Begins Publication Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Advocate, a well-known gay and lesbian biweekly magazine with an international circulation, was first published in 1967 as a newsletter called the Los Angeles Advocate.The magazine remains a widely circulated periodical with a broad readership.

Summary of Event

Five hundred copies of the Los Angeles Advocate, a newsletter, were published in 1967 in the basement of the headquarters of ABC television by an ABC employee. The newsletter sold for twenty-five cents in the gay bars of Los Angeles. It is less clear when the newsletter became the popular magazine now called The Advocate. According to a 1997 article in The Advocate itself, the magazine started publishing in 1967. Another source, however, shows that it was first published in 1969, and yet another believes the first magazine was published in 1970. [kw]Los Angeles Advocate Begins Publication (1967) [kw]Publication, Los Angeles Advocate Begins Publication (1967) Advocate, The Publications;The Advocate[Advocate] Media;The Advocate[Advocate] [c]Publications;1967: Los Angeles Advocate Begins Publication[0630] [c]Organizations and institutions;1967: Los Angeles Advocate Begins Publication[0630] Michaels, Dick Rand, Bill Winston, Sam

A brutal police raid of the Black Cat Bar in Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, 1967, galvanized members of the local gay activist group PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). Personal Rights in Defense and Education PRIDE had published a newsletter that was a precursor to the Los Angeles Advocate. Dick Michaels, the first editor of the newsletter but not a member of PRIDE, was in the Black Cat when it was raided. He was arrested by vice cops and then charged with lewd conduct, simply for being in the bar. It was his arrest that propelled him to begin working on the newsletter.

Michaels, Bill Rand, and Sam Winston created the Los Angeles Advocate to improve upon PRIDE’s existing newsletter. In 1968, Michaels and Rand paid PRIDE one dollar for ownership of the new newsletter (a legal maneuver to protect them from PRIDE debts). By July of 1968, the newsletter changed to a newspaper format, increased its range of coverage to circulate nationally, and had one full-time employee (a news editor) and a telephone; by 1969, it abbreviated its name to The Advocate.

One year after the first five hundred issues of the Los Angeles Advocate had been sold in local gay bars, fifty-five hundred copies of The Advocate were in circulation in Southern California. It is clear the publication found an avid audience given the tenfold increase in circulation in just one year.

Michaels had been aware that any social movement trying to effect social change needed a newspaper of its own. As he stated, “the gay community needed…a publication with widespread circulation, some way to get the word out about what was happening.” The original intention was to have the newspaper provide a service to the local gay community. Initially it published articles on issues such as how to protect oneself during a police raid, and it called for basic civil rights for gays, including demands for the military to end its antigay policy, subjects that laid the foundation for the gay and lesbian rights movement of the 1970’s.

Significance

From its very beginning, The Advocate (as a newsletter, as a newspaper, and in its present forms as a glossy magazine and a Web site) has made extraordinary contributions to the gay and (later) lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. The magazine addresses GLBT civil and legal rights and makes visible the lives of all kinds of gays and lesbians—from the person in the street to the men and women in Congress. The magazine also publishes editorials and articles on current affairs; health news; interviews with prominent gay and lesbian individuals and allies; features on GLBT film, music, theater, and television; summaries of nationwide legislation affecting GLBT people; and book reviews.

Mainstream companies advertise regularly in The Advocate. They include Movado, Miller Brewing Company, Jeep, Audi, American Express Travel and Financial Services, and Subaru, to name but a few.

In 1990, The Advocate added “lesbian” to its subtitle: “The National Gay & Lesbian Newsmagazine.” Prior to 1990, its content and emphasis was directed primarily at white, middle- and upper- middle-class, gay men. In July, 1996, the magazine named its first female editor in chief, Judith Wieder. Wieder, Judith

The Advocate remains the most prominent GLBT-owned, GLBT-run, and GLBT-themed magazine in the United States, and probably in the world, outliving many competitors. It is published biweekly, except for monthlies in January and August, and has a Web site (www.advocate.com). In effect, The Advocate is a synchronous history of the ongoing lesbian and gay rights movement; it helps define the issues that are critical to GLBT communities. Advocate, The Publications;The Advocate[Advocate] Media;The Advocate[Advocate]

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Benwell, Bethan, ed. Masculinity and Men’s Lifestyle Magazines. Oxford, England: Blackwell/Sociological Review, 2003.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Kaiser, Charles. The Gay Metropolis, 1940-1996. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Sender, Katherine. “Gay Readers, Consumers, and a Dominant Gay Habitus: Twenty-Five Years of The Advocate Magazine.” Journal of Communication 51, no. 1 (2001).
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Streitmatter, Rodger. Sex Sells! The Media’s Journey from Repression to Obsession. Cambridge, Mass.: Westview Press, 2004.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">_______. Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1995.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Thompson, Mark, ed. Long Road to Freedom: “The Advocate” History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

1896: Der Eigene Is Published as First Journal on Homosexuality

June, 1947-February, 1948: Vice Versa Is Published as First Lesbian Periodical

1953: ONE Magazine Begins Publication

October 31, 1969: TIME Magazine Issues “The Homosexual in America”

November 28, 1970: Del Martin Quits Gay Liberation Movement

1971: Lesbian Tide Publishes Its First Issue

November, 1971: The Body Politic Begins Publication

October, 1974: Lesbian Connection Begins Publication

December 31, 1977: Toronto Police Raid Offices of The Body Politic

January, 1986: South Asian Newsletter Trikone Begins Publication

May, 1987: Lambda Rising Book Report Begins Publication

August 27, 1991: The Advocate Outs Pentagon Spokesman Pete Williams

1992-2002: Celebrity Lesbians Come Out

1995: The Advocate Outs Oscar Nominee Nigel Hawthorne

Categories: History Content