The Open Door: a Queer Newspaper in Bloomington

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The Open Door was a Bloomington local newspaper that reported on gay and lesbian events at the local and national levels in the late 1980's.


First published in February of 1987, The Open Door ran for only one year. It was sponsored by local businesses in Bloomington and assisted by IU through the university newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, and through students and professors. The Open Door was printed in Chicago, Illinois. Its creators had to

Though primarily a gay publication, the paper aimed to attract a straight audience, as well, with features like "Straight Talk", an advice column for parents whose children were coming out. The Open Door’s mission was to spread awareness and understanding of the gay community and gay issues. The paper's editor, Kevin Richey, started the publication because there were no local newspapers reporting on GLBT events.

Community Response

The Open Door received negative responses from several businesses that did not want to sponsor the publication. Some cited political differences from some of the paper's partisan beliefs. Others voiced a fear of the potential backlash which might have resulted from their support of a gay and lesbian newspaper.

As the paper’s readership increased, some of the sponsors suggested the paper include a gossip column and a section for personal ads. Richey chose not to include these because he wanted the publication to continue to center news, events, and education. He was also worried that personal ads or gossip columns mights alienate straight people, or gay people who were looking for a news-centered publication.

Death of the Paper

After a year in print, publication of The Open Door ceased, as Richey and his volunteer staff became busy with other events in their lives. Richey stated, “The Open Door became bigger than the rest of us.” When asked how it felt to know his publication changed the Bloomington gay community, Richey expressed that he felt the publication had first and foremost helped to spread understanding and acceptance to the straight community. He said “I feel like Bloomington can be looked at as a smaller version of how the rest of the world has changed, but looking back, I feel that the straight community has changed more than the gay community”.