When GAY was Good: Pioneering Weekly Magazine Covered Community and Arts Scene

by Jim Provenzano

Bay Area Reporter

Sunday October 18, 2020

Early issues of GAY magazine
Early issues of GAY magazine   

Two years after "The Advocate" began publishing, and two years before the "Bay Area Reporter" premiered, the New York City-based "GAY" covered politics, arts, civil rights and sexuality with a bold and groovy style. The complete issue collection from 1969 to 1974 is downloadable online.

National politics, photo essays of the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day march, multiple reviews of Bette Midler albums and concerts, plus reviews of gay-themed plays are among the many historic features (including a scathing takedown of Mart Crowley's then-controversial play, "The Boys in the Band").

"GAY"'s editors were Lige Clark and Jack Nichols, with Jim Buckley and (the mostly straight) "Screw" magazine's Al Goldstein as publishers. While "The Advocate" preceded "GAY" in its premiere, it was then published twice a month, with "GAY" being, for a time, the first gay weekly (it changed to biweekly and later monthly before ceasing publication in 1974).

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