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Publisher Brandon Matheson leaves Daily Xtra

Few have done more to help build vibrant queer presence in our cities

Now a hypnotist with a new career on the rise, Daily Xtra publisher Brandon Matheson understood the value of the gay press when he launched Xtra in Ottawa in 1993.  Credit: Alex Hill

Brandon Matheson, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Daily Xtra since its inception, is leaving us. This is a momentous event for all of us at Pink Triangle Press and I don’t want to let it pass without a public acknowledgement.

Brandon joined the Press in 1993, when the internet was only a small grey cloud on the horizon of the news media and the first web browser for general use had just been released.

I hired him to launch and lead Capital Xtra, the monthly paper that was Xtra’s entrée into Ottawa. He quickly made our office on Bank Street a hub of that city’s gay and lesbian communities.

Later, he took charge of our Vancouver paper, Xtra West, and then moved to Toronto to take the helm of Xtra, our mother ship. He is the only Press publisher to have lived and worked and learned in all three of our cities, safeguarding, nurturing and stimulating their communities.

Knowing that we were looking to open a paper in Ottawa, Brandon in June 1993 wrote to me:

“A good publication is equally entertaining and informative, a marketable product to both readers and the business community, and in addition to providing a service to the largest possible portion of a Gay community, it is a driving force in the development of that community.”

I hired him, of course. And he made good on that manifesto.

There are very few people in this country who have done so much to ensure a vivacious and vigilant queer presence in so many of our cities.

Brandon is an entrepreneur at heart, and I have admired the broad range of activities that fill his life outside the Press: salonista, hypnotist, on-stage performer, leather event impresario, chef, archivist and art collector, to name just those that come instantly to mind. Now that’s life-work balance!

In this time of upheaval in the news business, I will miss his leavening humour and calm, reassuring presence.

But I wish him well as he moves forward with the things closest to his heart.