Gal-Dem, magazine for women and non-binary people of colour, to fold

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The magazine gal-dem, an online and print publication for women and non-binary people of colour, is to fold after eight years.

In a public statement shared on Friday, staff at gal-dem said: “We are incredibly sad to announce that after eight years, gal-dem is closing.

“As a platform dedicated to centring people of colour from marginalised genders, we have collectively created and grown as a community since 2015, however gal-dem continuing to operate as a business is unfortunately no longer feasible.”

Financial and structural challenges faced by independent media were cited as the reasons for the decision.

The statement continued: “Keeping a small, independent media company that is reliant on partnerships afloat over the last three years has been increasingly challenging.

“Through a global pandemic, brand budget reductions and economic downturn, we have worked tirelessly to reconfigure how we operate and keep gal-dem going through it all. And while we’re passionate about our membership model, it’s been difficult to sustain the level of growth needed here to support our work in the long term.”

The announcement follows a round of staff departures this month, while submissions for pitches from external writers were closed in January and February.

“There have been so many wonderful, impactful moments that we can’t even begin to express our gratitude for. It meant so much for gal-dem to exist in the world, to tell the stories that mattered to us and our lived experiences, and to do it with authenticity, care, and heart … While this chapter is ending, we hope that the spirit of what gal-dem proved possible over eight years will live on with you all. gal-dem to us, has been so much more than a magazine.”

Related: ‘We are offering something people didn’t get before’: inside gal-dem

To coincide with the announcement, gal-dem shared a list of other independent media and creative organisations based in the UK and urged readers to support them.

“There is still so much work to be done in improving how the media engages with and honour our stories. Please continue supporting organisations and publishers who are fighting to make this happen,” read a tweet from the outlet.

It also invited past contributors and freelancers to become part of a public directory to be shared across the gal-dem social media channels.

Liv Little founded gal-dem in 2015 and it was celebrated for its commitment to giving a platform to marginalised voices in the media. It previously published one printed issue a year and had a regular online output spanning politics, art, music, culture and first-person stories.

During its eight-year history, it hosted events and workshops with creative institutions including the V&A and Boiler Room. In 2018, gal-dem collaborated with the Guardian for a guest takeover of the Weekend magazine.

After securing investment for full-time staff in 2019, the publication switched from being volunteer-led to a professional business.

It had previously been reliant on revenue from brand partnerships but staff said the pandemic added new financial risks. In 2020, gal-dem launched a membership model to enable readers to support the publication directly. In exchange for monthly donations, supporters could receive benefits including free copies of the print magazine and exclusive invitations to events.

The chosen membership model was introduced as an alternative to a paywall to ensure the content remained accessible, according to the previous editor-in-chief and founding member Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff.

The gal-dem site will remain live for at least one year.