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Sex sells, and so it comes as no surprise that gay magazines have, by and large, focused their content along such carnal lines. Minimal clothing, maximum muscle, and a sprinkling of promiscuity; this has become the dominant discourse. We all love a bit of eye candy, but for too long we’ve been deprived of viable alternatives. For those who also enjoy mental stimulation and wonder what’s going on in the far-flung pockets of the gay community, allow me to introduce the chic new Hello Mr.
Internationally-focused Brooklyn-based Hello Mr. is a magazine on a mission: to raise a voice that differs from the overly sexualized and superficial clichés that have come to dominate the genre and, by reflection, our lives. The decision to brand itself as a magazine about ‘men who date men’ is indicative of the sad fact that the label ‘gay lifestyle’ today often carries with it very serious and very misguided connotations. Creator and Editor, Ryan Fitzgibbon, invites us to question what it means to be gay in today’s world. Is it all glitter and lube, or is there something deeper, something more all encompassing?
As gay men, we are united by our love of, well, other men. But, what some mainstream magazines fail to realize is that we don’t necessarily have anything else in common. Just like anyone, we can be interested in sport, dance, art, or food. We may find ourselves joyfully donning fairy wings and a thong every Pride, or we might not be comfortable with public displays of outrageousness. Some of us spend hours perfecting washboard abs, while others love natural curves. Perhaps we live out our lives in London, Singapore, Kansas, or nowhere long enough to get properly settled. We are people and, like everyone else, we inhabit all corners of the world and partake in every possible interest. Hello Mr. not only recognizes this, but aims to showcase and celebrate our diversity.
Published twice yearly, the inaugural issue was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that managed to attract the attention of Neil Patrick Harris. Issue 02 has just been released and despite its rapidly rising popularity and accumulation of accolades and praise, the magazine has not forgotten its indebtedness to grassroots support. Content is fueled by reader submissions from around the world and ranges from interviews with musicians, artists and athletes to essays on notions of identity and progress, and satirical pieces like “Twenty-Five Things You Should Know About Being A Gay Man Before You Decide To Be One.” While this allows for a very real portrayal of international gay life, it also keeps the publication grounded.
In his second editor’s note, Fitzgibbon describes the feedback he’d received from readers and how that helped shape the current issue from slight changes in the organisation of articles to the physical material of the magazine cover. Active engagement with readers and writers across the globe, allowing themes and trends found within submissions themselves to determine the focus of each issue, ensures that Hello Mr. will continue to maintain its universal relevance.
At 160-pages, each magazine is a work of art in itself. Clean, elegant design, quality paper and binding, and punctuated by high-resolution illustrations and photo spreads, this is not a read-once-and-toss periodical. Hello Mr. makes an aesthetic garnish to any coffee table or bookshelf, while the literary merit of its content means that it is something you find yourself drawn back to again and again. In a world of magazines often lacking in intellectual dexterity, here is an intelligent collection of articles, stories, photographic essays and reviews which aims to start meaningful conversations about the values and aspirations of a new generation of culturally inquisitive gay men.
To find a copy near you, or for more information, visit their website at http://hellomrmag.com.