Authenticity. That’s something that the world is currently craving. Thankfully, the Conde Nast team, spearheaded by Phillip Picardi, are blessing our eyes, ears, hearts, and souls with a publication dedicated exclusively to celebrating the LGBQTIA+ community under the appropriately named upcoming media platform, them. (lower case, period).To put this into perspective for you business-minded folks, Conde Nast will become the first notable American publisher to launch an independent brand since 2007.
But this has more significance, outside the industry world. When it comes to the lives of those that fall under the category “minority", (mind you, a term created by those in the "majority" who have always had the power to represent others) stories can be told through the mouths of others, and at times, not told at all. Anna Wintour, the creative director for Conde Nast and Vogue US’ editor-in-chief, was pleased to back the artistic direction of them. stressing that though the LGBTQIA+ centric platform is not the first of it’s kind, it should become the new normal. Media and content should reflect the population and highlight groups of people that have made strides, despite being told that they do not belong. It only makes sense to see more and more platforms that showcase the LGBTQIA+ community, because there are fantastically talented people that deserve to have a spotlight shone on them., especially when mainstream media fails to. Teen Vogue’s Phillip Picardi said it best when he posed a question to Hypebeast, asking “wouldn’t it be incredible if Condé Nast were the first publisher to really step up to the plate and want to be the ones who were telling those stories in an authentic and personal way?”
For those who are unaware of the force that is Phillip Picardi, he is credited with helping to push Teen Vogue into a more progressive direction on LGBTQIA+ rights and identity. And by progressive, I don’t mean casual “be a good ally” progressive, I mean pushing for better sex education that breaks constant heteronormativity, which caused a lot of controversy- in a wonderful article you can read here. If Picardi and his people caused this much of a stir with just one article, imagine the conversations that are sure to arise with them. joining the social scene!
Appearing on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he made it a point to highlight the fact that young people are included in political discussions now more than ever, and different voices are being heard. Picardi eloquently mentioned that it is important to make space to showcase these different voices, and we're pretty damn sure them. will be making that space. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a member of the media himself, it is understandable that this hits very close to home for Phillip Picardi, and his authentic reflections.
Art is intimate and forces people to think, even about topics they normally would not have. Just by their very existence, platforms like them. will not only give a voice to creatives who’ve been silenced due to aggressive heteronormative media but also gives permission to the young people that refuse to let themselves, and their art conform. them. invites more beautiful and unapologetic voices to the table, and we are absolutely here for it.
Meredith Talusan, Chelsea Manning, and Phillip Picardi at them.'s launch party, Nov 28th, 2017. (Alex Hodor Lee/them.)