The Path to Progress

By | 2018-06-07T08:22:20+00:00 June 6th, 2018|Opinions, Viewpoints|

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It’s BTL’s silver anniversary, and for 25 years we have been dedicated to providing news for Michigan’s LGBTQ community. So now, as we celebrate this incredible milestone in not only our history, but that of our readership, we invite you to look back with us. Over the next 12 months BTL will revisit Southeast Michigan’s historical milestones, traveling back in time to reexamine those events that have changed the face of our community. We’ll be releasing regular historical graphics that take a look at some of the LGBTQ community’s greatest triumphs as well as some of the biggest bumps we’ve encountered on the road to equality. The first of these graphics can be found on page 8.
This emphasis on examining our past is in keeping with BTL’s primary goal: increasing LGBTQ visibility. According to Co-Publisher Susan Horowitz, being visible in the public eye is one of the most effective ways to fight LGBTQ discrimination.
“All press, all news as the great, late Philip Graham of the Washington Post said, ‘is the first draft of history,’ and we knew very early on that our history was being lost by not being documented and recorded,” Horowitz said. “It was then that people went back, historians devoted themselves to LGBTQ history, and writers wrote books, and filmmakers made film and newspaper activists found their way to producing LGBTQ newspapers. And what the LGBTQ local newspapers do around the country is to continue to document the local community and what our challenges are, our success and our future may look like.”
In the time that BTL has published we’ve seen part of that future unfold, in the vast, overwhelmingly positive change in the local LGBTQ landscape. Today, there are more than a dozen community centers across the state, hundreds of LGBTQ-owned businesses and thousands of annual pride attendees across Michigan.
Keeping those achievements in mind — and those of the organizations that came before us — we have endeavored not just to cover the news, but to break news as it happens. Additionally, we break it down with thoughtful editorials and commentary to foster a greater understanding of recent events. However, BTL’s goal is also to entertain our readers, and makes an effort to regularly supply up-to-date entertainment and arts information happening in the area and nationally. According to Horowitz, Southeast Michigan provides no dearth of stories and content.
“I mean we’ve published 35,000+ articles. That’s an enormous number, that’s the equivalent of about 400 full-length books, documenting primarily Southeast Michigan and the state when we could and there wasn’t anyone out there that was going to do it,” she said. “We had to make that conscious decision, and what shifted so radically is the level of support from the allied communities both in advertising and in fighting the good fight with us. That’s been the huge shift that I’ve seen and am still seeing during my time at BTL.
We started out small but quickly grew from our humble beginnings as a monthly publication put together in our publisher’s basement, to a biweekly paper, and eventually a weekly publication in a professional office space.
But the reason behind our quick growth has always been and always will be our avid readership. It is because of our robust Southeast Michigan LGBTQ community that we have strived at all times to present stories factually in a framework that reinforces our quest for LGBTQ equality and increased presence in the community.

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