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Gayletter #19
We love queer mags

Gayletter #19

This week, we’re turning our attention to the most established magazine in our Pride series; one that began as a weekly newsletter way back when in 2008/9 (depending on who you ask).

Created by friends Tom Jackson and Abi Benitez, Gayletter—the newsletter—offered a curated guide to gay art, culture and nightlife in New York for a decade between 2008/9-2018. It began as a way for Tom and Abi to seek out and share the kinds of events that they wanted to attend—the kind you want to experience “before they blow up” as the pair told The New York Times in 2010.

The first edition of the Gayletter newsletter

As their subscriber list grew from friends and acquaintances to the wider New York scene, the pair took a leap of faith and in 2014, launched Gayletter as a print publication. Today, that publication’s new and nineteenth issue is sitting pretty on our shelves in London, marking a very respectable decade in print.

In terms of the physical stuff of the magazine, it’s fairly traditional. It’s ‘magazine-sized’ and runs at around 160 pages per issue. The logo follows on from the newsletter’s blocky header, and has remained the same bold, white, and underlined GAYLETTER since their baby blue issue #1 dropped in 2014.


Each edition of Gayletter features a cover star (or two) bordered by a different bold colour (à la the rainbow flag?) This time, it’s a choice between fabled New York scenestar and performance artist Amanda Lepore (above), and rising Madrid-based reggaetonero, La Cruz (top image). Other, more recent cover stars have included Charli XCX, Honey Dijon, Janelle Monaé and Frank Ocean. Compared to the previous two titles featured in this series, the well-established, well-positioned Gayletter has enough oomph to pull in big names where, with HÄN and No One, hyperlocal communities fill the spotlight.

Inside this latest edition then, features range from cover interviews to ‘A Short History of Glory Holes’ by Shiv Kotecha, (with risqué photography, above, by Benjamin Fredrickson). There’s a particularly cheeky photoshoot with model and musician Yves Mathieu East by Emil Kosuge and an interview with New York gym buff David Barton (featuring a Blood Lies Bleeding-worthy photoshoot, below). Plus, a feature on the fine art of Paul Cadmus, one on artist and it-girl Pippa Garner, art by Dominican-born American painter Bony Ramirez and more.

Like the newsletter that started it all, there’s a real meet-cute between queer (gay in particular) culture, celebrity, and fun and sexy smut, alongside figures known for their contributions to high end art, culture, design and literature. This, and the fact that it’s still very New York-, or certainly US-focused, makes for a particular reading experience, one no doubt incredibly suited to those living in the city and exploring it in the same way as a young Tom and Abi were 15 years ago. Personally, I connect a little less with the title, but then No One and HÄN very much cater to my corner of the queer scene—both in terms of identity and geography.

In short, with their 20th issue due later this year, it’s clear that Gayletter has successfully made the move from inbox to coffee table. Seeking a snapshot of life lived in New York’s gay, cultural upper echelons? Looking for a fun cover interview with a big-name celebrity? Gayletter will deliver you that and then some.

Editors-in-chief and creative directors Abi Benitez & Tome Jackson
Art direction Letter Studio


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Gayletter #19

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