Los Angeles couple launches premier Black LGBTQ+ wedding magazine: 'We exist. This is validation'

ByTim Pulliam WPVI logo
Saturday, June 24, 2023
LA couple launches premier Black LGBTQ+ wedding magazine
A Los Angeles couple has launched BGW Elevate Magazine, a self-funded wedding magazine dedicated to increasing representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

LOS ANGELES -- Two Black gay newlyweds on the cover of a Black-owned LGBTQ magazine is the history-making publication created by Lawrence and Michael Broughton from Los Angeles.

The married couple launched BGW Elevate Magazine last winter. Their second issue is due this summer.

"We've never ever had a magazine like BGW Elevate that actually features minority couples, minority LGBTQIA couples - never gotten their own day on the bookshelves," Lawrence said. "This is the first."

Their magazine is so rare. For context, in 2012 Jet Magazine, a hallmark publication for Black news and culture, featured the first Black gay couple in its wedding section.

Lawrence and Michael's inspiration to produce their self-funded magazine came from their popular social media page aptly called Black Gay Weddings, which shows stunning images of gay, lesbian, non-binary and trans couples of color tying the knot around the world.

"It's a testament that we exist," Michael said. "This is validation."

But BGW's social media success has not trickled down to sales of its print and digital magazine.

"We haven't gotten the support that we actually thought we would get," Lawrence said.

To date, they've only sold 178 copies and say they need to sell at least 1,000 copies to produce a third issue.

"In order for us to keep doing the work that we're doing and putting up a beautiful publication like this, there needs to be a financial backing," Michael said. "We need to be able to have sponsors."

Mark Ariel, managing editor of the Los Angeles LGBT magazine The Fight, tells ABC7 that he understands BGW Elevate's plight.

Ariel and his publisher launched The Fight magazine more than a decade ago after only seeing queer magazines focus on one particular group.

"Mostly white people. Nothing against white people, but we felt there was a lacking of more comprehensive representation of the community," Ariel said.

Since the magazine is free to the public, Ariel and his small team rely heavily on paid ads.

"After those 100 calls a day you do start getting a few advertisers in, but it's a tough road," Ariel said. "You get a lot of rejection, but you just have to keep on fighting."

The challenge in keeping queer publications viable, like The Fight and BGW Elevate, comes as civil rights organizations like the ACLU track 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country.

These latest culture wars now inform how BGW Elevate and The Fight cover the queer point of view.

"For us it's the fight for equality, it's the fight for inclusion, it's everything our community goes through," Ariel said. "It's an ongoing fight. It's a political fight, it's a social fight, it's a fight within our own community."

To support these magazines go to: BGWElevate.com and TheFightMag.com.