Pictured: Leif Wauters (right) with husband Mo (left) and current express editor Hannah JV
A fresh face is coming on board next month to steer the good ship express – say hello to Leif Wauters!
Leif has been a popular feature writer for express for some time, and is now stepping up into the editorial role, replacing Hannah JV who leaves us on 07 September.
Leif has an extensive history in and passion for GLBT community engagement, having worked for two years as director of operations at the original BEAR magazine in the mid-1990s, a year-long support role for the now-defunct San Francisco arm of the LA-based GLBT community magazine called Frontiers, and over three years as director of operations at landmark gay porn company Hot House Entertainment.
Outside of his business experience, Leif says it’s his volunteer work within the community that has really brought joy to his life.
“My volunteer work includes two years producing the infamous Folsom Street Fair, ten years helping to run the Leather Market at IML (International Mister Leather), and generally lending support to various community events and fundraisers over the years. Oh, I almost forgot… six years on the Working Group and Board of Grass Roots Gay Right West (GRGR/West), producers of REAL BAD. This all-volunteer organisation raises an immense amount of money through a single annual dance party that goes back to local non-profits working to support the health and rights of the GLBT community in the SF Bay Area and across the US. I also took that party production experience to another level by reviewing other dance events around the world through the SF-based website The Juice Box.”
Leif moved to New Zealand in 2010 to be with his Kiwi partner, Morris Sowerby. He met with the guys from Urge Bar and talked to them about where he could sink his teeth into a bit of writing, and ended up penning work for Ponsonby News, GayNZ and express.
“Once I landed a day job in Hamilton for IT giant Datacom, I kept the writing on the side, sticking mainly to express where I could write about what makes us both precious and fantastic on a national scale,” says Leif.
Heading into the new role is an exciting prospect for Leif, who says he is most looking forward to marrying his love for writing about the community and giving his time to the community.
He says, “It will be great to support my Auckland/NZ GLBT family through express, both lauding out successes and shining a light where help is needed. This includes moving up to Auckland from sleepy Te Aroha, a decision which was not easily made. I moved to New Zealand to be with an amazing man, but his work keeps him firmly based in the Waikato, so this opportunity will pull us apart during the week. It’ll be rough, but how often do you get to participate in the health and glory of your community on this level? Without his love and support I would not be here, nor would I be taking on the editor role. We’re partners and together we decided I should take this major life step.
“I’m also really looking forward to learning more about the community than I ever thought I would through this very active role; our politics, our social challenges, our Pride. Through learning about it, I can help to bring more of it into focus for everyone, all with the help and support of an incredible team of contributors, photographers, and the dedicated core team at express.”
Leif already has a number of goals in mind for the role and says a core focus will be community engagement.
“express has grown amazingly over it’s 20 years, including recent mountainous changes in its style, content and growing web presence. It’s going to be very exciting to expand what express can offer New Zealand as the nation’s gay magazine. By making sure global GLBT issues are brought to our readers, along with local updates from around Aotearoa and Australasia, I will be fulfilling one of my responsibilities as editor. Great news, balanced with passionate community features and titillating culture and lifestyle coverage, will be my ongoing mission – to keep gay New Zealand connected and uplifted with every issue.
“I will strive to engage every facet of the community whenever possible, to empower the people – both urban and farming, young and old – to take part in creating our reality. Along those lines, it’s vital that express relates to everyone, so I’ll be working to regularly touch as many sides of our GLBT family as possible.
“But most of all I must remember that as editor of express I am just a steward of the magazine, so I’ll do all I can to honour the hard work that’s come before me and keep a focus on how we can make it better together.”
Leif takes over on 18 September and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org from that date.