We're not going to pull punches, so let's start with the main point. We are to cease publication of BoLT magazine. Please, read on.
It began as a flash of inspiration. A glint in the eyes of a group of women. They called their friends, they arranged for meetings. They discussed things, agreed, disagreed. Some joined, many left. It's a story we've told you a dozen times, in some form or another.
It felt almost sudden how, in April 2010, we were launching Ireland's first magazine devoted to, and created by, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer women. Despite making up a large part of Ireland's so-called 'gay community', despite claims about the growth and diversification of our community, when BoLT appeared, there was very little out there, in print, for us.
Not only was BoLT a first for Ireland, as a magazine which focused on LGBTQ women, but also being one in which the voices of the trans community were also given their opportunity to share as equals, rather than a side note.
It was a dream that got us together, that got us fired up again and again, as the tides crashed on us. We didn't give up. We're not giving up now.
BoLT is at an end. It is sudden, we know.
Why are we saying we're not giving up? Because all of us have learned from our experiences in BoLT, and will take that knowledge into every future project we do inside or outside the community. Because other fantastic opportunities are beckoning. And, mostly, because BoLT is not a failure. It's true, we are not happy that we need to end the project. But 'failure' implies we didn't believe in the work any longer, or that we didn't give it our all. It also implies that BoLT did not achieve what it set out to do.
Though it was never perfect, we believe BoLT achieved its goal: It helped make LGBTQ women more visible. It challenged stereotypes about trans people. It broached subjects seldom brought up in the Irish LGBTQ community. It was a platform for experimental writing, art, and journalism from marginalised, silenced people. It gave the push to those who needed it to get their work going, make it more visible. It gave us a voice.
So, why must BoLT end? It is simply a pragmatic matter. BoLT is no longer something we can sustain.
As many other volunteering projects, BoLT has survived thanks to the tireless efforts of a small, tight-knit core team, the support of loyal readers and subscribers and a wide array of contributors. Every issue was down to the wire, working against the clock. There was always an unexpected accident, lost files, family or work emergencies, personal health or disability, emigration or travel... and yet we did it, we made BoLT happen for two whole years.
Let us give you some more scope of what that means. BoLT was completely independent, which made us completely free and community based, rather than being deviated by commercial interests. This meant we relied exclusively on subscriptions and, when that wasn't enough, our own pockets. No hired media professionals were involved in its inception, but rather, it was driven by the sheer passion of everyone involved.
And oh yeah, there's that pesky global recession and the inescapable, swirling vortex that is the death of print media. With all of that, we went on for two years. Because we were wanted. Because we were needed.
No, we're not happy it's over. Yes, there are things we could have done differently. But at the end of the day, we can only be proud of what we've accomplished. Because of this, we are hoping BoLT will live on.
We would happy to release the BoLT name and brand to a team interested in pursuing our ideals of giving voice to LGBTQ women and trans people of all genders in Ireland. If you, or people you know, are interested in taking the reins of the project, please get in touch.
We won't close the website or our emails over night. If you have a concern or an inquiry you can still get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org , and you have plenty of time to download any back issues off the website. Obviously, subscriptions are closed immediately. Existing subscribers will be contacted to arrange a refund, and once we've paid our debts any money we have remaining after that will be donated to Gaelick who have been long-time friends and supporters.
We can't thank everyone who has supported us over the last two years but we do wish to make a special mention of gratitude to Aine Richards and Julie McMahon, the first midwives of this project. We hope we have done justice to your brainchild.
Thank you, and we wish you all the best for the future.