the “first rough draft of history.” And now my part of the draft is complete. I remember when I was considered the new kid on the block. (Really!) Now, l’m the dean of the local LGBT press, which is just a nicer way of saying I’m the oldest.

I could not have achieved this accomplishment without the help of a small army of freelance journalists and others who helped produce this publication over the years. I remember and thank them all, including two individuals who helped get me started on this path. The late Carl Rippberger, the former owner of Backstreet nightclub, and businessman Sandy Berris. In 1990, each pre-paid for advertising neither of them actually needed, enabling me to purchase my first computer. Ironically, they were encouraged to do so by Jan Stevenson, who at the time was the executive director of Affirmations and later became a competitor of mine for a bit. Ha!

My biggest thanks I leave for you, the readers. Especially those who from time to time sent a note of thanks my way, examples of which you have read sprinkled throughout this column. What may have seemed like a small gesture at the time meant the world to me, and gave me the encouragement to continue on this journey for as long as I have.

At the end of the day, I contributed my part to our crazy little community by chronicling our history in 625 issues over the last 34 years because, well, someone had to do it.

Volume 26
Issue 3

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