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Connection, equality, and dignity, past, present, and future: A letter from the SGN's new publisher

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Mike Schultz — Photo by Matt Cyphert
Mike Schultz — Photo by Matt Cyphert

When I learned the SGN was looking to transition ownership in recent months, I recalled my heady days of living in Seattle in the mid-'80s: living on Capitol Hill, working in a bank downtown by day, hanging with newfound friends and taking in the club atmosphere of Neighbours and The Brass Rail at night. For me, in my twenties at the time, life was exciting and full of adventure as I was finding my Seattle tribe, my chosen family.

But dark clouds of uncertainty were gathering. The AIDS epidemic arrived, and with it, loss and grief on a scale that was decimating and horrific.

The SGN was truly the lighthouse in the storm, keeping our community connected and informed, and honoring the loss of life while broader society shunned the victims. In those defining years of standing proud and tall in the face of society's steeped homophobia, the SGN truly cemented its place as our legacy publication.

From that experience, I became keenly aware of the value of staying connected as a community through a medium we trusted, one that understood, informed, and uplifted our nuanced humanness. To me, preserving the SGN's 49-year legacy as a continuing entity is paramount to that end.

Photo by Matt Cyphert  

My focus for the SGN in the short-term is shoring up its sustainability. So we're shifting from weekly to biweekly (every other Friday) print issues, with continued additional quarterly special print issues.

However, in recent weeks, the physical distribution points for our print issues have expanded beyond our core Puget Sound region. We now encompass Ocean Shores to the west, Spokane to the east, and Bellingham to the north.

Moreover, the content mix in the print issues is shifting to focus more on our local and regional Queer communities. And we're exploring, strengthening, and expanding the SGN's digital presence, community engagement, and news information delivery through its website and robust social media offerings, including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and the Radio SGN podcasts.

I am grateful to George Bakan for his relentless activism while weathering decades of storms to keep the SGN afloat. I am grateful to his daughter, Angela Cragin, who inherited the paper in 2020 following her father's death. She kept the ship from capsizing in a tsunami of personal grief and turmoil. She delivered the SGN to its new captain intact, and with an eye to its future.

My hat is off to the talented and creative crew at the SGN, who diligently, and with uncompromising commitment to our community, make the magic happen every week. Their growing, younger generational insights are the future of SGN.

And I am thankful to my husband, Steven, for his gentle insistence over the last 17 years that I pursue my passion as he centers me in a place of love and gratitude.

In stepping into the pilothouse of the SGN, I do so with stewardship in mind and humility. But I also open this new chapter with an innate and tenacious enthusiasm to further our causes of visibility, equality, and dignity. I am insistent that we deserve nothing less than taking our equal place at the table of humanity.