Lesbian News founder Jinx Beers to be inducted into LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame

Long-time lesbian activist and civil rights pioneer Jinx Beers, seen here speaking in 2013 at the June Mazer Lesbian Archives, will be inducted into the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame on Saturday. Photo: YouTube screen grab.

Pioneering lesbian activist Jinx Beers, who, in 1975, founded The Lesbian News, the longest running lesbian newspaper in the U.S., will be inducted into the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame Saturday in Philadelphia.

The ceremony will take place at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s  25th annual convention, according to the NLGJA 2017 Convention Book.

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The association is expected to make an official announcement today about the inductees.

Dan Savage, an award-winning journalist known for his sex advice column, Savage Love, also will be inducted into the hall of fame, according to the convention book.

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Apart from being groundbreaking journalist, Beers, 83, who was born and raised in Pasadena and lives in Van Nuys, is lifelong feminist and advocate for human rights.

JOINING THE MILITARY

In 1951, at the age of 18, Beers enlisted in the U. S. Air Force and was stationed in Germany. Four years later, she returned to Los Angeles and spent 12 years in the Air Force reserves before quitting.

Beers was out as a lesbian in the Air Force, but never told her commanding officers.

LESBIAN ACTIVIST

She left the service not only as a way to protest the United States’ invasion of Vietnam, but also to become more active in the lesbian community.

Until a federal law was implemented in 2010 allowing gay and lesbian military personnel to serve openly in the armed forces, the military routinely dishonorably discharged them.

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Beers earned a psychology degree from UCLA and then spent several years working in the university’s Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering. In 1970, she also taught a class called the Lesbian Experience, which lead to her joining Lesbians Activists, LA NOW and the Lesbian Rights Task Force.

LAUNCHING LESBIAN NEWS

In 1975, after a local lesbian publication refused to publish an ad from the Lesbian Activists, Beers launched the Lesbian News, which initially was a two-page monthly newsletter, but grew into a tabloid-sized magazine that covered Southern California from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

In 2009, at the age of 75, Beers published her book, “Memories of an Old Dyke.”

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About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBT community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBT students.