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Landmark OUTWeek magazine archives now online

This is major news — advocates of equality can now have access to one of the essential LGBT news publications of the 80s and 90s at their fingertips.

OutWeek magazine, published from June of 1989 to July of 1991, is now available in an online archive, thanks to the generous sponsorship by The Gill Foundation, Larry Kramer and Gabriel Rotello, with help from the One Foundation and Tectonic Theater Project. Rotello in his announcement said:

[T]he feisty magazine was instrumental in forcing the mainstream press to focus on gay issues at the peak of the AIDS crisis. OutWeek provided a crucial forum for gay and AIDS activism in an era before the Internet became widespread, and sparked a series of major controversies that landed on front pages around the world.

OutWeek is probably best remembered as the place where ‘outing’ was born, first in Michelangelo Signorile’s hilarious “GossipWatch” column and then in his cover story “The Secret Gay Life of Malcom Forbes” in March, 1990. Thanks to OutWeek a new word entered the vocabulary, and outing became a worldwide controversy that forever altered perceptions of the closet.

But OutWeek was noted for breaking major national stories in all aspects of gay and AIDS reporting.

It played, for example, a key role investigating the Covenant House scandal of 1990, when founder Rev. Bruce Ritter was accused of having sex with several of his charity’s teenage residents and was ultimately forced to resign. OutWeek also sparked what The New York Times called “the most bitter dispute” of the Dinkins Administration when it revealed that Dinkins’ choice for Health Commissioner, Woody Myers, had favored quarantining people with AIDS.



OutWeek’s repeated investigations into social and political homophobia and AIDS-phobia, the failures of drug companies and the healthcare system, and the timidity of gay and AIDS organizations, made it the most widely quoted gay publication of its time.

I can’t wait to read Mike’s back catalog of work; the importance of getting this archive online as a research resource cannot be underestimated, particularly for those of us in new media. Being able to access history in a couple of clicks will help current and future generations of activists and journalists place current events in proper  political context — we can remember what it was like to be a community under siege from every corner of society in a volatile time. It reminds us how we can and must press on to achieve civil equality.

Access the archives by going to Outweek.net.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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