Southern Voice is no more. That’s old news now, but I can’t let this solemn occasion pass without a short eulogy.
When I started the coming-out process, I was around 42. At the time, I was living in an outer suburb of Atlanta with my husband of 22 years and my seven-year-old kid. If there were gay people out in Powder Springs, I sure didn’t know where to find them. I wasn’t willing to cheat on my husband, so learning-by-doing wasn’t an option. With so few outlets, Southern Voice, Atlanta’s gay newspaper, was just about my only link to, well, gay stuff. I was starving for information, and SoVo provided my weekly ration. SoVo was my primer in How to be Gay. Coincidentally, for a while, I worked in the same building as SoVo's office - and felt even closer to the newspaper, as silly as that might seem.
Last week, Southern Voice shut down suddenly and without warning.
It’s been ten years since I read my first issue of SoVo. I’m out now to pretty much everybody. I can actually say the word “lesbian” without blanching. I am actively involved in the gay community of my city. In short, I’m pretty comfortable with the whole gay thing now. You wouldn’t think I would still need the comfort of a weekly gay newspaper.
And yet, when I saw that barren newsstand last Friday, I felt disconnected, lost in Powder Springs once again. I felt that old hunger. And then, I felt emptiness.
Adieu, Southern Voice.