Why the “Plain Envelope” Routine?
To the Editor:
I’ve had a subscription to The G&LR for the past two years. Until I first discovered your publication at a Barnes & Noble, I had no idea such a magazine existed. I love reading about our community and continue to be on the lookout for new publications. For the first twenty-odd years of my life, there was only a handful of books available about the LGBT community. I couldn’t have imagined back then how we would evolve into today’s proud, open culture.
That said, I have wondered why I continue to receive The G&LR in a plain white envelope. I called your office to see if there was an option to receive the magazine sans envelope and was amazed to learn that there is no such option, because apparently there are many folks still in the closet who do not want to be “exposed.”
I first became somewhat of a gay activist in 1977 when I joined the Stonewall Democrats in L.A. I can remember meetings back then, sitting on the floor at Morris Kight’s home. Over the years I have participated in many demonstrations, been involved with various political groups, and visited my share of legislators on behalf of our community. To get a “plain white envelope” in my mailbox reminds me of the shame many of us felt years ago. We have come too far in our struggle for (me at least) to receive “unmarked” mail. You are not delivering porn. You are publishing a wonderful, thoughtful, educational work. I urge you to reconsider your policy on this.
Tom Dicioccio, Oceanside, CA
Thanks so much for your letter and for your very kind words about the magazine—and also for giving me an opportunity to explain the rationale for this policy. Sending the magazine “naked” would actually save us some dough, and I know many readers would have no problem receiving it that way.
And yet, the simple fact is that many people do prefer to receive the magazine in a plain envelope, while the cost of splitting the mailing into two separate classes would be prohibitive. I don’t doubt that Oceanside, CA, is a tolerant place where no one cares if you’re gay. But please realize that we have many subscribers across the USA who live in small towns and exurbs, folks who may be out and proud in their own right but whose neighbors and postal workers are not so openminded.
Another benefit is that the envelope does protect the magazine, while those that travel unprotected can get pretty banged up in the mail. We produce only six issues per year, and many readers tell us that they save their back issues. So, once again, a little bit of prophylactic care can go a long way.
Thanks again for writing.
Richard Schneider Jr., Boston
A typo crept into a poem in the May-June issue. The poem is reprinted here in full:
i plug into you
like a toaster kisses the wall
tongues of steel pour cool flow
you flip my switch and coils redden
your sourdough rises to meet the heat
and we burn
on both sides
gently at first; one crumb crackles
the pale surface darkens, dense
to crunch we hear the siren
from four light years away
then it’s right on top no swerving
a spring snaps time for butter
and sweet spread