There's a fair number of self-described gay magazines out there--The Advocate, Out, XY, and plenty of others I'm not going to take the time to describe. And XY gets very little respect in the medium. It's seen as a bit of a "kiddy" magazine, largely due to the vast photo spreads of twinkish boys who somehow aren't quite at *supermodel* levels. Of course, if these were people who belonged in underwear advertisements, it'd be a sign of a mature magazine, but I digress.
While I'm digressing, I'm just going to point out the exquisite irony that Out Magazine comes in discrete packaging so your mailman/neighbors don't know what you've subscribed to.
ANYway. I was in the bookstore recently and looking through the "Lifestyle" or whatever bunch of magazines, and the XY caught my eye. I won't pretend that the boy flexing on the cover had nothing to do with it, but really what I ended up actually shelling out cash for was the article about "ex-gay camps." It's a subject I'm very interested in, especially the experiences of actual people who've gone through them (I've even read a few "It worked for me! Praise Jesus!" variations, although they're generally not particularly convincing for various reasons). And I was pleasantly surprised at the magazine. There aren't a whole assload of articles, but the ones that are there are contemporary (not exactly groundbreaking, though) and extremely well-written. They're concise, they make a point and support it effectively, and they're on contemporary issues. And there were no stupid pages full of gay-themed drink recipes or the like that you get from the more "mature" magazines. An interesting thought, certainly--although I was a bit disappointed that much of the magazine was taken up with pictures that I'd downloaded off the internet several apartments ago.
Regardless, I'm not here to discuss the relative merits of the various gay periodicals. Instead, I actually want to reminisce a moment about another periodical. It's called "OMNI" and was a science magazine that my brother subscribed to when we were growing up. Well, science is a bit misleading--there was plenty of discussion of scientific facts and developments, but there was also a science fiction theme, and wikipedia has informed me that it's actually fairly renowned as a science fiction magazine.
Growing up, I started reading the magazine only after my brother had been getting it for several years, probably as a gift from our Aunt. And it was a pretty good magazine: accessible, interesting, informative, all that good stuff. And there the story should end, except that I was looking through the back issues when last I was home, and I found something that rather noodled me: the advertisements.
No, I'm not so stupid as to think there wouldn't be advertisements. I was just surprised at how many of them were for gay goods and services. The ad pages near the back were basically a soft-porn cache, talking about all sorts of videos, photo collections, massage parlors, etc. I mean, you have to wonder just why exactly a science magazine spoke so loudly to the gay advertisers, especially in the eighties when gay affiliations were not a particularly effective way of popularizing oneself with the world.
Maybe it was issues towards the end, when they were losing credibility and sold ads for cheaper, and so the sex industry fell in. Maybe other science magazines got them too. Maybe gays are just more science-literate than the rest of the world (I'd believe a study that said so). Maybe that was just how the sexual world worked back then. But still, I have to wonder...