On Friday, Oct 28, John Williams went around town, dropping off copies of what will be the last issue of Gaze magazine.
Williams, who is known in journalism circles as the former man behind Frank magazine, started Gaze in 2010. The first issue hit stands that summer, during Halifax’s Pride Week. The next issue, however, didn’t come out until the next year. William's original idea of a monthly soon became the reality of a quarterly, as revenue from ad space became difficult to secure.
In the final issue, Williams explains in his editorial that “Gaze has always been a labour of love . . . While profit was never paramount among my concerns, generating enough ad revenue to cover production costs remained crucial to the magazine’s long-term existence. Regrettably, that goal remains unmet.”
In full disclosure, I have written for Gaze and even had a cover story appear in the magazine’s pages. Having said that, I do believe that Gaze was an outlet and an opportunity for many people in Atlantic Canada’s queer community to have their voices heard. Not only the people who were featured inside, but also the writers and journalists who dug into their respective worlds and found interesting stories. The fact that another journalistic effort – especially a queer one – has failed is deeply saddening.
When asked for comment about the situation, Williams sent me this email:
“Despite its brief run, I think Gaze served an important purpose. It not only spoke to members of the queer community about issues many of us know very little about — transgender issues, HIV and the biology of homosexuality — but also to members of the straight community who might otherwise never have been engaged by these topics. By and large, the feedback was very positive, and so I think the magazine will be missed when it's no longer around to serve the community. I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when I say it's a loss for this part of the country.”
I agree. The more coverage something has, the better it is for everyone, journalists and readers alike. Gaze will be missed.