Out magazine, the US-based publication on the LGBT, featured on its website TEAM, the newest gay magazine in the Philippines.
Out.com interviewed TEAM founder and editor-in-chief Paolo Lorenzana, who revealed the idea behind the magazine, the name, as well as some bits and pieces about Philippine gay culture.
Lorenzana said he was inspired by the gay scene in New York, when he studied at the Columbia Journalism School.
After graduating at age 26, Lorenzana said he was so empowered he decided to launch a magazine in the Philippines on LGBT topics. Five years later, he and his friends would launch TEAM.
“I’ve been in publishing, locally, for a while now. So it was just a matter of getting friends together and being like, “Hey do you think this is going to work? What topics do you think haven’t been covered by local media?” Lorenzana said.
He said he would like to tackle LGBT issues in a conservative country like the Philippines to break the stereotypes on Filipino gays.
“In Filipino society, the issue is more intolerance. Only recently, in the past year, have there been gay men on television that aren’t like, the stereotypical, very flamboyant hairdresser, or someone who was just a caricature. Last year there was a drama depicting two gay characters, more ‘straight acting’ gay men, in love with each other. And that became really popular,” Lorenzana said.
“I think that sort of planted the idea in my mind that, maybe, it’s possible to start inundating local pop culture with more of this imagery,” he added.
For its first issue, the magazine featured on its cover boyfriends Vince Uy and Nino Gaddi cuddling behind bedsheets. Uy and Gaddi first broke into the public’s consciousness when they were featured in a billboard along Metro Manila’s main artery while holding hands. The controversy sparked when their clasped hands were painted black.
For its second August issue, the magazine featured Manila Luzon from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Lorenzana said he named the magazine TEAM because he wanted to reclaim such masculine term for the gay agenda.
“Obviously, it’s a play on that old expression, referring to how a gay guy plays for the other team. At the same time, the word team is so often associated with athletics, which many gay guys growing up feel excluded from. So this was my way of claiming that word, making it ours,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said he would like TEAM to tackle issues not covered by mainstream media, such as how gay families adapt in a conservative country like the Philippines.
“[We’d] have conversations about people we knew who’d had different experiences, like a guy who recently came out to his kids, the first gay man in the Philippines to use surrogacy, stuff like that. And since taking this project on, I’ve met so many different kinds of people,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said he would like the magazine to be more frequently published. The magazine has only had two issues since it started on May.
“It’s become a personal journey in a way, and my notions of what it means to be gay have been absolutely expanded. So as I evolve, the magazine evolves, and continues to bring in alternative voices,” Lorenzana said.