After almost 18 years of informing his readers on LGBTQ+ news and entertainment, gay blogger Andy Towle has stepped away from his namesake website, Towleroad. The blog will now operate under the editorial leadership of Michael Goff, who was Towle's business partner at Towleroad and one of the founding editors of Out (now a sister publication of The Advocate).
Towle, who had been an editor for the 2000s gay publication Genre, launched Towleroad in October 2003 just as many were gravitating to the internet for their daily news fix. A mix of queer stories culled from the internet along with links to articles that appeal to gay Gen X and millennial audiences, Towle ensured the blog was constantly updated. The site has featured numerous contributors, including those in the political sphere like David Mixner and Corey Johnson, queer creators such as Matthew Rettenmund, Nathan Manske, and Randy Rainbow, and celebrated writers like Lisa Keen.
There were various reasons for stepping away from the site, Towle noted in his goodbye letter from Sunday, writing, "There’s no one reason I’ve decided it’s time for a change. When you do something for nearly two decades you start to wonder if there’s anything else for you out there. And when there’s a global pandemic and you’re stuck in isolation for a year obsessively absorbing the actions of a fascist in charge of the country you start pondering those ‘life’ questions even more."
Towle expressed gratitude at the evolution in LGBTQ+ rights that paralleled Towleroad, noting George W. Bush was president when the site launched and marriage equality, federal protections against discrimination, and open military service all seemed like pipe dreams. Towle also shouted out to his faithful readers and other queer blogging pioneers — people like Pam Spaulding, Bil Browning, Jeremy Hooper, and Joe Jervis.
While Towleroad will continue, Towle's plans are currently opaque.
"So what do I plan to do?" he wrote. "I don’t know right now, but I do have a few ideas. I want to get back to creating things. I want to see what else is out there for me. I want to take a deep breath and finally maybe have a weekend off.
"I also want to explore my interest in the visual arts — I’ve been doing a lot of painting and I’d love for those of you who are art fans to follow my art Instagram account HERE."