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Virtually Unknown Paper Serves as Vital Link for Alabama’s Gays

November 7, 1995

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ The Alabama Forum isn’t an underground newspaper, but it’s not quite above ground, either.

Many writers for the 18-year-old gay tabloid use pseudonyms to avoid harassment and preserve their regular jobs in this state, where homosexuals are routinely reviled on talk radio and a sodomy law remains on the books.

There are national magazines like The Advocate and Out for homosexuals, and most large cities have at least one gay paper. But the nonprofit Forum serves as a vital link for gays in Alabama.

``It’s the only way we can get a lot of our news out there,″ said David White, state coordinator of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Alabama.

Editor June Holloway said that publishing a gay newspaper in Alabama has been a challenge but that the Forum has received only a few harassing phone calls in her nine years on the job.

``It may be they don’t know we’re here,″ she said.

Most of the 3,500 copies printed each month are given away. About 250 people have mail subscriptions. Advertisements from stores, nightclubs, lawyers, doctors and counselors fill nearly half of each 24-page issue.

The Forum has a lot of news that often doesn’t appear in mainstream papers.

White recently wrote a front-page article about his group’s effort to raise $20,000 for a lawsuit challenging the state sexual misconduct law, which prohibits types of sex common among gays and some heterosexuals.

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