The Toronto-based not-for-profit queer media company Pink Triangle Press (PTP) has purchased The Guide, a Boston-based queer travel and sexual liberation magazine and website, for an undisclosed sum.
“The attractive thing from our point of view is that [The Guide] is one of the few voices in the United States for what we regard as progressive sexual politics,” says PTP President Ken Popert.
Commercially, Popert says The Guide is only “marginally profitable,” but that PTP was attracted to it because the print edition has a strong readership and advertising base in Montreal, something PTP has lacked until now.
He also hopes to develop synergies between The Guide’s web edition and an existing PTP website, Squirt.
Most immediately, Popert says, readers of The Guide will notice a new look.
“What we’ve done so far is what you’d call a graphic clean-up,” he explains. “We’ve just taken the principles that seem to be motivating the design and applied them consistently with a little more care to the execution. There is a quite a big difference. We’ve also included some colour.”
French Wall, The Guide’s managing editor, says acquiring The Guide makes PTP a truly North American entity. He says he hopes fresh ownership will help to expand The Guide’s voice in the United States.
“There are so many rightwing religious lunatics running so many government programs in so many states who are so well entrenched in Washington now,” he says. “I don’t think the gay community adequately confronts that. Everyone from The Guide has been struck by how different the ambiance is in Canada and how pleasant we find it compared to the numbing, rabid, sex hysteria we have here.”
Wall says he’s glad PTP shares The Guide’s editorial perspective.
“It’s exciting to be able to find a new owner that will continue our message and not see The Guide as a way to make money or a place to promote the assimilationist messages you read in so much of the gay press here in the United States,” he says.
The Guide has been publishing for over 22 years under the ownership of former publisher Edward Hougen. Hougen says he intends to retire this year and had planned to cease publication of The Guide if he couldn’t find a buyer who shared his philosophy of sexual liberation.
The Guide circulates about 25,500 monthly copies through newsstands and queer-friendly businesses in cities across Canada and the United States. A small number of copies are also circulated in Europe and Australia.
PTP published the Body Politic from 1971 to 1987. Today PTP publishes Xtra West in Vancouver, Xtra in Toronto and Capital Xtra in Ottawa. It also publishes editions of the gay business directory, Index, in Toronto and Ottawa. It operates the national phone hookup service Cruiseline, and the international cruising website Squirt. It also produces the internationally syndicated queer travel television series Bump, and holds a minority share of the Canadian queer television channel OUTtv.