10 LGBT Magazines: Dead But Impactful

10 LGBT Magazines: Dead But Impactful

Magazines now long dead and gone, that helped make the world a much better place. Their publication was a boon and a safe haven for the LGBT community. Some of them even went on to become cult names in LGBT circles.

Today we take a stock of these long gone legends.

  Hello Mr. 

hello mr. cover



Many will miss the magazine “about men who date men” that launched in April 2013. It’s not the first of its kind to print its last issue. Over the years, many publications forced us to question our sense of normal. What a magazine could look like when LGBT people were front and centre. In the fight for eyes, few have survived. But we’ve compiled a list of now-passed queer magazines. These gave a voice to the entire LGBT community when it seemed like we had none.

The Ladder, 1956-1972

The first nationally distributed lesbian magazine was published from 1956 to 1972. The title was drawn from the artwork on the first cover, line drawings moving towards a ladder that disappeared into the clouds, perhaps symbolic of moving women up the ladder and through the glass ceiling.

Originally put together by the Daughters of Bilitis, the first American lesbian organization, which disbanded over disagreements on whether to band up with misogynist gay male functions or join the feminist movement, several of Ladder‘s editors moved to the National Organization for Women.Lesbian Mag Cover

As younger readers became more militant in the fight for equality, they lashed back at the older members’ ideas. Fearing that the magazine would be lost due to the issues in the organization, DOB President Rita LaPorte stole the 3,800-member mailing list for The Ladder, of which for safety reasons, there were only two copies. Along with Barbara Grier, LaPorte continued to publish until money dried up in 1972.

“No woman ever made a dime for her work, and some…worked themselves into a state of mental and physical decline on behalf of the magazine,” said Grier. “Most of (the editors) believed that they were moving the world with their labours, and I believe that they were right.”

YGA, 2004-2007

YGA was an award-winning magazine for queer and questioning youth, functioning as an accessible and inclusive resource for many.

Where XY was a magazine that was catered to young gay men, YGA had an audience of youth who filled up every part of the LGBT spectrum. XYmagazine ended up serving its purpose where YGA was concerned, though — it was where YGA founders and eventual long-term boyfriends Benjie Nycum and Michael Glatze metYGA was the only English-speaking publication of its kind, and won the National Role Model Award from Equality Forum, a big deal in the world of gay publications. But this is the same Michael Glatze who left Playguy in 2007, declaring he was no longer gay, embraced Christian fundamentalism, and became a vocal opponent of LGBT rights. The publication fell apart soon after.

Transgender Tapestry, 1985-2006

Trans Mag

With activist Dallas Denny as its editor, Transgender Tapestry took on trans issues with an educational perspective.

The magazine was published by the International Foundation for Gender Education, an American nonprofit transgender organization devoted to ending intolerance. Hyper-inclusive, Tapestry was “a magazine by, for, and about all things trans, including crossdressing, transsexualism, intersexuality, FTM, MTF, butch, femme, drag kings and drag queens, androgyny, female and male impersonation, and more.”

“The crossdressing and transsexual phenomena have been an integral part of human experience as long as there has been a human experience,” said IFGE founder Merissa Sherrill Lynn, “Yet, as common as they are, ignorance of them, and the resulting intolerance and fear, continues to cost good people their happiness, their jobs, their families, and their lives. It costs society its neighbours, its friends, and its productive citizens.”

IFGE was the only American transgender organisation with paid staff, and its website, which went online in 1998, was heavily used by trans people. Readers indicated in a 2002 survey that it was the “best source on the internet,” for finding trans information, outcompeting Google and Yahoo.

Girlfriends, 1993-2006

Girlfriends used to call itself “the magazine of lesbian enjoyment” — and for good reason.

Founded in 1993 by current Advocate editors Diane Anderson-Minshall and Jacob Anderson-Minshall, along with Heather Findlay, Girlfriends wasn’t your typical women’s magazine. It did cover everything a run-of-the-mill women’s magazine would cover — from culture to entertainment to world events — but did so from a lesbian’s perspective, which was revolutionary at the time.

The magazine was based and distributed in San Francisco and shared a publisher with the lesbian erotica magazine On Our Backs. Although Girlfriendsstrayed away from sexual content, it had its own unique and useful features, like an annual list of the best places in the world for lesbians to live, and an online dating service run from the magazine’s website.

However, the reign of the lesbian lifestyle magazine was cut short when Girlfriends ran its last issue in 2006.

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