Gay mags, straight reading

You might think the lad-mag generation wouldn't be seen dead reading gay men's magazines. Well, think again

The unthinkable has happened. British heterosexual men are putting their prejudices behind them along with their lad's mags and beginning to explore the world of gay magazines.

The unthinkable has happened. British heterosexual men are putting their prejudices behind them along with their lad's mags and beginning to explore the world of gay magazines.

According to the editors of some of the UK's most established gay titles, straight men are happy to browse through issues of Gay Times, Fluid or Attitude - magazines that aim themselves very firmly at a gay male readership.

From next month Gay Times will begin advertising in the national press and the more mainstream men's health magazines to target a new readership. While their intention may be to capture "a closet audience", the appeal of gay men's magazines is widening and they now attract a significant heterosexual readership.

Former Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell, occupies the front cover of this month's Attitude magazine, a move expected to raise sales to heterosexual readers to about 15 per cent of the total. While the singer has a close association with gay readers, largely as a result of her friendship with George Michael, she also has a very mainstream appeal.

Adam Mattera, Attitude's editor, says that without any deliberate attempt to change the magazine's readership, more straight readers are picking it up.

"We're definitely getting more straight men and women reading Attitude," he says. "When we put Kylie Minogue on the front cover last year about 10 per cent of our buyers were straight and actual readership was a lot higher than that.

"This is all part and parcel of how gay culture has evolved - it's no longer underground - gay people have lots of straight friends these days."

Mattera says Attitude's combination of mainstream advertisers such as One2One and spreads like "The Naked Issue" featuring both male and female naked celebrities, along with an upbeat and irreverent editorial style, has led to a broader appeal.

He agrees that in some cases readers may not even be sure at first glance that it's a gay magazine they're picking up. The current issue features an exclusive interview with Simon Fowler, lead singer with Ocean Colour Scene, who is giving his first interview since being "outed" by the Sun a couple of years ago. While he talks about how this affected him and his relationship with his family, it's not a flag-waving piece about his sexuality; there is also a strong focus on his music and a forthcoming album.

Other sections of the magazine cater very obviously to a straight audience. This month offers a review of six nightclubs - three gay, three straight - written by gay and straight journalists. There is a 24-page fashion supplement with catwalk reports and the usual lifestyle and fitness coverage.

Cary James, the editor of Fluid magazine, says the arrival of television programmes such Queer as Folk and Metrosexuality - the Channel 4 series featuring two gay dads and their straight son - means straight men feel comfortable about picking up a gay men's magazine.

"I definitely hear of readers' straight mates who are picking up Fluid, and on a scale of one to 10, we're about a nine in terms of how 'gay' our content is," he says.

Proving the point, Fluid, which now has 50,000 readers, always features a male model on its front cover. This month it offers advice to readers on "How to Change that Body", including the best way to wear a tight T-shirt. There is also a make-over feature on five gay men and advice on how to tackle decisions on cosmetic surgery. Forthcoming issues will deal with bulimia and steroid abuse.

At the glossy Gay Times the focus is more on serious news journalism, lifestyle and travel features, and a comprehensive listings guide. "The quality of the writing will be of interest to anyone - gay or straight, male or female," said Kim Watson, Gay Times marketing director. "We have always been in competition with style magazines like The Face and Arena, and we're starting to win some of those transient readers."

Gay Times, Fluid and Attitude can all be bought at many high-street newsagents, while more provocative titles such as Boyz are distributed free at gay bars and clubs.

In the past year Gay Times, published by the Millivres-Prowler Group, has appointed a new editor, had a complete redesign and widened its remit to make it appeal to a wider audience. Others predict that a name change to GT, or something less "gay", would complete a transformation to the mainstream.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
A bartender serves beers
news
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig and Rory Kinnear film Spectre in London
film
Life and Style
The finale at Dolce and Gabbana autumn/winter 2015
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing / PR / Social Media Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A thriving online media busines...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?