The lazy hazy final full month of summer is coming to an end and media gears are quickly shifting to planning for 2022. It is hard to believe that the second summer of COVID is going to be past us shortly, and the future post-COVID — or perhaps the new normal — will be debuting in 2022.
I am so incredibly proud of LGBTQ media, once again beating the odds and emerging virtually unscathed from the pandemic. Out of 121 LGBTQ titles in America, only one folded completely and only a few others were digital-only during parts of the pandemic. All reported high demand even though circulation was kept below demand (no printing extras during COVID) as advertising decreased and everyone took a wait-and-see approach. Yes, many outlets cut frequencies, but much like the AIDS crisis and previous recessions, the media kept up its beat and service to “the” community, which is by and large their “own” community. Bravo! Bravo!
Like all businesses, LGBTQ media had to change on the go — many of our bar guides completely changed their distribution since their primary distribution channels were closed and quite a few completely reinvented themselves. None of this was easy, but then again, seeking equal rights has never been easy — nor has getting through a recession or AIDS or the demise of classified ads. So I am just amazed and GRATEFUL since LGBTQ media is a service to me just as much as it is to you.
Other things have also changed during COVID. The country is waking up to our Black community and all underrepresented and underserved minorities. While this is painful at times, it IS real progress — because communities are demanding that businesses put their money where their mouths are. Instead of just being inclusive in their messaging, businesses are being held accountable in their spending as well — spending with businesses that are owned and operated by the very individuals they are seeking with their advertising campaigns.
There is still quite a way to go, but we ARE moving in the right direction. Really, companies are just not going to be able to court the LGBTQ community by simply putting a well-placed ad on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” so that those funds go to some big corporation. Rather, they must take some of that money and spend directly on efforts with LGBTQ owned and operated businesses, like one of the LGBTQ owned and operated streaming services, or of course, directly in the LGBTQ print media I so love. Let’s not forget that in 2019, LGBTQ print media was up 7 percent and 2020 was to be the banner year. Oh well, it’s not too long yet for 2022 to be even better, as good things do come to those who wait.
I am excited about the future of LGBTQ owned and operated media in 2022. To me, it seems mainstream advertising can no longer ignore a vibrant LGBTQ media. While always the eternal optimist, I do feel “our” time has come.

About the Author

Todd Evans is President and CEO of Rivendell Media-America’s leading LGBTQ media placement firm- a unique media company that was founded in 1979 and represents 95% of all LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS media in the United States and Canada. Rivendell Media serves as the national advertising representative for over 200 gay, lesbian and HIV/AIDS newspapers, magazines and entertainment guides their websites and standalone digital properties. After working for the company and then taking over in 1994, he has worked on almost every major LGBT media campaign as well as every DTC campaign in the HIV/AIDS market since the FDA allowed them. That experience along with his knowledge of the media provide unique qualifications on what has worked and what is necessary to reach and speak to these audiences. Todd Evans is also a silent partner of Q Syndicate, the leading content provider for gay media and is also publisher of Press Pass Q, the industry newsletter for the gay and lesbian press professional. Todd Evans graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor in Political Science. He currently resides in Mountainside, New Jersey. He can be reached at or 908-232-2021 ext 210.

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