What is Fording the River Styx?

Fording the River Styx is a newsletter you can receive right in your email that features a daily round-up of LGBTQ news. You should sign up to receive it, so that way it’ll get sent to you as soon as it’s out! It’s cool if you just want to check it out on the website, but if you subscribe, then you’re sure to never miss it.

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It’s a must read.” - GLAAD

It should be a part of everyone’s morning, every single morning, no joke.” - Bryan Safi, Throwing Shade

Everyone interested in queer news should subscribe.” - Brennan Suen, Media Matters

Who am I?

I’m Zack Ford, and I’ve been writing about LGBTQ politics for a while now. You may have seen my content over at ThinkProgress (R.I.P.) or heard me on the David Feldman Show. Ever since I came out as gay, I’ve fundamentally believed it important to educate the world about queer identities so that we can all better understand and respect each other. Having originally planned to be a music teacher, I changed tracks to pursue social justice education at the university level, but then — after turning to personal blogging and podcasting during my recession unemployment — wound up pursuing that kind of advocacy through a career in journalism instead.

You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook if you’d like.

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Why did I start this newsletter?

Part of it’s personal. In early 2019, my beat changed over at ThinkProgress such that now I cover the Trump administration — which is important work — but I still have a passion for writing about LGBTQ issues. I also kind of hope that I can provide a service that’s a bit lacking these days.

Back in the 2000s, we had a pretty thriving LGBTQ blogosphere, with citizen journalists from all over elevating local stories, tracking the religious right, and keeping people informed about what was impacting the LGBTQ community when nobody else would. Gradually, more mainstream sites recognized the importance of this coverage and the blogosphere started to fade. But then in 2018, the Facebook apocalypse hit digital media, and queer coverage took a significant blow. I’d like to try to fill that vacuum a bit if I can.

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What to expect from this newsletter?

I don’t have some grand plan. Honestly, I just haven’t been able to give up my habit of scouring LGBTQ news every day, and it seems like maybe that addiction could serve a more productive and useful purpose.

My general thought is to highlight a brief round-up of stories impacting the queer community (and some adjacent issues) and maybe add a little extra commentary or context to them. I’ll try to highlight some local stories and keep an eye on what opponents of LGBTQ equality are up to. Other than that, I’m open to ideas!

Also, as a cis white guy (he/him), I recognize that I might not be tuned into everything I should be catching, so please don’t hesitate to let me know (zackford@substack.com) if there are things I miss or other great writers and outlets I should be checking out!

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How soon until you start charging?

Eh, I’m not here to make money, just to provide a useful resource. If it blows up, I’ll consider adding some exclusive content for subscribers, but that’s not on my radar right now.

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Why Fording The River Styx?

Many of my fellow Millennials will surely recall that in The Oregon Trail, fording a river was one of the biggest risks you could take, but sometimes it was your only option. The River Styx comes from Greek mythology’s underworld, with the word “Styx” meaning “hate.” And, well, my last name is Ford. Ha.

I’ll leave this last bit of the pre-written “about page” text here because it’s cool that there’s a great site like this: To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.

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