XY (magazine)

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XY Magazine
XY magazine logo.png
Sample cover of XY
Type Gay magazine
Format Glossy Magazine
Owner(s) XY Magazine
Founded 1996
Political alignment Left
Ceased publication 2007
Headquarters West Hollywood, CA
Circulation 44,000

XY was a gay male youth-oriented magazine published in the United States from 1996 to 2007. Its name was a reference to the XY chromosome pair found in males. XY magazine ceased publication in 2007, and its web site XY.com went offline in 2009. Much of the original staff went on to publish B Magazine.[1]


XY was founded by Peter Ian Cummings in San Francisco in 1996, and moved its operations to San Diego, California in 2001, and West Hollywood, California in 2004. It published roughly four editions a year, with a sometimes erratic publishing schedule.[citation needed]

The magazine contained political and cultural articles, pictures, and submissions by readers. Featured comic series included as Tough Love by Abby Denson and Joe Boy by Joe Phillips.

From its inception in 1996 through 2007, 49 issues were published. In issue 49 of XY (the winter 2008 issue), founding editor Peter Ian Cummings announced that he would be leaving the magazine for personal reasons, and that he and his investors were looking for a new team to take it over.

When an exhaustive search produced no suitable buyers, the magazine remained in limbo until 2010, when Cummings filed for bankruptcy.[3] During the bankruptcy proceedings, the Privacy Division of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a Federal Regulatory Agency, ordered subscriber and xy.com profile data to be destroyed to protect users' privacy (more below).[4]

Special editions and other publications[edit]

As well as its regular issues, the magazine has published a series of specials:

  • Two editions of the "Survival Guide" were produced. They were more serious than usual editions with articles on everything from coming out to age of consent laws to suicide. The cover was illustrated by Abby Denson.
  • "The Best of XY" contained the best of the magazine's articles, as selected by editors, contributors, and readers.
  • "XY: The Photos" contained the best photos from the magazine.
  • "XY: The Photos 1996+2007" contained additional photos


A bimonthly companion magazine XYFoto was launched in 2003 containing only photographs. This magazine was printed on matte paper and contains erotic but non-pornographic images of young men. Most issues are centered on a different city or state. Eight issues were published, each by a different photographer, including Sean Bentz, Adam Raphael, Steven Underhill, Christopher Makos, James Patrick Dawson and Peter Ian Cummings.


XY operated the websites xy.com and xymag.com, which featured magazine content as well as an online dating service "for young gay men".

Reader demographic[edit]

When XY launched in 1996, according to the publisher, the average age of its readers was 22. This declined to 18 in 2001, a demographic shift largely attributable to an increase in under-18 readers, "because people were coming out at younger ages."[5]


As a publication for young gay and bisexual men, XY has sometimes had a difficult time attracting advertisers, and often ran editorials on the topic.[which?][citation needed]

Another controversy involved XY's longtime Managing Editor, Michael Glatze, who left the magazine in 2001, co-edited the "XY Survival Guide" in 2003, and in 2007 announced that he no longer identified as a homosexual, and denounced homosexuality. He is now a conservative Christian who opposes gay rights.[6]

In July 2010, the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission denied a request by XY's investors to obtain the customer database for the old XY magazine and profile files on the xy.com web site, which list about 100,000 and 1 million subscribers, respectively.[7] Conforming with Cummings's and his staff's privacy policy of the magazine and site, which stated that they would "never sell its list to anybody",[8] was found to take precedence over the desire of these investors to obtain the data for unspecified use. Many of those customers would still be underage and would not be out to their families yet, thus making their privacy of particular concern. As a result of this FTC warning, the names, addresses, and online profiles were ordered destroyed.[9]

See also[edit]