I hope you are all in the mood to try new things, because I am delighted to announce four new additions to the Huffington Post menu today: Huff/Post50, HuffPost High School, HuffPost Gay Voices, and HuffPost Weddings (how's that for a diverse quartet?).
Let's start with Huff/Post50, our new site devoted to those of us who are part of the so-called "baby boom" generation born between 1946 and 1964 (the site's name was the brainchild of Rita Wilson, Huff/Post50's editor-at-large). There are currently 77 million of us in America (and 116 million aged 50 and over).
Our country has a very schizophrenic relationship with aging. On the one hand, we are a culture that is obsessed with youth and staying young. At the same time, thanks to advances in science, health, and medicine, Boomers are living longer and staying more active than ever before.
Huff/Post50 covers the challenges, complexities, and joys faced by Boomers -- everything from the "sandwich" pressures of simultaneously taking care of children and aging parents, to navigating the latest innovations in health and the science of aging, to sex and relationships at 50+ , to the question of reinventing oneself -- either out of necessity (sudden unemployment) or a desire to explore new interests and find new meaning in life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there are no second acts in American life. Boomers are proving him wrong on a daily basis. After all, I co-founded HuffPost in my mid-50s. And I'm far from alone in launching a new project after 50. Indeed, one of the reasons I asked Rita to help create Huff/Post50 was how inspired I was by seeing her pursue her lifelong dream of performing in a musical, realized when she made her Broadway debut, at age 49, in Chicago.
Huff/Post50 will question the conventional wisdom that life post-50 is about winding down, and spotlight other Boomers who embrace the idea of taking on new challenges and reinventing themselves, regardless of their age. It will offer the latest news and information on the issues that matter most to men and women 50+, including health, relationships, politics, retirement planning, spirituality, humor, culture, philanthropy, and facing illness and death. And we are creating a robust community for conversation and engagement on all these topics.
Huff/Post50 of course features a dynamic and vibrant group blog. Among those weighing in today are Bill Maher, on being in his fifties and finally being able to "see over the crest of the mountain"; Ann and Nancy Wilson on the important role music can play in life's journey; Christiane Amanpour on life's certainties evaporating after 50; and Rita Wilson on learning how to rebalance being there for her loved ones while exploring all the things she still wants to do. We are also launching our "Late Blooming" series with a funny and revealing Q/A with Jane Lynch.
Located on the other end of the demographic spectrum is HuffPost High School, devoted to teens and the issues they care about. The new section features content from some of the nation's top teen journalists and writers, and a group blog where teen bloggers can weigh in on everything from college prep to high school sports, to homework, to the role technology plays in their lives, to comedy, poetry, politics, proms and beyond.
Over the years, HuffPost has regularly covered the troubled state of America's education system, with plunging test scores, skyrocketing dropout rates, and crumbling classrooms. It's a system that's become a bloody battlefield, with our children too often getting caught in the crossfire.
But these failures are symptoms of flawed policies, an antiquated approach to learning, and our leaders' perverted priorities -- not a reflection of the intelligence, curiosity, and passions of our nation's teens. Indeed, as I travel around the country, I've been consistently impressed by the talented young people I meet, so many of them engaged by the most important issues of our time, and committed to being part of making a difference in the world. HuffPost High School intends to put the spotlight on them, and to give them a safe and welcoming platform to talk about what's really happening in their lives -- socially, academically, and culturally.
Driven by the creative input of smart, talented young people with a desire to share their ideas, we hope the site will become a go-to destination for -- and by -- America's teens. To this end, we've forged a long list of partnerships, including with TeensinTech.com (their "Teen 2.0" column will highlight amazing teen entrepreneurs around the country); Dosomething.org (they've developed a widget for HuffPost High that helps make stories on the section "actionable"); Varsitynetworks.com (to help cover high school sports); Figment.com (featuring some of the best student fiction and poetry); and iKeepSafe.org (a group devoted to making the web a safe place for teens).
The third of our new sites is HuffPost Gay Voices, a section offering the latest news and unfiltered opinion on any and all matters of interest to the LGBT community. The issues addressed will be as varied as the community itself. Everything is fair game, including -- but not limited to -- race, class, ethnicity, faith, family, sex, work, culture, marriage, civil rights, and politics, as well as everyday topics such as travel, food, style, health, and celebrity gossip.
HuffPost has long covered LGBT news, culture, and opinion -- with a special focus on the struggle over gay rights. We've cheered the advances (the repeal of DADT, the incremental advance of same-sex marriage), and criticized the setbacks (boos rained on a gay soldier's question during a GOP debate, the recent refusal of an appeals court to rule DADT unconstitutional, complicating the efforts of discharged gay service members to be reinstated). HuffPost Gay Voices provides a platform for all these stories to live in one place -- making it easier for readers to find, share, and discuss them. In the end, HuffPost Gay Voices is just that, a section comprised, first and foremost, of voices -- offering opinions as diverse as the community they spring from.
Today, you can check out our not-to-be-missed interview with Lady Gaga, where she weighs in on bisexuality, outing, DADT, pop culture's ability to change society, and creative re-invention. We also have the exclusive debut of lesbian folk singer Melissa Ferrick's new video "Still Right Here," and, coming later in the week, a slideshow on the gayest moments on Glee. And we have fresh takes from Margaret Cho, blogging on why she considers herself queer even though she's married to a man; Bruce Vilanch on the community he found while attending the North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and "Glitterbomber" Nick Espinosa on what it's like being a straight male activist for gay rights.
Finally, we are also launching HuffPost Weddings, a section that will cover the joys and headaches of weddings and modern marriage. At HuffPost, we've always done things unconventionally, so it should be no surprise that one year after launching our popular Divorce site, we've decided to go back to the beginning with a site bringing you the latest news and opinion on getting -- and staying -- married.
We'll cover it all, from wedding day minutiae (gowns! cakes! bridesmaids! first dances!), to dream honeymoons, to anniversaries, to the latest research on coupledom, to the challenges of making a modern marriage last.
Launch day stories include a post from reporter Catherine Pearson on the trend toward unconventional weddings and the couples who have them; a look at ten video marriage proposals that went viral; a collection of our readers' wedding day disaster stories; the first installment of our "10 Things You Don't Know About My Marriage," from Joy Behar; a slideshow of The Most Awkward Wedding Photos of All Time; a Q/A with the National Marriage Project's Brad Wilcox about a new report that reveals the many ways marriage is good for the economy; and a blog post from Lori Leibovich, our Executive Women's Editor, about IndieBride, a site she founded and which will now be part of HuffPost Weddings.
These four sections bring the number of new sections we've launched since March to 21 -- all part of our continued effort to provide content, community, and a platform for self-expression for as many of our readers' interests and passions as we can.
So check out Huff/Post50, HuffPost High School, HuffPost Gay Voices, and HuffPost Weddings and use the comment section on this post to let us know what you think -- and what other interests and passions you'd like to see us cover.
(This post was originally posted on The Huffington Post)