Eighteen years old may seem young for a human being, but it seems pretty old for a magazine.
This issue of Metro Weekly is the one where we flip the calendar and celebrate our 18th anniversary of publishing every Thursday in D.C. Were the magazine a flesh-and-blood being, it would be registering to vote and getting into R-rated movies without our parental guidance. Although, given my role in the magazine's DNA, you can be sure it would have been watching those movies alone for a long time already.
It's amusing, as always, to anthropomorphize the magazine because for those of us who've worked on it every day — from our newest employees to the old hands like me and my co-publisher Randy Shulman — it actually has taken on a life of its own. Looking back at the magazine in its infancy you can see Randy's and my fingerprints throughout it. Eighteen years later, those fingerprints continue but have been joined and changed for the better by the able hands of our staff, past and present.
And just as it is with a child, it's amazing to watch something that started so small grow into something so big. That's both literal (our original digest-size format seems so delicately tiny in hindsight) and conceptual (our online growth over the past few years has made us one of the nation's top sources for LGBT news). I'm awfully proud of it and the people who make it happen. I'm avoiding false modesty to note that I believe that the magazine is not only the best LGBT publication you'll find in D.C., it stands up against any publication you'll find anywhere (and there a lot of excellent LGBT publications across the nation and online).
My goal with Metro Weekly for the past decade has been to create something that's bigger than myself or Randy or one of our staffers. I want Metro Weekly to be not just a publication that covers the community, but a publication that's a part of the community. Strong and vibrant LGBT media help make our community stronger, whether we're objectively covering the news that shapes our lives, giving voice to differing opinions, or having some fun with nightlife and entertainment. We have a stunningly diverse LGBT community in the Washington area and it remains an honor to write about all the parts of it.
That goal is also why we created the Metro Weekly Next Generation Awards. Magazines and businesses and websites are all wonderful things, but a community is defined by its individuals. As someone who spent a good amount of time as a young activist, I know that trying to make a difference in the lives of others can be both exhilarating and exasperating. A little support, a little acknowledgment, can go a long way to keeping our next generation engaged.
Our 2012 Next Generation Award winners — Christopher Barnhill, Terra Tempest Moore, Iimay Ho and David M. Pérez — are a stellar group whose work I'm excited to recognize and honor. While our goal with the Next Generation is to help promote and nurture leadership among LGBT people under 30, the unintentional side benefit has been the friendships I've formed with so many of the winners over the past four years and being able to see what they've accomplished since. These are leaders you'll be hearing from for years to come.
Sean Bugg is the co-publisher of Metro Weekly. He can be reached a . Follow him on Twitter @seanbugg.