I’ve been blogging about LGBT-centric media sources for the past few weeks, and exploring this topic got me thinking seriously about the impact of these writers. If we can assume that the overwhelming majority of their readers identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered themselves, aren’t they already part of the cause? Isn’t writing about advocating for gay rights simply preaching to the choir?

To understand better, I spoke with Mike Lavers of EDGE, a network of local GLBT news and entertainment sites, where he serves as the national news editors and provides coverage from New York City.

He explains that LGBT-specific news sites are important because of the wide range of issues and diversity of perspectives present in the LGBT community that can’t possibly all be represented in mainstream media or general news outlets. These sources cater to their niche by providing thoughtful, extensive news and commentary on important issues beyond simply gay marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which get huge amounts of play in broader media.

He says, “It allows you to delve into the complexity of the issues; it gives you the space to explore the nuance of the stories and the broader trends. We look at things that haven’t been covered by other reporters or other LGBT publications. It goes back to the question of ‘What’s the hole in the coverage, and how can we fill that?’”.

At the same time, he cautions, working for a LGBT-only (okay, how about LGBT-mostly) publication has its distinct disadvantages. He says, “It’s hard not to be pigeonholed as a gay reporter if you’ve been covering a specific beat for a specific publication.” That is, other employees or readers may come to associate you as “the gay journalist.”

In terms of advancing the movement, Lavers admits that part of the goal with EDGE’s content is to get the more breaking, new, less-covered information picked up by more widely-disseminated publications, which may or may not be corporate media. It’s a strange paradox, for sure: Publications like EDGE are writing because their views are not being discussed in the mainstream media, and yet their “sermons,” if you will, would not be distributed beyond “the choir” were it not for the same mainstream media they’re dissenting from

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