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Last week’s announcement that Australia’s oldest and most respected lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) weekly newspaper, Sydney Star Observer (SSO), will change to a monthly print format and a reinvigorated web presence does not come as a surprise given the global state of newspapers.
I edited SSO from 1999 to 2006 and, to me, the shift makes sense. What’s more, the publication’s move online says just as much about the evolution of the LGBTI community as it does about the changing fortunes of print media.
Gay and lesbian media have been one of the essential elements in the evolution of LGBTI communities and the success of the LGBTI rights movement. Even before highly visible LGBTI subcultures emerged, newsletters and magazines of early rights groups like the Mattachine Society played an important role in building solidarity among a disparate and oppressed group.