By Kim Spurway
Lesbians on the Loose is the biggest and most widely read lesbian magazine in Australia. Circulated free of charge once a month, it emphasises topical issues, with lots of short, information-based articles and a smaller number of longer, in-depth articles.
The 28-page magazine is produced by a group of four women in Sydney. Since starting in January 1990 with a circulation of 1000, it has increased to a distribution of 3000, with an estimated readership of 8000.
The first thing that strikes you is its diversity — it is intended to be an open forum for issues in the lesbian community. LOTL was formed to fill a gap that existed with the only magazines available being gay-male-oriented papers like the Sydney Star Observer or Lesbian Network, which had a definite political line.
LOTL publishers wanted to reach out to the wider lesbian community, to reach those lesbians with limited contact with others, to bridge gaps or divisions within the community and to inform and create discussion.
The main problem lesbians face is that of visibility, according to LOTL's editor Frances Rand, with most of the focus being on gay men. This, she believes, is due in part to the devastating impact AIDS has had on the gay male community and the high profile of outspoken groups like ACT UP.
LOTL has covered issues like increased violence against lesbians, lesbian parenting, s/m and sexuality as well as broader issues such as conservation and unemployment.
Future issues will include the Lesbian Conference, changes in the immigration laws for lesbian couples, lesbian sex workers and the NSW elections. Contributions are welcome from the lesbian community. Include name, address and phone number and send to LOTL, PO Box 798, Newtown 2042. n