Montana’s only publication devoted to the gay and lesbian community is stepping out with a new statewide distribution plan and double the circulation. Out Words, formerly the Gayzette, hit the stands in May with a new look, new name and bigger mission.
“Historically it’s been more of a newsletter and my vision was to make it more of a newspaper,” says Caitlin Copple, co-editor of Out Words. “I wanted to see it become more of a place where all members of the community could make their voices heard.”
Produced by the nonprofit Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center, which opened its doors in Missoula in 1999, the Gayzette has been found in a number of local businesses since 2005. But Out Words, now being printed in a larger tabloid format with a color cover and a circulation of 2,000 copies monthly, can now be found in Kalispell, Billings, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte and Helena as well as smaller towns like Browning and Lewistown, Copple says. It’s also available online at www.gaymontana.com.
Jon Freeland, advertising manager for Out Words and a Community Center board member, says expanding to widespread distribution is important for the group’s mission.
“We just felt it was very important to go statewide and serve all the LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex] persons who may not be in Missoula, to help them learn about what resources, communities and happenings there are in Montana,” Freeland says.
Out Words’ co-editors Copple and Suzie Reahard are currently joined by a handful of contributing writers and photographers—it’s an all-volunteer staff—and Copple says she’s now working to find correspondents in the state’s major cities to contribute news and events that far-flung communities might otherwise overlook.
“As the [Western Montana Gay & Lesbian] Community Center becomes more of a player in the state,” Copple says, “it’s important to have a media vehicle that reflects that we’re here and we’re out.”