South Florida’s most prominent queer news outlet shuttered last month, giving rise to a new publication.
TheSouth Florida Gay Newsannounced in late May that it would no longer publish. The decision to close down comes less than two months after the death of cofounder Norm Kent.
“When Norm Kent died in April, we had hoped to continue his legacy of hard-nosed journalism through South Florida Gay News,” reads a note from Publisher/Editor Jason Parsley, Associate Publisher Justin Wyse and the editorial team.
“But we quickly realized that would not be feasible. This was not an easy decision, but in the long run it’s the best decision for us and the community. So this is a quick and short note to say thank you to our readers, our advertisers and all those who believed in us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. SFGN may be gone. But we are not. Stay tuned.”
The publishing team said the paper had significant debt. Instead of continuing the publication, members of the team told theSouth Florida Sun-Sentinel they will launch a new publication called Out South Florida, which is online now.
On June 6, Out South Florida posted to Instagram, "Last week the South Florida Gay News shutdown. This week a new newspaper is born from its ashes. Welcome to OUT South Florida. Now more than ever we need a thriving independent LGBT press. There is a growing number of politicians and right-wing activists that wish to silence and erase us. We are facing an unprecedented assault on our culture, our liberty, and our freedom here in Florida, and around the country."
Kent died at age 73 after an 18-month fight with pancreatic cancer, according to theMiami Herald. Kent also hosted a local radio show and had been active supporting LGBTQ+ rights and marijuana legalization.
The final print edition of SFGN published on May 25. The cover offered the message “RESIST” in large type. A subhed reads “We are shutting down… but we urge you to keep speaking up.” A lead article asks supporters to donate to the Norm Kent Journalism Fund.
News articles also continued to document recent controversy about the future of the Stonewall Pride Parade & Street Festival in Wilton Manors and a lawsuit by Hamburger Mary’s challenging Florida’s new anti-drag law.
The paper ceased publication at a time when LGBTQ+ communities face the greatest assault on rights in Florida in decades.