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.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little