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Gayletter's Tom and Abi. Photo: Daniel Moss

Profession Culture vultures.
Best known for Creators of Gayletter, the essential weekly newsletter for New York boys.
Website http://www.gayletter.com/
http://www.facebook.com/GAYLETTER

Gayletter – it’s the newsletter that has become the weekly must-read for New York gays. Tom Jackson and Abi Benitez, the irreverent duo behind it, tell us why it never gets boring.


Neither of you guys are native New Yorkers. What brought you to the city?

Abi: I came to NY from the Dominican Republic after completing high school to go to college and I guess to find myself.

Tom: My roommates in Melbourne were leaving to travel around South America. I had two choices: move back in with my parents or go somewhere else. So I decided to try and live in New York. Then I fell in love with the city, so stayed. It has its moments, but it’s probably the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had.

Have you noticed any changes to the city’s gay scene since you arrived?

T&A: It’s always changing. It’s a port city, people coming and going. There’s a new fresh crop of boys coming into New York every week. That’s what makes it so exciting. Just when you think the place is getting boring, some amazing new party will happen in an old warehouse in the depths of Brooklyn that just blows our mind.

You’ve been championing the indie/alterna-gay scene for a while now. Does it ever get tired?

Tom: There are people we write about often. But no, it never gets tired, there’s always someone or something new to write about. It’s always growing, evolving, changing. Look a little harder, and you’ll always find something different to do. Only boring people get bored.

Abi: I feel that people call anything that’s not the typical gay, indie/alterna/hipster – they’re such stupid labels. We try to keep the content as far away from gay-cliche as possible. Things can seem a bit similar sometimes, but trust me, they are not the same, if you pay attention.

Guyletter was launched earlier this fall for the straight dudes. Has it changed Gayletter?

Abi: GUYLETTER is written and curated by two lovely straight guys Tristan and Ryan. It’s part of our brand, but we are not straight, so we let them tell the straight boys in NYC what to do. GAYLETTER remains the same — as gay as ever. :)

Sponsorship of Gayletter seems a bit sporadic. Have you been tempted to tone things down to be more advertiser-friendly?

T&A: We have never been tempted to tone things down. We prefer to remain authentic. The success of GAYLETTER has come from being honest with our readers, we say exactly what we think without holding back. There are too many publications that play it safe – we would never want to be safe.

In terms of advertising we are just very selective. Also we are too busy to spend all day looking for advertisers. All the advertisers we’ve worked with – American Apparel, Gilt Man, BAM, House of Ladosha – have approached us.

The brands we don’t connect with, we simply say no. We didn’t start GAYLETTER to make money, so we try to focus more on just making the smartest, funnest letter we can.

What’s your favourite hangout on the nights you’re not going out for Gayletter?

Abi: I don’t have a favourite place to go, that’s why we created GAYLETTER so we have an excuse to do something different every day. I prefer to explore new places as much as possible.

Tom: I honestly feel the same. There’s places I like to go to, but I’m more interested in trying somewhere new.

Best new addition to the NY gay scene this past year?

Abi: I’m addicted to the vogueing balls which seem to be having a resurgence in NY at the moment. In fact when I get drunk I try to vogue in front of the mirror.

Tom: I totally agree, all the vogueing balls that are popping up everywhere just get me soooo excited. It’s an art form that was starting to die and has only recently exploded back on the scene. It’s just wonderful.

You also host Interracial, your own regular party. Most memorable moment so far?

Abi: Mmmh. Probably during our Halloween party, no one recognized me when I was trying to say hello to them because of my costume. It was fun to spy.

Tom: Chatting with Anderson Cooper about drones in Afghanistan was fun/surreal at 1am in a noisy bar.

Best reason to stop by if you haven’t been yet?

T&A: The interracial sex that you’re guaranteed to have later that night.

What’s in the pipeline for Gayletter?

T&A: GAYLETTER is launching its brand new website in 2013, filled with daily content: art, travel stories, fashion, culture, food, nightlife, interviews and more. Stay tuned!

Your favourite travel destination?

Abi: This beach that I call paradise in the north coast of the Dominican Republic, but I am not going to tell you exactly where it is, because I want it to remain quiet and free of tourists.

Tom: The DR is up there for me, as is Miami and, of course, Australia. Oh, and Palm Springs I visited twice this summer and just loved. Those dry mountains acting as a backdrop to the town. It was like something out of a western from the 50’s.

The three things you never travel without?

Abi: Three different styles of shoes even if I don’t need them. A speedo even if I am going to a cold place — there’s gotta be a pool party somewhere. And weirdly a hangover.

Tom: Xanax, a phone full of podcasts, and a cunty outfit (you never know who might invite you to dinner.)

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Photo credit: Daniel Moss