PRISM Magazine: The LGBT Story for Southwest Virginia

By, Kimberly Nikole Welsh

LGBT media is alive and well in Virginia. In June of 2014, key players at the Roanoke Diversity Center launched a local LGBT magazine called Informative Q Magazine. In an effort to supplement the new publication with comprehensive local content, the PRISM Foundation, in partnership with Roanoke Pride, launched the first issue of PRISM Foundation Magazine (PRISM Magazine) in May of 2015.

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According to Roanoke Pride’s website, PRISM Magazine was created to build the PRISM Foundation, raise awareness about LGBT youth homelessness and address issues affecting Southwest Virginia’s LGBT community. PRISM Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Jason Michael Gilmore, is quick to point out that the online, bimonthly publication is “not designed to compete with Informative Q Magazine; rather, its goal is to ensure that Southwest Virginia has an outlet to get comprehensive regional information on a regular basis. PRISM Magazine is designed bring more of our community together.”

Digital vs. Print

Some wonder why PRISM Magazine did not launch as a printed publication. “We didn’t want to hold up getting the magazine out while we tried to work out print deals,” Jason explains. If it ever does become a regular printed magazine, Jason wants to make sure that it is a quality product and not something that is created by “cutting corners.” Moreover, Jason notes that “e-publications are popular among those who enjoy reading on iPads, tablets and other mobile devices.”

Last fall, PRISM Magazine produced its first printed issue, which also served as Roanoke Pride’s annual Pride Guide. The joint venture included stories about the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the problem of LGBT youth homelessness in the region, information about the PRISM Foundation as well as a complete listing of all of Roanoke Pride’s festivities. 

A Publication Rooted in History & Pride

According to Jason, having a regional LGBT publication in the 21st century is important because it connects Roanoke’s LGBT community to its past. “We must always remember where our community came from and the struggles our community endured in prior generations. If we forget that history, we could repeat it.”

This is particularly important when it comes to the celebrating Roanoke Pride, the longest-running annual pride celebration in Virginia. “Pride comes from the Stonewall riots and years of protesting for equal rights. Now Pride is often seen as a source of entertainment. It’s easy to forget the roots of our community’s identity.” Jason’s sentiments likely ring true for Pride organizers across the nation. Jason has never thought of Pride as just entertainment. “To me, Pride in Southwestern Virginia has always been about community. It’s a time when we come together, like a family reunion, to celebrate our community.” By publishing content important to Southwestern Virginia, PRISM Magazine unites the region’s past, present and future while celebrating the local LGBT community.

PRISM Magazine’s bimonthly issues can be found at: https://issuu.com/roanokeprideinc

More information can be found at: http://roanokepride.org/prism-foundation.html