‘Straight’ is slang for heterosexual. Yet this is just what a new magazine for ‘women who love women’ is called. In an interview, Felicia Mutterer, Editor-in-Chief of Straight, explains what makes the magazine stand out from the rest of the press reporting on the lesbian scene.
Ms Mutterer what gave you the idea of bringing out a new magazine for queer women – aren’t such magazines already available?
We already have two in Lmag and Missy Magazine, but Missy Magazine does not really see itself as a magazine for lesbians or for women who love women and Lmag has its very own approach. I think that’s great, but feel that while one does not focus enough on women who love women, the other is too specialised. This is why I thought of bringing out something that caters to women who love women and something also a little more lifestyle-oriented.
‘Straight’ sees itself as a magazine ‘for women who love women’. Was it a conscious choice to opt for such an all-encompassing title?
Yes. I find that totally important. Bisexuality is, after all, one of those issues, there is often marginalisation also within the LGBT scene itself. I congratulate every single person who has a clear and unambiguous identity. But I also think that things are in a state of flux, that some people are in the process of finding identities or changing them. We want to do justice to the situation by saying: We’re open to that. After all, there are also women who are in heterosexual relationships, have never had anything to do with a woman, but are craving to catch a little something of it.
‘We are confident, and we are there, and it is absolutely natural that we should be there’
What is the magazine’s attitude to life?
We do not go about things as though we were readying for battle. We want to show that we are confident, and we are there, and it is absolutely natural that we should be there, without wanting to make a big fuss about it. Sometimes people can be more enthusiastic about an issue when they realise that it’s not quite so serious after all. We try to be entertaining in our approach. But the stand we take is unequivocally in favour of equality for same-sex couples and we say: Nobody should suffer because of his or her sexuality. That is discrimination. Our state continues to discriminates, to say nothing of other countries. This is what we are there for – and in this respect I believe we are highly political – to keep bringing up a sensitive issue.
Are there only women in your team?
No. Andreas Pietsch, our graphic designer, is a man. I am not one of those who say: We’re keeping things separate here. I also play in a football club where sometimes we do discuss whether a man should be allowed to do his power training in the same room. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with discussing this. But for me personally it’s terrible. After all, I do not live in a separate world where women or women who love women cut themselves off from another part that also lives here – namely, men.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a lesbian – in the ‘Straight’ commercial
Who came up with the idea of Angela Merkel for the commercial?
It was nothing spectacular. We’ve all known for a long time that she said things before the parliamentary elections that are not nice to hear, if one is part of the gay community. We had a team meeting and discussed what we could do about this. We first thought of Hilary Clinton because it is also said that she is a lesbian. Then Andi, our graphic designer, said: [imitating a male voice] ‘But Merkel would also be funny!’ And that’s how it came about.
Would you say that LGBT today is still a scene or is it now a sub-culture?
Still a scene, I would say. I do believe that much has happened in recent years in terms of openness, particularly in the cities. Whereby here, in Berlin, it’s over with openness when one goes to the one or the other neighbourhood. Outside the large cities, whether one is comfortable being ‘standard’, or not so comfortable because one has discovered a different tune for oneself and would like in live in a different form, continues to be an issue, I think.
‘What defines being a woman? A great many things and a great many different things.’
The first issue attracted a lot of attention outside the scene press. How do you think you can prevent ‘Straight’ from becoming a niche magazine?
We want to be a magazine that reaches out to women who love women. However, the side effect – and we hope we can continue to bring it about – is that we have a societal impact and are able to campaign for homosexuality as something perfectly normal. In the final analysis, it is not about being tolerated, I ask for acceptance. And then I think it’s good to make an appearance. Anything that enhances visibility is important.
What does being a woman mean for you?
That’s a totally difficult question. What defines being a woman? A great many things and a great many different things. I am a woman, I love playing football, am interested in the Bundesliga, have many ignorant traits, am unable to multi-task – things that are always attributed more to men – but I still feel like a woman. Yet I also understand that the world is not black and white and that male and female cannot always be clearly separated.