Lesbians In Print

1985 –

Lesbians In Print

1985 –

Theme: Lesbian

This essay written by Romi Curl was first published in Women Together: a History of Women's Organisations in New Zealand in 1993.

Update coming soon!

The first issue of the magazine Lesbians In Print (LIP) was launched in Auckland in May 1985, in a climate of political activity focused on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill. LIP grew out of the need for a voice for the lesbian community, which had by then become active and cohesive. The early issues dealt with the struggle lesbians were having to be recognised by the Gay Task Force (a group of gay men and lesbians working with Fran Wilde MP for the bill) in Auckland. As a result the Lesbian Coalition (Auckland) was formed. That same year, Snapdragon, the women's bookshop in Herne Bay, was started and run by lesbians. It was a meeting place, a centre of ideas and activity, and the perfect outlet for LIP.

The initial collective consisted of nine women who at first put out the magazine every two months, but later less regularly. The first seven issues of LIP dealt with the bill, until it was finally passed in 1986. Other frequent themes were lesbians and alcohol, lesbian motherhood, spirituality, art, peace, the environment, health, visibility, the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Australian Bicentenary – issues which touched lesbians' lives directly, but also broader concerns for the community and the planet.

LIP published many personal stories about the pain and joys of discovering lesbianism and 'coming out'. Issue 7 (1986) carried Rose Ruston's article 'Lesbian Separatism', which drew a long, complex series of responses, for and against.

Lesbians in Print poster

Romi Crul.

Cover of Lesbians in Print, Issue 10, November 1986.

The photos and articles covering the lesbian festival 'Celebrating Ourselves', held in Ponsonby in November 1986, showed the elation of being together and having resolved many conflicts. Lesbian musicians, their stories and their gigs received plenty of coverage, as did the Women's Music Festivals of 1987 and 1988, along with lesbian paintings, poems, stories and cartoons. Circe, the Auckland lesbian soccer and softball team, also featured often.

Issue 18 (1988), 'Wāhine Māori', published work put together by a group of Māori lesbians, covering Waitangi Day, support for Koori women, racism at an Auckland gay club, and women working with sexual abuse. But by 1988, energy had begun to wane. There were no major events or issues to focus on, and material became more difficult to elicit. Instead of an editorial collective, there was only a paste-up team of two women (both of whom had been involved since Issue 2). In 1989, Issue 21 – LIP's coming of age – was also the last by this collective. A new collective took over production from 1989, and in 1993 LIP continued to be published.

Romi Curl

Published sources

LIP, 1985–1989, 1989–1993 

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