By Jeff Walsh
XY, the new gay youth mag on the block, is currently available in most major bookstore chains worldwide.
As the title suggests, it is mainly geared to gay young men (think chromosomes) and in one issue it surpassed the seemingly-obligatory infrequent gay youth content of The Advocate, OUT and Genre.
Two cute teens peer out from the debut cover, with the words "Underage" emblazoned across the front. And XY is unapologetic, queer and young. It features several Gen. XY profiles, (including one on Oasis' designer, Jase), and has a very world-wide feel. There are European writers and more global content than most queer mags, which is also interesting to read.
While it's refreshing to see a magazine addressing youth without the pedophobia usually present in the mainstream gay community, there's a fine line between being pro-youth and going too far. XY walks that line delicately. A full-page naked picture of MTV VJ Simon Rex, with his hands holding his package, with a quote under him insisting he's heterosexual, is pure eye candy. There's no article about him, and it's opposite a page of presumably unpaid ads featuring homoerotic young ad campaigns, such as the Calvin Klein Jeans boy. But the page is three parts hot, half-undressed guys, and only one part text talking about the trend.
The mag also spends time with well-written articles of general interest to its target market, and not necessarily queer content, such as snowboarding, computer equipment and how to design your own World Wide Web pages.
A good portion of the magazine is also dedicated to fashion pages featuring youth, many are unabashedly homoerotic, such as two barechested twins hugging lovingly with one's pants sliding down the top of his ass. And all the pictures feature young people in different, albeit little, clothing. The last section of the mag features the work of a photographer -- more hot young guys, never naked, but not covering too much of their perfect bodies.
While the magazine may stimulate people too much below the belt and not enough above the neck, which may increase the number of non-youths buying it, it is definitely a necessary market that needs to be addressed.
XY is a vital publication in the queer youth scene, which will hopefully have a longer life than most queer youth magazines.
XY costs $5.95 an issue, and is available in every branch of Borders and Virgin Megastore and in most branches of B. Dalton, Brentanos, Barnes & Noble and Tower. Single copies are available for $5.95, and an annual subscription is $24.95 a year for six issues, which will be mailed in a plain envelope. Subscription inquiries can be sent to XY Subscriptions, 4104 24th St #900, San Francisco CA 94114; send either a check or credit card; if by credit card, information can be sent to email@example.com or by phone 24 hours to (415) 255-1502.