Happy New Year. The calendar has turned to 2014 and a whole new year of opportunities is ahead of us. Looking back at the year that 2013 was, it’s hard to imagine how 2014 can beat it–except when thinking of how 2013 was a year of achieving goals, but 2014 will be a year of fully enjoying them. I think about how my life has echoed the development of my role here at Lavender. 2011 was when I was jumped into this job and it was a baptism by fire. 2012 was a year for getting a grip and redeveloping our product, while fighting the marriage amendment. 2013 brought a sense of experience and relief because not everything was new and the fight that started against the amendment ended with a victory of marriage equality. Now, in 2014, I’m planning to improve and polish Lavender in ways that I’ve hoped to implement, but now have the chance put into motion.
In my life and in this publication, the power of intention is becoming something I am understanding more now than ever. Being deliberate in choices and partnerships is something that comes with more life and experience. Knowing the people, organizations, and businesses in our community as well as the greater state of Minnesota gives me a good foundation on which to make deliberate and intentional choices. Who to work with, what to cover, how to respond to story ideas, what to include in the editorial calendar–all of these elements of Lavender work together as a machine that runs on a constant two-week schedule as part of a larger year-long calendar. Making sure that no moment of that calendar year is haphazard is my overarching goal for 2014.
A few issues ago, I talked about how Lavender is expanding our editorial coverage to include two features per issue, in order to better cover the “special interests” that set this community apart from the greater society. Well, not necessarily “apart”…this community has been on the periphery long enough…but it’s important that we feature what makes us unique within mainstream society. Within our society, we participate in health care, fitness, families, and so many other aspects of life. But, how we approach these facets of life will be what Lavender intentionally focuses on from now on, what is unique about this community’s experiences.
Partnerships are what make this publication what it is. Working with advertisers, story subjects, writers, photographers–partnerships are what make our world go ‘round. Good partnerships are particularly exciting. I’m pleased to announce a new partnership with Pat Evans as our food writer. We’ve seen him on Kare11 for many years (since 1994) and I had read his column in that beautiful magazine Twin Cities Luxury + Fashion when it was still in production. In person, he’s kind and funny and knowledgeable and authentic. He is himself, as seen on TV. He’s an engaging person who can suss out stories. His reputation is stellar. He’s got great taste. He’s out there with his partner, Kurt, and involved in what’s going on. He’s got reach and an established audience with tremendous growth potential. And, he’s a great writer. He makes the editor in me positively swoon. Furthermore, as seen with the splash that “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts made when she mentioned her longtime girlfriend on her Facebook page recently, having someone in the mainstream media who openly talks about his partner and shares his life with our audience is something that both fortifies our readership and community as well as brings a larger audience to us. Adding Pat to our masthead is just the beginning of a year of better and brighter collaborations with people in the community.
Both Lavender and the community it serves are positioned for the mainstream in 2014. No longer seen as a fringe community (except for those who prefer to stay in the borderlands), people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, allies, queer, and anywhere along those lines can choose to take a more central and open role in society now than ever before. The implications of legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota mean a halo-effect for the community, that giving people equal rights also gives people and their lives a legitimacy on a systemic level. As such, together, we can claim a space that is away from the periphery. The goals, interests, and concerns of this community are important and worthy of large-scale attention. And we’re going to make sure Lavender continues to be a publication worthy of representing this community as it continues to position itself to have greater prominence in the greater society.
Lofty goals for 2014? Not when all of the foundation that’s been laid is considered. Lavender, itself, stands on the shoulders of giants. This year will bring our 500th issue. Those 500 issues have been witness to this community’s development since 1995. Whether you were around for the first issue or just joined us recently, I hope that Lavender only continues to keep your interest and your readership as the publication of your community.
With continued thanks and ambition,