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Waiting in line on Monday night to have our photo taken with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House press holiday party, one of the formally uniformed military men asked my husband Cavin and me for information on how to introduce us to the nation’s first couple. I provided my professional affiliation followed by my personal relationship.
”We’re spouses,” I said.
He hesitated briefly, then somewhat apologetically said, ”I think we actually use ‘guest.”’
”Actually, we prefer ‘spouse.”’
”I’ll check on that.”
Sure enough, by the time we arrived at the front of the line, he greeted us with a smile and told us we would be introduced as spouses.
It was a small moment of change in the grand scheme of life, although one of extreme importance to me. While the ongoing fight for marriage equality — and the heart-stirring achievement for equality in the District this week — is rightly focused on the rights and responsibilities that come with civil marriage, the battle is equally social in demanding the respect and recognition our husbands and wives deserve.
Small changes and community perceptions are also at the heart of some differences you see in the magazine you’re holding and the column that you’re reading.
More than 15 years ago, sitting at Randy Shulman’s dining-room table planning the debut issue of Metro Weekly, I designed one of the new magazine’s first sections, ”News of the Queer.” I intended it as a quirky and forthrightly political take on the local LGBT community. While the magazine’s arts and nightlife coverage over the years came to define us in the eyes of many, LGBT news and politics have been a part of our mission from the start.
Over the past few years, news coverage has been a growing and vital part of Metro Weekly. Our reporters have been out front on stories ranging from marriage equality and HIV/AIDS funding to hate crimes and community activism. Since I joined the magazine full-time at the start of the decade, it’s been my mission to grow the magazine, not only to better serve our community but to challenge ourselves to always do better as editors and journalists.
To showcase that growth with more clarity, we’ve dropped our ”Gauge” moniker that had designated our news and commentary section, replacing it with the more specific ”News” and ”Opinion.” I’ll admit some sadness at the loss of ”Gauge” — I always loved the combination of the phonetic ”gay” with the idea of measurement and tracking, but the time for change felt right.
As for content, the main change you’ll see in our news coverage is that there’s more of it — including online, as we’ve moved to daily updates at MetroWeekly.com.
This column will anchor our opinion section, with occasional guest editorialists taking my place. Our regular columnists — managing editor Will O’Bryan and local activist Richard J. Rosendall — will continue to run in this section, along with columns from our community’s newsmakers, activists and leaders. And we always encourage feedback and commentary from you, whether through letters or through comments on the website, all of which we look forward to publishing as part of our community’s ongoing and vibrant conversation.
These are small changes for Metro Weekly, but changes that better reflect both the work we do and the work we intend to do. Along with our community, we’ve grown and experienced much over the past 15 years — we’re eager to cover our community for the next 15.
Sean Bugg can be reached at .