An open letter to “Out” magazine

Dear Out magazine,

Hi, remember us? Yeah, we’re women. We’re gay women. Look, I know you don’t normally like to think about us because we’re all icky and girly and you prefer men — hence the gay thing. But we are a part of your community. We exist.

I know that last part is also hard for you to believe, since no gay women were featured on your cover during all of 2008. In fact, only four women (all straight, naturally) made your cover in 2008 total, and that’s being generous and including your December 2007/January 2008 double issue. Otherwise it would just be two — two women in 12 months.

But, hey, I understand. You are a magazine that largely caters to gay men. We get that. We’re used to it. And yet, when I looked at your Out 100 December cover I couldn’t help but see red. As in all the blood rushed to my head and started to boil and then started to churn and then started to explode red.

You picked Katy Perry as the female representative of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people of the year?

Katy Perry? Katy “I Kissed a Girl” Perry? Straight Katy Perry whose song has become an anthem for drunken straight girl-on-girl hook-ups at a frat party everywhere? Seriously? That Katy Perry?

You see, it’s not that I have a problem with her inescapably catchy song, per se. I mean, it does irk me when she sings that she hopes her “boyfriend don’t mind” and that it’s an “experimental game” and “not what good girls do.” Yes, I know she is joking. She really loves the gays even if she has never actually kissed a girl or anything truly gay like that.

Still, just because the religious right doesn’t like the song either doesn’t mean we have to automatically embrace it. In fact, it feeds into the worst stereotypes about what it means to be gay, namely an experiment on the road back to heteroville.

But who cares, right? As your editor, Aaron Hicklin, responded to Gawker’s criticism of your cover choice, “I Kissed a Girl” has a beat and you can dance to it and “sometimes that’s all I want from my music.”

No, what I really have a problem with is that there were plenty of actual gay women in the world, let alone on your Out 100 list (which inexplicably has 109 people on it instead of 100), who would have made better, more representative cover girls. Take Rachel Maddow (who you claim was unavailable), or Tegan & Sara or Heather Matarazzo or Missy Higgins or Jane Lynch any of the other 24 gay and transgendered women on your list.

Heck, even Lindsay Lohan would have been better since she will at least admit to being in a relationship with a woman.

Political commentator Rachel Maddow, mayor Denise Simmons,
actress Jane Lynch and publisher Amy Scholder

But then I guess you would have to be thinking about gay women and their representation. You know, the icky girly stuff. I can tell you don’t like to think about that because of the pathetic percentage of women — gay or straight — on your list of 109 people. A scant 22 percent of your honorees were women. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, well, we’d be here all day.

Of the 56 portraits taken of the listmakers, only 9 were of women alone or with other women. That means that 84 percent of the time your photoshoots were men only or women coupled with men. I guess you’ve got to have something to look at, huh.

Musicians Tegan & Sara, Amanda Palmer and Amy Cook

Look, Out, we’re not looking for a full-scale lezzie takeover of your magazine or anything. We realize we’ll never be your main focus. But we want to be in at the very least considered seriously when it comes time to put together what is meant to be a comprehensive list of the biggest LGBT movers and shakers of the year.

We deserve better than 22 percent. And we definitely deserve better than Katy Perry.

Sincerely (someone who has actually kissed a girl),

Ms. Snarker

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