Since today I’m traveling to Washington for the 2008 annual convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, I thought this might be a good time to explain what the group is and why I’m a dedicated member.
NLGJA (or “nÃ©gligÃ©e,” as some waggish members call it) was founded in 1990 by the late executive editor of the Oakland Tribune, Leroy Aarons. It provides a home for the thousands of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender journalists, students, publicists and other media professionals in this country. In addition to the annual national convention, chapters across the U.S. hold meetings, mixers, panel discussions, screenings, parties and other events that help members make new friends in the industry, and advance their careers through networking and skills-building.
I’ve belonged to NLGJA since about 1994. Most of my gay friends in the media business I met through NLGJA–including some valuable and close relationships. Personally, my membership has never led to any new jobs–though I know many people for whom it has. But about a third of the freelance reporters (“stringers”) I use on OutQ News, as well as the substitute anchor I’m training right now, are people I met through the organization. All in all, it’s been the most fruitful group membership I’ve ever had.