Let’s Read The Advocate, August 1995!

The Advocate was founded in 1967 as a newsletter by the activist’s group PRIDE. Created in response to a police raid on a gay bar called the Black Cat Tavern, the newsletter was sold in gay bars around Los Angeles and by 1969 became a national publication intended for an LGBTQ audience. Over the years, the magazine has varied in format and content depending on the editor at the helm, sometimes more sexually explicit and sometimes more lifestyle oriented. The Advocate successfully broke into the magazine mainstream in the late 80s by featuring interviews with gay celebrities and celebrity allies, signaling that Hollywood was ready to come out in support of LGBTQ+ people at the risk to their own careers and even their lives. Today the magazine is published six times per year by the same publisher that also produces Out. For more on the history of The Advocate, check out its wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Advocate_(LGBT_magazine)

This magazine has been completely digitized via Googlebooks, so check it out and see what else I didn’t include here.

A note that this issue, like the previous GQ that we read before, has a lot of beautiful photos of beautiful bodies in various states of undress ala “artistic nudity”. Some images will be sexually suggestive but not explicit. There is also a survey about lesbian sex that uses very frank and graphic language. If you normally read this while at work…maybe wait until you get home or somewhere more private.

Ok so I need to get this out of the way: THE PATRICK STEWART ARTICLE FROM THIS ISSUE THAT I RECEIVED WAS MISSING. MISSING! But since the whole issue is digitized and hosted elsewhere, I’m just going to link the story later. The version that Google Books has is weirdly full of copyeditor’s marks, but it isn’t a proof copy. It’s just full of marks that some pedantic wannabe editor went through and marked up. Weird right? Anyway, I apologize for that.

In trying to figure out who Mr. Jenkins was (apparently a fictional mascot for Tanqueray gin in the 90s), I found this NYT article about Tanqueray sponsoring the AIDS Ride in 1995. Tanqueray actually donated a large amount of their marketing budget to supporting the AIDS Ride, even when “Few, though, spend such a large portion of their budgets on those programs. Even fewer are participating in AIDS-related causes, given the stigma that still surrounds the disease. And fewer still are doing so as part of mainstream marketing programs rather than solely in campaigns aimed at homosexuals.”

Oh Canada!

“Club Med? WOW! Is that like a fancy resort for doctors? Look at all the dolphins! That sounds AWESOME!” — 11 year old me watching daytime TV in 1995, completely missing the message.


Are you a love builder or a love buster? Nowadays, PrEP means something very different. This refers to what sounds like an endless and expensive seminar of couples therapy. So fun.

So vivid and ugly!

Because lesbians deserve the chance to wear unflattering pants and canoodle on the beach in black-and-white photography just as much as anyone else. This feels like a nice follow up to the sex survey from the 70s Psychology Today that only valued the opinions of straight white men. However, this survey is only 2% of black women’s responses. Ouch.

Things I learned from this survey:
– “lesbian bed death”
– the average woman reader of The Advocate made a pretty comfortable living for the time: $35,000 a year, which is a little over $50k in today’s equivalent. Looking at census data, the average unmarried woman (cough) made somewhere between $15-20k annually in 1995 money.

I would absolutely love to know what these same statistics look like 25 years later.

Is this what a sexy liquor ad without the obvious male gaze looks like?

The fine print at the bottom says “Before you celebrate – designate”. Cute.


There are a lot of these that I didn’t even include because it was getting too heavy. I don’t want to say outright that being sexually active in the 90s was a death sentence, because I know better as someone in 2019 with friends and family who survived being sexually active in the 90s, but looking at this certainly makes it feel that way. And to a lot of unfortunate people there was no arguing that it was a death sentence. The one with the nice looking man and his nice looking dog is heartbreaking as hell. And so many ads for cashing out your life insurance policy before you die, since you can’t leave any benefits to your partner. And you probably need money for treatment. Or hey just throw the whole thing in and go on an awesome cruise to the Bahamas, who cares at this point. I’m not judging.

Harsh. Who had to scroll back up and check? I did! Mostly I was distracted by his perfect 90’s hair.

Read the Patrick Stewart article HERE because some bonehead stole it out of my copy. He is just a genuinely lovely man. I wonder if the “dark comedy about Hitler” that he turned down ever got made elsewhere.

And check out that comedy festival! Have you heard of Lipsynka before? She’s a legend.

As for Jeffrey:

Could this movie BE any more 1995?

Stephen Weber! Patrick Stewart! Brian Batt! The guy from The Pretender! Nathan Lane as a priest?! Is that Camryn Manheim in the crowd?!

Reviews of this movie seemed to be mixed-mostly positive. I don’t know how much lasting cred this movie has in the gay community, but it did pop up on the Essential Gay blog’s Essential Gay Movies list as a must-watch. It also got reviewed here at the Avocado in the LGBT Movies column.

Also a nice man. Also a Starfleet Captain, although he didn’t know it yet. Coincidence? If someone with a better knowledge of Scott Bakula than me knows that he’s played a gay villain in the last 25 years, let me know so that we can start a letter writing campaign. We’ll flood his fanmail address with photocopies of this interview and lots of sad faces written on it.

Obligatory “I wanted to see Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions and my parents wouldn’t let 11 year old me go”.

All classics, I’m sure. I’m wondering what London Knights 3-D is all about.

Lea DeLaria! She’s great. A byline elsewhere describes her as “a comedian who appears in the upcoming film Sgt. Bilko.”

(Lea DeLaria does not have a screen credit for Sgt. Bilko.)

Imagine a time when there was nothing resembling gay rights. Or maybe there were, but they weren’t what we think of as gay rights, and the natives just boned on each other all day and no one cared. I don’t know. What am I talking about again? Oh right, gay water. Even after they’ve taken away every scrap of progress that the gay rights movement has managed to cultivate in the last half century, there will still be our water. Because 2 million years ago we supported gay and lesbian Canadians and we still are. NAYA. Still flowing.

Gay water was really having a moment in 1995.

Janis Ian (yes, THAT Janis Ian) discovers sexy chat rooms in a hilariously badly dated essay. It’s amazing how much was written about early cyberculture that sounds like it was established, but it just never caught on. What the hell is the O-zone? Whoever used :()? And she makes it sound like you could download a picture instantly, but this is 1995 dialup – you know that Janis and her partner sat there for five straight minutes waiting for a series of blurry colored squares to materialize into a naked woman, just like everyone else with a computer did 25 years ago. Janis Ian is pretty Internet savvy these days, going from her very prolific Facebook page and her half a million followers. I wonder what she’d think of this piece today?

OOoh, do I want “Whales and Males” or “Fruits in Kiwiland”? I do like whales…

Love it. Oscar Mariné did a huge Absolut campaign that ran in major American magazines for over two years, influencing a ton of 90s graphic design and pop art. If you don’t remember this ad campaign or any of Mariné’s own art, you’re probably instantly familiar with the style that was copied on everything that wanted to be seen as modern and edgy.


That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading, as always. Next time we’re looking at an insert from the Oakland Tribune  – Parade, May 1957!