Franco Stevens

Franco Stevens by Barak Shrama

When she launched the lesbian magazine Deneuve — later to become Curve — back in 1991, “so many lesbians felt completely alone,” Franco Stevens tells GO. “Back then, with no internet, you might not even know there was another queer person living just a few miles away.” She started the magazine as a way to increase awareness of, and give space to, queer and lesbian women, and made what was at the time a radical decision: to put the word “lesbian” on the cover. “I wanted to say ‘Hey, we’re here, we look every kind of way, and we are beautiful.’ That was controversial even from within our own community,” she says. “People warned me that it was a death sentence for the magazine because putting the word ‘lesbian’ on the cover meant readers would essentially have to come out every time they went to buy it or read it in public. But, crucially, it also made us visible to each other, and visible to the rest of the world.” The publication thrived, making queer women visible to the mainstream and opening up conversations about sexual orientation, identity, queer families, LGBTQ+ rights, and other issues that are still on the forefront of our cultural discourse today. Recently, Franco has evolved Curve into part of The Curve Foundation, a philanthropic organization that elevates and empowers lesbian, trans, queer women and non-binary persons through storytelling and journalism. “We need to lift up the most marginalized voices in our movement now, focusing on inclusion and on cross-movement work around racial justice, immigration, and disability rights,” Franco says. “The Curve Foundation will be a powerful platform for this work.” —RK

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