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.
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.
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 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 met. YGA 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
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 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.
Men was a gay porn magazine that did more than just gay porn.
It was popularised by its sexy photoshoots of popular names (and popular bods) in the adult film industry.
Men also featured erotic fiction, video reviews, and other unique features. Originally monikered Advocate Men until 1997. It was a sister publication of The Advocate — drew in an audience by feature popular male models like Zeb Atlas and Mark Dalton, among others.
But in 2009, the publishers of the Los Angeles-based magazine, Speciality Publications, announced it was moving all its gay porn magazine to an online platform, called Unzipped.net.
However, you’ll come up unlucky if you try to access the website now; and no new issues of Men have seen the light of day since.
XY, named after the combination of male chromosomes. It is a magazine that gradually became more and more strongly aimed at gay youth. As editors witnessed that kids became coming out as gay much younger. It relaunched in 2016 after and eight year hiatus.
The publication was originally founded in 1996 by Peter Ian Cummings in San Francisco. XY says that it is “known best for its original photography, brazenly honest commentary on politics and culture, review of film, music and literature, reader contributions, advice on surviving young and gay, and a rather dark sense of humor.”
Michael Glatze – the man who declared he was no longer gay and took a sharp turn toward conservatism and Christianity. He opposed gay rights – but was a longtime managing editor before the publication initially filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Since the publication went into circulation again, its issues can be found on its new website.
Butt Magazine, 2001-2016
“The pocket-size magazine by, for and about homosexuals,” was founded in the Netherlands in 2001 by Gert Jonkers and Jep van Beenekom. Though no longer making new content in print or online, the “infamous pink periodical” makes sure you’re 18 before entering its website — which is just as infamously pink.
BUTT featured photography and interviews with renowned gay artists. Personalities such as German fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm, whose nude portraits — appeared in the magazine’s debut in May 2001. Since then, featured gay artists include Casey Spooner, Michael Stipe, Knes, Edmund White and Slava Mogutin have been .
BUTT‘s aesthetic considered memorable for the way it sexualised men you’d find on the street or subway; they had body hair, teeth that weren’t perfect, even paunch. Queer magazines of the early 2000s still mostly stuck with the airbrushed, Ken-doll look. The clean look was ubiquitous in West Hollywood and Chelsea.
BUTT helped pave the way for a fresh appreciation of down-to-Earth guys, something that Hello Mr. later embraced.
Although2016 was the year of the magazine’s final issues, it is still available worldwide. Even at local American Apparel stores in the U.S. and U.K.
Anything That Moves, 1990-2002
A bold effort to end bi-erasure, Anything That Moves: Beyond The Myths of Bisexuality, intentionally went for a salacious title, taking on the toughest of stereotypes like that bisexuals will have sex with “anything that moves.”
Published from 1990-2002. It was an expansion of a newsletter Karla Rossi wrote for the San Francisco Bay Area Bisexual Network. It eventually became a 64-page publication that presented a diverse collection of bisexual voices and experiences.
The best part, no one needed to declare where on the bisexual spectrum they fell. It was just enough that they fell for both genders.
Blueboy – originally written as Blue Boy — reigned as the gay equivalent of Playboy of the tail end of the 20th-century.
Founded in 1974, Blueboy got its name from a famous 18th-century portrait ofthe same name by Thomas Gainsborough. It featured a boy dressed up in fancy blue clothes. The first issue of Blueboy featured cover art that parodied the painting.
It remained a hot source for gay porn in the ’70s and ’80s.
Blueboy doubled as a lifestyle magazine that featured articles on everything. From love advice to TV and movie reviews to fashion. But Blueboy didn’t shy away from more serious topics, tackling the Reagan administration and the AIDS crisis. However, more gay lifestyle magazines emerged in the early 1990s, such as Out, MetroSource, and Genre. It became more and more difficult to compete and differentiate itself. As a result, Blueboy began publishing much more hardcore gay images and jettisoned most of its non-porn content.
Although the publication shut down in December 2007, its fame has been immortalized in the Cyndi Lauper song “She Bop” where she sings: “Well, I see him every night in tight blue jeans / In the pages of a Blueboy magazine”