One might think that putting together Out & About Newspaper is an easy one-person job. Well I can testify that it takes many talented, hardworking individuals to put all of the puzzle pieces of the newspaper together.

There of course is our amazing staff of contributing writers and photographers who work to product the meat of O&AN and the website content. But behind the scenes is the editorial board who assign stories, find advertisers, provide technical support for the website and deal with all of the stress day in and day
out that running a publication has.

The current editorial board is made up of Jerry Jones, publisher; Allen Haley, sales manager; Donna Huff, advertising production designer; Ryan Huber, webmaster; Neil Ward, layout and production designer; and myself as managing editor and creative director.

Huff volunteered with O&AN during our first year as a layout designer. “I had picked up O&AN on the newsstand at my college. Still dealing with an emotional coming out to my family, knowing there was a large GLBT community in the Nashville area helped me to have a better perspective of my situation,” she said. “Becoming involved in the paper seemed like the most direct way to make a connection to others with similar experiences at a time when aspects of my life
seemed very uncertain.”

She moved to Middle Tennessee from a rural area where homosexuality was always treated very hush-hush. “Becoming involved with the paper was a defining moment for me. Not only did I make lasting friendships, but the paper also heavily influenced my career path,” Huff said.

By working with O&AN, Huff met her future employers, which she values because that meant she did not have to hide her personal life. “At a time when others are still worried they could be fired over sexual orientation, I am relieved that I have not had to share that same burden,” she said.

Besides our publisher, Huff has been with O&AN longer than the others on the editorial board and has many fun memories from over the years. “Early on, I
received a layout back with a single word from Jerry written on the side ... ‘NO.’ He’s smoothed off some of his rough edges since then.”

When asked about why she thinks the newspaper is important to the community, Huff said, “Without question, being able to see the paper on the stands in the community and at local universities helps those struggling with their sexuality understand others like them exist.”

I can speak confidently for the rest of the editorial board and say we loving doing this everyday. For the past 10 years we have been that vital link to GLBT
community in Tennessee that does not get the attention it deserves.

Being in such an unprogressive state, we hope that O&AN has brought light into everyone’s life that reads the paper and visits our website.

It is our hope to continue to be a part of your life in reporting the news going on in the community, and we welcome suggestions for stories and contributing staff
members to help us on this journey together. Thanks for a great 10 years!

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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