When journalist Richard Mitch snuck into the ABC offices to put out the first issue of the magazine, the need for information was immediate. "[It was ] a tool to give gay people information about what happens if you're arrested, because that's how dark it was back then," says journalist Michael Musto.
By the early 1980s, The Advocate became the first nationally distributed magazine to openly address AIDS on its cover. From its unique perspective on the tragedy of 9/11 to its recent expose on black pride, The Advocate hasn't stopped breaking ground since. "It talked to gay people unlike any other magazine ever had," says Jeff Yarbrough, former editor in chief. Bruce Vilanch notes that The Advocate was "The New York Times of homosexuality."
But the publication's reach doesn't only operate on a grand scale. It also helps cultivate invidivual voices. "Hearing other people's stories is what gave me the strength, personally, to come out," says musician Troye Sivan. Actor Cheyenne Jackons adds, "It was a magazine for people like me."