Patrick Saunders, Editor of Georgia Voice

Patrick Saunders: Goodbye, for now

When I came out about 15 years ago, I would read the local gay press and stare at the bylines, thinking about how rewarding it would be to write about the LGBTQ community for a living. Those writers were kind of like rock stars to me.

At the time, my writing was confined to (probably obnoxious, in hindsight) gay rights rants on social media. I eventually spun that off into a freelance gig at Creative Loafing, which turned into a full-time job at a local LGBTQ magazine and then other freelance gigs. Five years ago, after circling each other for quite a while, the timing finally lined up and I joined the staff of the Georgia Voice, eventually taking over as editor last January.

And now it’s time for a new adventure, a new challenge — this will be my final issue with the Georgia Voice.

To be honest, I was thinking of getting out of LGBTQ media completely a couple of years ago, but then the presidential election happened and I decided it would be worthwhile to stick around for the inevitable assault on our rights. Getting the space to guide the editorial direction of the paper during this time — while contributing my own news stories and editorials — has been an unfortunate honor, considering the circumstances and the times we found ourselves in as it happened.

I am forever indebted to Tim Boyd and Chris Cash for that conversation at the “Bearbucks” at Ansley Mall a few years ago that led to me getting the chance to work for such an important paper. Big thank yous also go out to former editor Dyana Bagby, who I was lucky enough to learn under those first couple years, to Rob Boeger, who expertly brought all those stories to life through his art direction, to Dixon Taylor and Anne Clarke and all the other salespeople who helped the paper prosper, and to all the others who I was lucky enough to work for and with. I will miss working with badass writers like Ryan Lee, Melissa Carter, Jim Farmer, Cliff Bostock, Simon Williamson, Ashleigh Atwell and many, many others. I will forever be a faithful Georgia Voice reader.

This isn’t the last you’ll hear from me in the ongoing fight for this state’s LGBTQ rights, but I want to thank you, the readers, for taking the time to listen to what I had to say in these pages for the past five years. A journalist has a duty to report accurately, to respect the reader’s time, to never let personal beliefs or personal gain or loss affect a story, and those are duties I will never take for granted.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming incoming editor Berlin Sylvestre, an LGBTQ media veteran who will surely serve you well.

We clearly have a lot of fights ahead of us to take on together, and that’s the only way we’ll prevail — together.

‘Til next time…