Gay Journos Celebrating NLGJA’s 15th Anniversary At Chicago Confab

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) kicked off its four-day “15th Anniversary Celebration & Convention” Thursday in Chicago with a day dedicated to skills development.

As many as 650 journalists are expected at the convention, said NLGJA Executive Director Pamela Strother.

For the first time in its history, NLGJA is establishing a Hall of Fame. Among its first inductees is Leroy F. Aaron, who followed his declaration at the 1989 American Society of Newspaper Editors convention that he was gay by founding the association. Aarons, a former executive editor of the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune, died last November at age 70.

Also to be inducted during the convention are the following journalists:

  • Randy Shilts, who covered the HIV-AIDS epidemic for the San Francisco Chronicle, and in his book, “And the Band Played On.?

  • Thomas Morgan III, an editor at New York Times who was president of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1989.

  • Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, described by NLGJA as pioneering lesbian journalists, who were the co-editors of “The Ladder,” founded in 1956 and considered America’s first publication (1956) intended for lesbian readers.

  • Sarah Pettit, co-founder and editor of Out Magazine (1992) as well as arts and entertainment editor for Newsweek Magazine.

  • Don Slater, founder and editor of the magazine ONE, who fought U.S. postal rules on mailing gay publications for five years and won a favorable Supreme Court ruling in 1958.


A highlight of the convention, which has the theme ?Out in the Heartland,? will be a special panel discussion Saturday among journalists who reported the devastation and recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina. Included on the panel, which will be moderated by CNBC journalist Garrett Glaser, are New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Keith Darce, and Wall Street Journal reporter Steven Gray, a New Orleans native.

At the convention, NLGJA will also release a new combined English and Spanish Language Stylebook Supplement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Terminology. NLGJA said the stylebook supplement is intended to ?help educate reporters and newsroom managers on the terms best used when addressing LGBT issues.?

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