Ahead Of The Curve is a timely documentary that explores the way Curve Magazine has influenced lesbian visibility and identity since its inception.

Beginning with the unmistakable opening bars of Untouched by The Veronicas, the documentary is as much the story of the magazine’s journey as it is about founder Franco Stevens.

Before realising she was a lesbian, Stevens appeared to have a picture perfect life. The perfect wedding, the perfect husband, a nice family. That all changed when she came out. In the documentary, Stevens speaks about the ramifications of this, and the series of events that eventually lead her to working at a bookshop, where she would post her first advertisement for positions at her budding magazine.

Curve, originally called Deneuve, has existed since 1990, when the world was a markedly different place. One of the major topics explored throughout the documentary is the significance of having the word ‘lesbian’ on the front cover of the magazine. In 1990, there were concerns that no money could be made on a lesbian magazine.

The concerns appear to be different today. In a world where young people are increasingly choosing to label themselves as queer, or simply not adopt a label at all. There are concerns that the word ‘lesbian’ is too exclusive, and doesn’t encapsulate the entirety of the magazine’s readership anymore. Franco, and many involved in creating early editions of what was then Deneuve, continue to emphasise the significance of the world lesbian to the magazine’s brand and identity. They do however, show an understanding of concerns voiced by those who believe the term is limited in today’s world.

 This is a debate that I found to be an interesting component of the documentary. In a world where queer identities are becoming increasingly personal, yet just as politicised, it is a conversation that is treated with respect in Ahead Of The Curve.

This is a relevant and timely documentary, as it explores the changing nature of feminism, identity, LGBTQI experiences and the changing nature of media in today’s world.

It does not shy away from important discussions and debates, and also give significant insight into the importance of queer media, and lesbian print media in particular, in the 1990s. There is a bittersweet tone that encapsulates the documentary as the decline in the magazine’s popularity is described as a “success and also a loss” as LGBTQI people have become more accepted and integrated within mainstream society.

The documentary ultimately, however, shows how profound the legacy of publications like Curve have been, and why they still remain relevant in providing a voice for queer women today.

To learn more about the film, or to see when it will be screening near you, visit curvemagmovie.com

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