The mainstream gay press in Britain tends to treat its readership as if they’re in a state of teenage arrested development. I wanted Polari to treat its subjects equally and its readership intelligently.
In an interview with Phoebe-Jane Boyd of DWPub, I talked about the thinking behind Polari Magazine, and how the aim was to explore the gay subculture and not just create another lifestyle magazine. If you want to know more about why Polari does what it does, read on!
And if you like what you read and want to write for Polari, click here.
1: About Polari.
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
The readership is remarkably diverse considering it’s an LGBT magazine. The focus is on arts, culture and community, which I think has a more universal appeal than the usual pop music and pecs. What I know about the readers is really what I learn from comments on social networks and direct emails. We bill the content as LGBT, and the readers are interested in ideas, in politics, and what it means to be part of a subculture. That said, I also have friends’ mothers who read it. The numbers per month are currently around 80,000 but that’s on the rise.
What was the initial inspiration for starting Polari?
I originally started with the idea of creating a magazine website that was about exploring the gay subculture and wasn’t just another lifestyle magazine. And that’s what I took to my business partner, Bryon, and we built it together with that in mind. The internet is full of lifestyle and news sites that are all doing pretty much the same thing. We actually started out with a “no nipple” policy to distance ourselves from the mainstream gay press, but it seemed a little too censorious. It seemed like the days when magazines were interested in ideas and politics were over. I also thought it was a good idea to write about pop culture seriously.
You recently redesigned the website, what have you improved?
The core improvement is the navigation. It’s more visual, and more intuitive. Each section of the magazine has an individual landing page, and it’s much easier to navigate through the subsections and see what articles are there. It’s given us a lot more scope. It also looks superb on the iPad and the iPhone.