Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Andy Towle Leaves Towleroad.com

I have been writing this blog in earnest since early 2007, just shy of 14 years ago.  Along the way - especially thanks to the 2008 LGBT Blogger Summit in Washington D.C., sponsored by Microsoft and Progressive Insurance - I have had the privilege of connecting with many amazing LGBT bloggers across the country and even in other parts of the world.  For a number of years I was a contributor to The Bilerico Project (now part of LGBTQ Nation), once described by the Washington Post as the LGBT version of the Huffington Post.  One such blogger and and inspiration is Andy Towle of Towleroad. After 18 years at it, Andy has announced that he is leaving the blog that carries his name.  Much has changed over that time period yet LGBT citizens in many parts of America and the world still struggle for full civil rights and fight regular discrimination.  In a piece at his blog, Andy looks at what prompted the launching of his blog, looks at the connections made, and why he is moving on.   I don't see myself ready to hang up blogging at the moment, but readers need to know that it is part labor of love and part therapy session at times.  Here are excerpts from Andy's "good bye" piece:

Longtime readers and friends, we’ve come a great distance together. But after nearly 18 years scouring the web for LGBTQ news and bringing it to you on a daily basis, this has been my last week at Towleroad.

It’s been a thrilling experience, and a lot of hard, rewarding work. Towleroad is one of the few independently published LGBTQ news sites left. We’ve survived in a very tough environment by running a tight ship and sticking to our voice and our mission, which has been to bring you a variety of different types of news, both serious and completely silly, with a commitment to truth and honesty. I hope that it has informed you over the years, helped create some positive change in the world, and maybe given someone a laugh or a smile and inspired them to be themselves.

Back in those very early days there were a few independent gay voices doing blogs (notably Andrew Sullivan) but no online clearing houses for LGBTQ information, and it was thrilling to be able to interact with an audience in an exciting and fresh format and I’m grateful to have been in the right place at the right time to do so.

It was a collaborative time in “new media” and I soon found myself among a sea of exciting voices which shared links, inspiration, common cause, and creative ideas, like Pam Spaulding’s ‘Pam’s House Blend’, Joe Jervis’s JoeMyGod, Michael K’s Dlisted, OMGblog, Bil Browning’s The Bilerico Project, Michelangelo Signorile’s The Signorile Report, Keith Boykin, Jeremy Hooper’s Good As You, Rex Wockner, John Aravosis’ AmericaBlog, Chris Johnson and Michael Lavers at the Washington Blade, Jim Burroway and Timothy Kincaid’s Box Turtle Bulletin, Paul Schindler at Gay City News, Rod 2.0, Shakesville, The New Civil Rights Movement, Andres Duques’ Blabbeando, Trent Vanegas’s Pink is the New Blog, Just Jared, Mike Rogers’ BlogActive, Kenneth Walsh’s Kenneth in the 212, Matt Rettenmund’s Boy Culture, Queerty, Alvin McEwen’s ‘Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters’, Greg Hernandez’s Greg in Hollywood, Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out, Dan Savage’s Slog, the late Monica Roberts’ TransGriot, Juliano Corbetta’s Made In Brazil, Back2Stonewall, Perez Hilton, Socialite Life, NewNowNext, AfterEllen, AfterElton, Autostraddle and many others. I apologize if I’ve forgotten anyone. By virtue of our formats and audiences, at many times we were able to manifestly affect justice together in so many ways. I would like to thank them all for their support and kindness over the years.

I’ve been gratified to see the tide of public opinion and acceptance of LGBTQ people shift in vast ways. When I launched this experiment George W. Bush was president, and nobody knew what a “blog” was. There were no hate crime protections for LGBTQ people, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was still in place, and gay and lesbian people couldn’t get married anywhere in the United States. There was no YouTube, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram, and no iPhone!

There’s no one reason I’ve decided it’s time for a change. When you do something for nearly two decades you start to wonder if there’s anything else for you out there. And when there’s a global pandemic and you’re stuck in isolation for a year obsessively absorbing the actions of a fascist in charge of the country you start pondering those ‘life’ questions even more. 

So what do I plan to do? I don’t know right now, but I do have a few ideas. I want to get back to creating things. I want to see what else is out there for me. I want to take a deep breath and finally maybe have a weekend off.

So many readers and commenters have offered their words of support over the years and I’m grateful for your lasting readership, and also the criticism. I have tried to learn from it.

I’d also like to thank the many writers and contributors I’ve worked with closely, including Bobby Hankinson, Sean Mandell, Kyler Geoffrey, David Mixner, Corey Johnson, Ari Ezra Waldman, Naveen Kumar, Randy Rainbow, Nathaniel Rogers, Kevin Sessums, Craig Karpel, Ari Karpel, Adam Rhodes, Andrew Belonsky, Lisa Keen, Ed Salvato, Billy Kolber, Anthony Costello, Brandon Thorp and Penn Bullock, Jon Barrett, Josh Helmin, Josh Koll, Brian Sloan, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Christian Walters, Daniel Villareal, Susie Bright, Jon Bailiff, Garth Greenwell, Jake Folsom, John Wright, Josh Trujillo, Julian Ward, Kenneth Walsh, Lewis Payton, Luis Damian Veron, Leo Herrera, Matthew Rettenmund, Muri Assuncao, Nathan Manske, Occupy the Disco’s Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum and Tadeu Maghales, RJ Aguiar, Sam Greisman, Savas Abadsidis, and Steve Pepdjonovic. Again, apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone.

Keep in touch.

Slowly, many of the bloggers and platforms from the Blogger Summit are ceasing to blog although remaining active in advocacy and calling out bigots and hypocrites. I am so thankful for those with whom I was lucky enough to interact over the years.  Best of luck Andy!!


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

OMG same!
I was just commenting on another blogger's page that Andy is leaving Towleroad. I'm going to miss him. And I didn't know you've written for Bilerico!
And his list of blogs was such a great walk down memory lane! I used to love Blabbeando and I still read Signorile on Twitter.
I have to revisit those blogs...


Michael-in-Norfolk said...

Yes, I wrote for Bilerico from 2009 through when it went inactive before being rolled into LGBT Nation. Not sure if ant archive exists or not.

A number of the blogs Andy references are in my blogroll. Sadly, a number of links are now inactive. Many of us still participate in a listserv and I get daily updates from it still.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

Actually, I found this link to my time at Bilerico Project:


Maybe I will investigate contributing again. :)

Hot guys said...

So is he going to sell the website or just leave it hangin' and not update? 😏

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

The site will continue under his business partner for now.

Hot guys said...

Figured. He basically made a brand out of it, so... 🤷‍♂️

EdA said...

Regrettable, to put it mildly. And I do hope that you are able to keep blogging along.

I would like to think that to at least a noticeable extent, issues and concerns that seemed to be limited in coverage only to blogs are now getting significantly more, and better (relatively), covered in "mainstream" media.

However, I write this just after learning that The Boston Eagle bar, after many decades, is formally closing after COVID realistically closed it. And hoping that its owner and landlord doesn't decide to replace it with another nail salon or real estate agent.

Wishing everyone the best.