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Welcome to the

Welcome to the


On our 40th birthday we're making you a promise: For you and for The Advocate, the best is yet to come.

We've got a lot to celebrate as we turn 40, starting with our long-anticipated new look and logo. In the next issue of The Advocate, we look forward to unveiling our full redesign.

But in our 40th anniversary issue, we want to give you something special. In these pages, we want you to see yourselves as we see you.

As you live your own gay life, maybe you don't see the way forward: We win this vote but lose that one. Crimes against us are ignored. Some days it seems we're losing ground. But nobody could log much time at The Advocate and stay discouraged. From our desks we're privileged to see the unbelievably rich and varied tapestry of LGBT life. Our battles over the decades come together as one astounding victory.

This is our reward for working late night after night, year after year: We know how much, how often, how widely our people better the world.

In our anniversary issue, we want to re-create for you the excitement of a day at our office -- the gossip we hear, the history we uncover, the pride we feel.

Our first section, Making History, presents a time line of 40 events that shaped our movement. And our cover story announces one of our boldest moves yet: In partnership with our readers, we're naming the greatest heroes of the past 40 years. Thousands of you voted in our online poll, and you took us seriously. Not only did you write in a distinguished honor roll of activists, but you voted in equal measure for "everyday" heroes and the celebrities we love.

Still, we weren't surprised by your decisive vote for our greatest gay hero -- because Ellen DeGeneres's life story strikes a deep chord in us. As contributor Michele Kort puts it, Ellen exemplifies the classic hero's journey, retold as a modern American fable of coming out. Moved to say "Yep, I'm gay" despite her position in the public eye, Ellen seemed at first to have gambled her career and lost. But now she's living her happy ending -- and, through her, so are we. Although some of us choose activism as our life's work, many of us see ourselves as more like Ellen: We want to come out and then get on with our lives. Even if we don't have her talent or her fame, there's one trait we know we share: As LGBT people following our own paths, we make life more interesting for everybody else.

Part 2, Great American Lives, introduces three individuals -- two gay, one a trans woman -- whose stories could take place only now and only in America. Terri O'Connell, a fierce Mississippi girl with racing in her blood, is out to pick up the budding NASCAR career she gave up as a guy named J.T. Hayes. Jonathan Capehart, editorial writer for The Washington Post, is a Pulitzer Prize winner who sways opinion far beyond the Beltway. William Haefeli's cartoons in The New Yorker illustrate gays who are here, queer, and tending to their investment portfolios.

We can point to great gains in politics as well: Witness our profiles of six LGBT officials elected in heartland states -- and our pitches from mayors who want gays to move to their towns.

Stories like these, which would have been science fiction 40 years ago, blanket America now. True, we're not done fighting. Powerful forces want us back in the shadows of American life. But they can't close the deal because a new generation is too smart to buy it.

Part 3, Into the Future, gives a glimpse of the unlimited possibilities we now expect. Our "New Order" portfolio introduces six new action groups advancing the fight for our rights. But LGBT issues are no longer our only concern. In "Future Speak," when we asked a few of our most original minds to offer their predictions, we didn't restrict the conversation to "our" topics. We are citizens of the whole world. In that spirit, our final story takes you to Hawaii with a young friend of this magazine, former Advocate intern Steven Gaughan. As you see the world through his eyes, you'll understand the exuberance we feel when we look into yours.

On our 40th birthday, here's our wish for you. Keep breaking the rules. Keep changing the world. We can't wait to tell your stories.

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