I'm starting a gay magazine this September. Any of you writers who want to write a column incorporating your issues on surviving sexual abuse as a gay male? (if interested email me dedonald@sympatico.ca - here's the logo image: http://www.fatherstouch.com/Q_Info.htm )

Here's a column that came out today that refers to my new mag and my book on surviving sexual abuse.

Magazine to tap gay market

IAN GILLESPIE, Free Press News Columnist Somebody once told me part of a columnist's job is stepping on people's toes. I buy that. So I'm used to attracting heat.

But I've never gotten used to attracting hate.
About two months ago, I wrote a column about the Thames Valley District school board's plan -- which was approved in mid-April -- to incorporate sexual orientation into its safe-schools policy.

In other words, to try preventing straight kids from hating gay kids.

I applauded the board's plan. I also mentioned Matthew Shepard, a young man who was pistol-whipped, tied to a fence and left to die about six years ago in Wyoming. He was killed because he was gay.

The morning that column appeared, I heard the following anonymous message on my answering machine: "Yes, I was wondering," asked the male voice. "Are you some kind of faggot or faggot lover? And your little comment about Matthew Shepard -- I think he got what he deserved. Too bad I wasn't the one who done it to him. Thank you."

I mention this vile little piece of bile because, like it or not, it's one side of this community Donald D'Haene and Christopher Ballard are likely going to face in the next few months.

The two London men are working on a new London publication called Q Magazine, a full-colour monthly printed on premium newsprint and aimed at the local gay community.

The men say they're preparing for a 60-page, 15,000-copy debut in September. The magazine will be distributed, free, around the city and area.

D'Haene is a local freelance writer and performer who's earned critical acclaim for his memoir Father's Touch, which details the physical, sexual and emotional abuse he, his siblings and his mother suffered at the hands of his father.

Ballard is a transplanted Brit who runs Mushroom Studios, a home-based design business that, among other things, supplies the layout designs for medical and pharmaceutical catalogues in the U.S.

The two make an odd couple.

"I think it's a good mix," says Ballard. "I'm a left-wing straight and Donald is a right-wing queen. I think it'll create an interesting dichotomy."

Ballard figures the time is right for Q Magazine.

"It's a market that hasn't been tapped," he says. "And I think London has reached the stage now where it's more of a city than a large town. I think we're moving on as a city and I think gays are being more accepted by society in general.

"So I think it's about time they had their own magazine."

Although a married heterosexual, Ballard says he empathizes with the gay community.

"I've had a lot of gay friends over the years," he says. "And I think that, to some degree, they've been largely misunderstood. And by giving them a voice, they can talk for themselves."

But D'Haene is adamant Q Magazine won't be shocking or confrontational.

He says that sense of restraint is even evident in the magazine's logo, which incorporates two gender symbols into the letter "Q" and is slyly placed beside a model's ear. He admits not all readers will get the "Q" and "ear" coupling, but that's the way he wants it.

"It's less offensive (than the word 'queer')," says D'Haene. "I'm not going to have smut in it. I think there's a wider market to be found. I want to attract the gay that's at home with the children and the white picket fence.

"As far as I'm concerned, most of the things that affect a straight person also affect a gay person. So I have a large window of subjects."

D'Haene says the magazine has already recruited a small staff of ad sellers and writers, including Richard Hudler, former president of the Homophile Association of London. He adds Q will feature an advice column, theatre and restaurant reviews and even home renovation features.

"I'm not trying to convert people to gaydom," says D'Haene. "I'm trying to entertain."

When I ask D'Haene if he's afraid of attracting the ire of hate-filled homophobes like the man who called me, he laughs.

"I took on my father," he says. "So after that, nothing really scares me that way."

Donald D'Haene