The Open Door and Other Publications

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The Open Door

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

History and Description

First published in February of 1987, The Open Door ran for only one year. The paper's editor, Kevin Richey, started the publication because there were no local newspapers reporting on gay and lesbian issues, and what little local visibility there was for the community tended to dwell on the AIDS crisis. Richey wanted to cover culture, social life, and politics, besides reporting on AIDS.

The debut page of the debut issue of The Open Door

The Open Door was sponsored by local Bloomington businesses and received some indirect assistance from the staff of the Indiana Daily Student, as well as from students and professors. The Open Door was printed in Chicago, because no local printer would take the job. 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.

Community Response

The Open Door received negative reactions from several businesses that did not want to sponsor the publication. Some cited political differences with what they characterized as the paper's "partisan" beliefs. Others feared a potential backlash from customers if they support of a gay and lesbian newspaper.

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

The Open Door Closes

The Open Door ceased publication after only a year in print. Richey stated that, as the paper “became bigger than the rest of us,” he and his volunteer staff simply began to prioritize other aspects of their lives. Richey nevertheless expressed a justified sense of pride over helping to spread understanding and acceptance of gay and lesbian people 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”.


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