About 'Out with Clout'

We're proud of the Q Monthlyyou're holding in your hands. And not just because we're obligated to "have pride" in the month of June.

This issue of Q is our largest ever -- weighing in at 44 pages. That may seem a small sum to you, but for a young yearning-to-grow publication like ours, with a tiny full-time sales and editorial staff -- well, we're brimming with pride. With any luck, that number will continue to climb, allowing us to bring you more stories and coverage of queer life in the Twin Cities.

This issue also bears our second-ever "Out With Clout" cover story. In June 1996 we published a list of local movers and shakers who were not only out at work and out in public but who also were changing the way we lived life in the Twin Cities. The list included lawyers, community leaders, public-relations execs, politicos, theater producers, and business people -- people who were out in their professions and who made decisions, brokered power, led organizations, and moved money.

What follows on page 16 is a bigger, updated list for 1998: a selection of 100 out individuals who live, work, and relax in the Twin Cities. All of them wield some amount of influence, either within the queer community or within society at large. The list, we're proud to note, includes not merely the usual suspects, not merely community celebs, not merely board members and bankers. It also includes the folks who organize the softball leagues we join, write the books we read, preach the sermons we hear, fix the food we eat, direct the plays we watch, and teach the kids we cherish. Much as any politician, these people shape the our actions and thoughts. Whether we're conscious or unconscious of their influence, they frame the way many of us live our lives. Is that clout? We think so.

Compiling such an article wasn't easy, however. First, there was the matter of finding 100 out individuals. "Are there 100 queers in the Twin Cities?" joked more than one colleague when we called asking for nominations. But our search for recommendations went well beyond the scope of familiar names and people we knew. We called friends of friends and acquaintances we only knew in passing. We thumbed the Rolodexes of local leaders and perused rosters and phone books. Before long, we'd pulled together a list nearly twice the length we needed -- all of them qualified candidates, judging by the definition of influence explained above. And the suggestions kept rolling in.

But the names of some individuals surfaced again and again, and those were the ones that piqued our interest and topped our picks. Some we knew by name, some by reputation, and many we didn't know at all. The legwork began anew: Checking names, checking titles, checking facts. We contacted individuals who'd never appeared within Q's pages before to ask, "Are you out?" Yes, came the resounding reply from most folks. The rest never called back.

The end result is a list of 100 influential lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals of which -- and of whom -- we're proud. The collective scope of their influence is grand. In newspapers and support groups, in classrooms and at the capitol, these people shape how we think and act. Not all of them are on the frontlines of queer liberation -- some in fact, might eschew such a characterization -- but by being out, they've made a statement: We're proud of who we are.

 
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