Still Here, Still Queer: The Rise (and Rise) of LGBTQ Zine Culture

At its core, the zine, and queer zines in particular, have always been a protest against normality and censorship. Not only do they provide a platform for free thought, but they also gives artists who don’t conform to the expectations of mainstream media a chance to share their artfashionphotography and other works — often uncensored — with a like-minded audience.

In 2001, BUTT magazine — an “international faggot magazine for interesting homosexuals and the men who love them” — led the resurgence of queer zines by creating something that demanded attention, most notably with its uncensored imagery and candid interviews. Printed on pink paper with bold black ink, the zine broke into the mainstream in 2005 when The Guardian named BUTT one of its top magazines of the year.

While the title ceased publication in 2011, its impact on queer zines that followed is undoubted and has helped spur on a community by continuing to share the voices of those made to feel like they live in the shadows. Titles like Cakeboymeat and Elska — the last a bimonthly photography, culture and travel publication best described as “part intellectual queer pinup mag and part sexy anthropology journal” — have thrived in a BUTT-less market.

Zine culture really emerged back in the ’70s and ’80s and was an important form of activism — an act of defiance against the norm — that felt necessary in getting facts and POVs heard that were otherwise unshared. In particular, life during the HIV epidemic saw a rise in queer zines in order to squash myths and misconceptions associated with the community at the time.

Thanks to the internet, you may be led to believe that modern-day zine culture has shifted into a format of hot takes via self-curated blogs. But in fact, the printed zine is as relevant today as ever before. Read more via Hornet