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Natalie Hope McDonaldWhen Natalie Hope McDonald unveiled The Philly Q this New Year, she wanted to talk to the people and profile the places and issues that really shape the LGBT community – both in the city and around the country. After spending the past two years helping to launch G Philly with Philadelphia magazine, she quickly discovered that the issues most impacting the community are evolving – and evolving fast. She also came face to face with how smart, enlightening multimedia content can resonate with readers who now have the power to seek it out everywhere from Facebook to Twitter.

“We’re not living in the same publishing world that existed a decade ago, or even a few years ago,” she says. “And while challenges persist for any new venture, being able to stand out as an authority with an inside perspective is rewarding (and more often than not – rewarded). All the better than we can reach readers with an immediacy that our competition may only be starting to understand. The gay community is especially supportive of content that’s driven by respect and integrity. You can launch any blog, but it takes years to cultivate the integrity to make it work.”

It’s a tough time to launch any new publication, so why The Philly Q and why now?

The advantage we have is experience (I’ve been a journalist for 20 years now). There’s also the freedom that this fresh new online format provides. We can make stories available in real time and get the conversation going – now. We can also establish a forum where everyone has the opportunity to speak their minds and contribute to the conversation – now. After spending two years focused on LGBT content on a daily basis – coupled with the exceptional people I’ve met during the past 14 years living in Philly, it makes sense to zone in on business, fashion, the arts and politics in this city. There’s also an advantage to putting local issues in context with national trends – be it politics or pop culture. This all makes for compelling content that isn’t exactly what you’ll find in a newspaper – and without having to wait for the next print edition. Proud to say The Philly Q also looks great on your iPad.

What’s been the single most significant change for the LGBT community in Philly in recent years?

There isn’t one issue, but the fact that we’re seeing more men, women and transgender people working together suggests to me that having a publication that addresses everyone is more important than ever. That’s why we’ll also be evolving a step further by introducing stories about straight allies, as well as gay-friendly content that really debunks a lot of the stereotypes about what it means to be gay in Philly or really anywhere. Realistically speaking, this community is also poised to move in new directions when it comes to cultural acceptance, marriage equality, workplace protections and other civil rights issues.

So what can we expect?

Something smart – and fun. We’ll be featuring stories related to lifestyle, as well as the arts, travel, politics and business. Look for profiles of real people doing truly great things on their own terms. And check out our guides, reviews and commentary. We also have some exciting new developments in the works in the coming months, including events and possibly even partnerships that will mean more people will have the chance to get to know us. And we’re also spotlighting artists, musicians, writers and photographers who are expressing themselves in unique mediums both in Philly and around the country.

Are you accepting submissions?

Yes – if you’d like to contribute writing, photography or commentary – or you have a story or idea to share – please email ThePhillyQ@yahoo.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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