Former San Diego ‘Gay & Lesbian Times’ Staffers Aim to Revive the LGBT Publication

A 2010 Gay & Lesbian Times cover.
A 2010 Gay & Lesbian Times cover.

The long-running but now-dormant Gay & Lesbian Times (GLT), which has been called the “paper of record” for LGBT San Diego, may be headed for a new life online.

Two former GLT staff members, Tim Holmberg and Christina MacNeal, are now business partners working to revive the publication, which they became the owners of last month.

They’re running a crowd-funding campaign through IndieGoGo, with a goal of raising $20,000 for equipment and other expenses. The campaign will end Aug. 15, around which time Holmberg and MacNeal hope to launch an updated GLT website. Looking beyond the crowd-funding campaign, they’re interested in establishing a “writers’ collective” and raising money to support content with a public radio-like model.

Holmberg is a former GLT staff writer who moved into the sales department. He went on to work for another publication, but he continued to freelance for GLT until  in 2010 it was shut down amidst allegations that it inflated circulation numbers that it presented to advertisers and had other financial troubles. MacNeal, who contributed to LGBT and mainstream outlets prior to joining the GLT staff, was the last editor the publication had before closing. The print paper stopped production in October 2010, and long-time publisher Michael Portantino died in an apparent suicide two months later. Portantino and his former business partner, Jim Krupiarz, bought the  San Diego Gay Times in 1989 and renamed it the Gay & Lesbian Times to reflect its more inclusive coverage of the LGBT community.

“We always wanted to do this,” said Holmberg, who said he and MacNeal want to “take the heritage of the Gay & Lesbian Times and take it to the next generation … We were very honored that [Portantino’s family] would trust us with the heritage of that publication.”

Holmberg and MacNeal stress the multi-media approach they want to take in reviving the GLT. The website will be re-tooled, and the content will include videos and podcasts. They’d like to phase in a print product at some point, though it would be largely geared toward attracting traffic to the website.

MacNeal said that she’s excited to revive the GLT and that she sees a need for it in San Diego.

“I think it’s certainly timely, and it’s very needed,” she said. “We have a vibrant community and we have a large market for it.”

She says one thing she loved about the GLT was that it offered inclusive coverage of the entire LGBT community.

“That is something that is extremely important to me,” she said. “We don’t have that voice any more.”

San Diego’s other LGBT media include Gay San Diego, a print newspaper published every two weeks and an accompanying website owned by San Diego Community News Network; San Diego LGBT Weekly, which publishes a print newspaper every two weeks and has a web site, and San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN), which exists solely online.

Each of those publications has its shortcomings. Gay San Diego, whose publisher is David Mannis, a heterosexual man, carries relatively little local news. San Diego LGBT Weekly also carries little local news, mostly offering up a summary of LGBT news from around the world. San Diego Gay and Lesbian News is published by Hale Media, whose owner, Johnathan Hale, is the controversial president of the Hillcrest Business Association. Hillcrest is the predominantly LGBT neighborhood in San Diego. Hale’s management of the business association has been a source of controversy in the local LGBT community that his news organization doesn’t cover.

  1. Firstly, I’d like to commend your paper on generally engaging community members as authors, and on maintaining a bi-weekly news source.

    However, the PReP piece was inexcusable. Factual misrepresentation is not a matter of opinion. It’s willful and damaging. The piece did not appear in a vacuum, and I have difficulty imagining that submissions to your Op-Ed were so limited as to make that the best of your options.

    Finally, to now attempt to hide behind the idea that correcting gross falsehoods is “discussion,” and you therefore did the gay community a favor by publishing gross falsehoods, is effete at best. This ignorance is not just as good as knowledge.

  2. Morgan Hurley and Gay San Diego have every reason to be defensive regarding their content.

    To have been called out by a national HIV magazine for irresponsible journalism in allowing a discredited columnist to hijack their editorial heading and dispense false and misleading information about HIV prevention is an inexcusable sin that may likely contribute to new HIV infections. To date, Hurley and her straight publisher have yet to offer an appology or retraction for their lack of knowledge of such an important issue to the LGBT community.

    Not withstanding Hurley’s assesments, I will gladly stand along side Christina MacNeal with whom I have had the pleasure of having already launched a publication – San Diego LGBT Weekly. Were it not for the dedicated hard work that both MacNeal and I invested in the launch of that publication, it would not have gotten off the ground.

    Hurley would be well advised to spend her time vetting and developing original content that does not jeapordize the LGBT community’s health and well being. This would require a dedication that Hurley clearly lacks, and understanding that she is unlikely to find in the press releases she is retouching and labeling “local content”.

    1. Mr. Holmberg. I have nothing to apologize for. We printed an opinion piece that we received on the clearly marked “opinion page” and the author happened to disagree with the use of PrEP, which many others, including renown AIDS activist and documentarian Tony Kushner, also disagree with. The opinion piece stated the writer’s own opinions, as well as facts about the continued requirement of safe sex practices that I easily found on the CDC’s website, as well as Truvada’s website.

      What that opinion piece did, aside from stir your angst, was start a dialogue, and that is exactly what the opinion page was designed – decades ago – to do.

      Just a couple weeks ago The Center held a presentation regarding PrEP and those in attendance were full of differing opinions but most came to learn more. What is clear despite people’s opinions one way or another is that all gay men should educate themselves on the drug and have a conversation with their doctor about whether or not PrEP is right for them. Like any repetitive-use prescription drug, it is a very personal decision.

      The moderator here did not post my last reply to his response regarding our coverage of “local” news. Those who read our paper on a bi-weekly basis know we share a great deal of real stories about the local community in every issue and we have a number of great writers who engage in doing just that. Maybe you should pick up our newspaper from a news stand.

      If I am not mistaken, the current editor of LGBT Weekly is “straight” – so not sure what having a steadfast straight ally publishing an LGBT paper has to do with anything or why you would make it sound like a bad thing. He believes in this community. I hope you do, too.

      I wish you luck with your venture.

  3. As the current editor of Gay San Diego and someone who has been with the paper for 2 1/2 years, I take offense that this article claims we carry “relatively little news.” I’d like to know what you call the last 24 pages of copy we just published on Friday.

    Another huge mistake in the article above is with regards to Hale. He owns SDGLN not LGBT Weekly. Who were your sources for this story? Just Holmberg & MacNeal? How are they going to do an entire paper when they can’t get facts straight for one article?

    On a side note, I was Christina Mac Neal’s editor at another publication and I had constant issues with her content, writing skills, and ability to meet deadlines. For this reason I remember being quite amused when she was hired at GLT as an editor.

    I highly doubt this will never get off the ground.

    1. Thanks for your email. We’ve fixed the error regarding Hale’s publication. Thanks for alerting us. Regarding Gay San Diego, the story originally said you published “relatively little local news.” But in the editing process the word “local” was dropped inadvertently. It now has been restored. We based that assessment on a review of your publication over the past several months, noting that you published only 15 local “cover stories in the 20 weeks from Feb. 21 to July 11 and 15 “news briefs” in the 28-week period from Dec. 27 through July 13, with a significant amount of that events and arts and entertainment announcements rather than news.

  4. Thank you WehoVille,

    I would like to extend a special thank you to Pat McArron of Lambda Archives for his role in preserving the GLT website and associated archives, without which this initiative would likely be inconceivable. I would also like to thank the Portantino family for the trust they have placed in myself and Christina MacNeal to safeguard the heritage that Michael Portantino built over nearly 30 years of ownership.

    The closing of the GLT and the circumstances surrounding Portantino’s death were unfortunate to say the least, and many people were hurt during that time. But the long view of the history of both the GLT and Portantino himself show an immense dedication to the community. That dedication ultimately was responsible for many of the advancements we are able to take for granted today. Christine Kehoe, Toni Atkins, Todd Gloria and many other figures who are driving our community’s successes today owe much to the GLT and its support.

    But our effort is not about the past. It is about the future, and an LGBT community that needs and deserves sound balanced journalism, and the chance to be represented in a multimedia publication that embodies the best of what our vibrant community has to offer. We feel that in spite of the presence of other forums serving San Diego’s LGBT community, we have something significant to offer that is currently lacking, and we intend to give the community a chance to decide for themselves if they like what we bring to them.

    If you would like to support our initiative, please check out the site at:


    Timothy P. Holmberg

  5. This article is comical.

    Perhaps the family gave their “blessing”, but most certainly there was no purchase. For two individuals needing to raise $20k through crowd-funding I would imagine it unaffordable to hire a good business attorney to rid of the paper’s debt, prior lawsuits and pending charges for defrauding advertisers.

    Lambda Archives has paid for the GLT website to remain up/running since about after a year after the paper closed and they are also in possession of all archive issues (or they were).

    Christina MacNeal did not work at the GLT for 2.5 years. Randy Hope was a long-term employee and editor until May 4, 2010. Rick Braatz served as interim editor for a few weeks until Ms. MacNeal was hired in June (first issue she was mentioned was June 10, 2010). She did not work at the paper prior. Her tenure was 4 months. The paper’s last issue was Oct 8, 2010, which went on line, but was never published in print.

    Additionally, when discussing the current papers of record in San Diego you left out Rage Monthly. I believe Rage Monthly is the longest standing publication at present.

    Good luck on your new venture. Thank you for allowing me to correct the errors in your above article.

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