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Read Anything Good Lately?

[whitespace] An unscientific survey of what the gay man--and woman--on the street is (or isn't) reading these days

By David Mills

THE VARIOUS LOCAL GAY RAGS--the Bay Area Reporter, Frontiers, the Bay Times, Odyssey, Oblivion, Female FYI--are stacked up in cafes, bookstores, restaurants and retail outlets all over the city. Gay publications have become an inescapable feature of San Francisco culture, but who's reading them? And why? Metropolitan's David Mills hangs out at gay ground zero--18th and Castro--to check in with everyday queer folks.

Jim B., GWM, 41, Travel Agent, Single, Bear
"I don't read the gay rags very much. I used to, but I stopped because everything seems to be politics. Always in the gay community's favor. They just scream and yell. I don't read the national magazines either. Same reason: too political. Sometimes I look at the personals. But just for fun, not for real."

John H., GBM, 35, Marketing Consultant, Single ("Not Looking")
"I don't really have time to read the gay press. It took me an hour to get through the Chronicle this morning and there's almost nothing in it worth reading. Being gay doesn't define my life. It would be like reading minority publications for me. I'm not ethnocentric and I'm not that way about my sexuality. Also, everything I read comes to my house. I'm lazy. Maybe I'd read it if they delivered."

Marissa J., GAF, 22, Retail, Dog Walker, Art Student
"They're just a bunch of boy rags. Mostly I don't even look at them. I guess there's one focused on girls ... I think. But it's not very interesting. It's, like, high school quality. I read queer zines. They have better stories, cool art and better personals, too. At least for girls. Oh god, why would you write an article about the gay press? Write about zines!"

Tobias L., GWM, 50, Bicoastal Director/Producer
"Sometimes I read the Bay Area Reporter. But I just skim it. Just the reviews--theater, movies, the arts stuff--to see what's going on. Also the local politics column, Wayne Friday, and the AIDS treatment news. But I don't read it thoroughly. I don't really read the personals, just skim them occasionally. I'm told a lot more people are reading them. Seems to be a good alternative to the bars and a good resource for some people. Maybe I should read them?"

Andrea P., GWF, 30, S/M Artist, Coffee Drinker
"I don't read newspapers. Too depressing. I don't care about everybody's crazy shit. I'm just trying to take care of my own. I don't watch the news on TV for the same reason. Come on, that stuff will make you crazy. Sometimes I look at the personal ads in the Guardian, but that's not gay, is it?"

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From the June 1-14, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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