The first print edition of A Modern Gay's Guide was published in March, after six years of online publishing. Are there any key differences between print and online?
Publishing in print, compared to online, has certainly come with an array of differences, challenges and of course benefits - not to mention a definite increase in my own personal wine consumption.
From a content point of view, we've really had to look at pieces that will hold their relevance a lot longer than we need to worry about online. The joy of print means that we can decide the content that the reader will consume, as opposed to online which is largely governed by what the user is searching for. A great example of this was with a recent body positivity article we ran in the lead-up to Mardi Gras. Feel-good content about loving your unique body isn’t exactly something that the gays tend to search for pre-Mardi Gras, it's more fad diets and ridiculous fast-shred workouts. However, when readers came across our printed body positivity article, they realised it wasn't something they were looking for, though something that a lot of image-stressed gays needed to read to reassure themselves of their self-worth.
You have recently announced that the print magazine is available to regional readers via "Poof Postage", a direct door-to-door delivery service. Why do you think it is important that regional areas have access to LGBTQ+ media publications?
It's really easy living in Sydney (or any Australian metro city for that matter) to forget how different being gay in a regional area is. To give context, the day we launched #PoofPostage we received an email from a guy living in regional Australia who asked how "Poof Postage" was delivered if you subscribed. He asked if it was plainly packaged in an envelope, or could you see the magazine? He then went on to explain that he is so far removed from gay culture in his regional area, that he wants to subscribe to the magazine to keep up with gay culture, and in turn feel more connected to the gay community. The reason he needed to know how the magazine was packaged was that he feared for his safety if someone were to find out he was reading a gay publication, and subsequently, work out that he was gay. It was absolutely devastating to read.
This is why #PoofPostage is so important. For the gays who can only dream of going out on Oxford Street, for the gays who can't yet be their true selves, for the gays who crave that physical touchpoint to LBGTIQ+ culture, so that they can still get a sense of community wherever they are.
Are you concerned the name "Poof Postage" could be slightly jarring, or that people could find it offensive?
Not at all. The name is so much more than just a comical alliteration. It's the LGBTIQ+ community being able to take the power away from a word that has been used to marginalise queer Australians for decades, and instead turn it into a sought-after product that the fabulous queer community can cherish.
By taking the power away from a slur term, you limit the damage someone can do in using it. That's why we're proud to offer Poof Postage to the community and our allies.
What does the AU$4.20 a month #PoofPostage fee go towards?
The magazine itself is free, however incorporating the postage element adds a number of extra costs for us. These include the physical postage, administration fees, additional staffing to facilitate, the list goes on. However, the small amount of profit we do generate from this service goes directly back into hiring more LBGTIQ+ writers, designers and photographers who, without queer local publications like ours, simply wouldn’t have jobs.
A lot of our Poof Postage subscribers are actually Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane locals who could already get the magazine for free, but have chosen to sign up for Poof Postage to support Australian LGBTIQ+ media. It's humbling to say the least.
It’s no secret that print media in Australia is struggling, not to mention LGBTIQ+ media that’s largely met with brands who often think the gay community is a season (Mardi Gras) and only look to advertise in March. Having this service is a win-win. The consumer get a sought-after product and the feeling of supporting LGBTIQ+ media, while we have a steady revenue stream to help us invest and expand our offering.
We are incredibly thankful to all of our #PoofPostage subscribers, they keep us alive and kicking!
How can consumers subscribe to Poof Postage themselves?
For those legends that are interested in learning more about the subscription or signing up themselves, you can do so here
There are no lock-in contracts and you can easily cancel your subscription at any time online (we doubt you’ll want to though!). All the Poof Postage subscriptions help to support local Australian print media and help to hire more local LGBTIQ+ writers, designers and photographers.
What's the most memorable story you've covered for A Modern Gay's Guide?
In 2017, we had a cute little thing called the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey- not sure if you heard of it? To refresh your memory, it was this glorious event where the entire country got to play 2004 "Dicko" from Australian Idol, voting as to whether gay marriage should be legalised. Honestly, every gay loved it... not at all stressful!
Wanting to compete with the media giants and publish an article as the news broke, we pre-wrote our results article; we prepared one for a "Yes" result, and one for a "No".
Whilst writing the "No" article (mind you, I’m as single as Sharon Strzelecki at this point, with nothing further from my brain than marriage) I had a quiet tear, realising how devastated I would be if I knew that over half of Australia didn’t think LGBTIQ+ love was valid. The day came and 61.6 per cent of Australia voted yes, meaning that "No" article never saw the light of day. Thank God.