LOTL Cover Sep 1991

Lesbians on the Loose: A Historic Voice for the Lesbian Community in Australia

Lesbians on the Loose (LOTL), a magazine that first appeared in Sydney in January 1990, has been a significant voice for the lesbian community in Australia.

It has provided a platform for the community and played a crucial role in shaping the narrative of lesbian history in Australia.

LOTL, an acronym for the magazine’s original title, Lesbians on the Loose, was founded by Frances Rand and Jackie Scherer. The magazine was initially intended to be a four-page publication with free advertising. However, with the support of Mardi Gras and a paid ad, the first issue expanded to eight pages.

Over the years, LOTL grew rapidly, reaching a circulation of 20,000 copies by the end of the decade, making it the most-read lesbian magazine in Australia. The magazine added colour and more pages, running fabulous stories and interviews. It spoke to celebrities like Melissa Etheridge, Dorothy McRae-McMahon, kd lang, and Janis Ian. However, while it had its fair share of celebrities, LOTL was community-focused, and most of its stories were about ordinary lesbians.

LOTL has been a lifeline for many and a leading voice within the community. It has been instrumental in highlighting issues of discrimination, such as the case of a lesbian couple who were refused family cover by insurance giant MedibankPrivate. The magazine has been a beacon for the lesbian community, providing a platform for sharing experiences and stories and fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Today, LOTL continues to reflect a growing and diverse community. It has embraced the title its readers fondly used and changed its name several years ago. The magazine is still published by Silke Bader, who bought it from Rand and Farrelly in 1998. The back office of LOTL was merged with Curve magazine, a US lesbian magazine, and publishing continued under two separate titles. In 2021, LOTL launched its own video podcast Queer Conversation.

LOTL has been a historic part of the LGBTQ community in Australia. It has played a significant role in shaping the narrative of lesbian history in Australia and continues to be a beacon for the lesbian community. Its legacy is a testament to the power of community and the importance of shared experiences and stories.

We’re working on a special history project for LOTL and need your help!

We want to hear your experiences, stories, and perspectives.

Did you attend a significant event? Witness a turning point for the lesbian community in Australia? Or have a memorable personal experience related to Lesbians on the Loose? We want to hear from you!

Your voice matters, and your story could be a part of our rich tapestry. Help us weave together the past 35 years of lesbian history in Australia.

Contact us and share your story. Be a part of history!

Email silke@lotl.com or call Silke on 0418 603 211 to discuss a time to schedule an interview over our virtual studio or at our physical studio in Potts Point.