Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend

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.


  1. *nods nods nods*

    We had a fantastic lesbian book store here where I live, but it closed three or four years ago when the owner moved away. Now it is a vintage toy store, but the old sign is still painted on the brick wall in the back. I get a mix of feelings every time I see it. I miss it, it's like having lost a friend.