Welcome to the first edition of Identity, the continuation of the eight-year histories of BLACKlines and En La Vida. Windy City Media Group has decided to merge the two independent newspapers into a glossy format for several reasons.
First, the ability to run free-standing 'ethnic' gay papers has always been an 'iffy' proposition. Several publications around the country went under just in 2003. BLACKlines and En La Vida were always labors of love, and they were started organically from those communities.
But in 2004, the separation of 'Black' and 'Latino' not only seems artificial and arbitrary (after all, some identify as both), but the issue of race is far more complex than those labels can cover. We live in an increasingly multi-racial society, and even though the U.S. government wants to limit the categories by which we can define ourselves, the reality is that more and more people do not fit in any one 'box.' Their lives are more than a 'check mark.'
In addition to race, there are many other ways 'identity' shapes our lives. For HIV+ gay men, or women with cancer, or differently abled GLBTs, there are many choices and concerns to face daily. Protesting against a pharmaceutical company's price increase, lobbying for more AIDS funding, pushing for access.
Now layer on religion and spirituality, which spark heated debates and even wars. Mix in differences in gender, culture, countries of origin, language differences, educational backgrounds, class, weight, and so much more, and we have a melting pot that is boiling over.
So now we have a new 'Identity.'
This new monthly magazine will certainly continue in the strong tradition of providing space for diverse voices—we will just add new voices to the older ones. Some of your favorite BLACKlines, En La Vida and Windy City Times writers are included, but we have also added new voices, new ideas, and thanks to Brad Cawley, an entirely new layout.
We welcome input as we embark on this challenging new phase—and we also welcome new writers who feel they have a unique voice for addressing GLBTI (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex) issues. — Tracy Baim, Publisher