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'Bound' Together: An International Magazine with a Lesbian-ish Edge

'Bound' Together: An International Magazine with a  Lesbian-ish Edge

At a time when print is facing great challenges, a maverick editor Merryn Johns and her crew launched Bound, what could be the first international magazine for lesbians and could-be lesbians. Based in Australia, the Bound team has just published its third issue featuring fame in all forms with stories on Lady Gaga, Hilary Swank and porn legend Nina Hartley, as well as highlights from Johannesburg Pride and a report on the death of lesbian soldier Ciara Durkin, paired with lifestyle pieces on, travel, décor and fashion.

It's no secret that the publishing industry in is in peril -- news outlets continue to downsize and fold in the economic crunch.

But that didn't stop Aussie Merryn Johns from launching Bound, what could be the first international magazine for lesbians and could-be lesbians.

"We're crazy; we're crazy Australians," laughs Johns, the magazine's Editor in Chief. "The publishing industry is in crisis, and there's never been a worse time economically to launch anything. But one thing that occurred to us is if it works now, it'll work."

Merryn Johns

The third issue, out now, features fame in all forms with stories on Lady Gaga, Hilary Swank and porn legend Nina Hartley, as well as highlights from Johannesburg Pride and an investigative report on the mysterious death of lesbian soldier Ciara Durkin, paired with lifestyle pieces on, travel, décor and fashion.

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"We have a really good mix of popular culture, celebrity interviews, politically themed articles and lifestyle pieces - something that I don't believe a lesbian magazine has done before," says Johns. "And fashion. People would say to me, 'Fashion, can we please have fashion?' liked we'd all been locked away from it for 15 years."

Bound Staff at the Launch

Despite the name's nod to the popular Sapphic film Bound isn't just for lesbians. "I think our community is becoming so diverse, and it's overlapping so many other segments of society, that I can't any longer assume that just lesbians read lesbian magazines," says Johns, who leftLOTL to launch Bound. "And I think Bound is probably one of the first publications to come out of the closet, understanding that it has mainstream fans."

From longtime lesbians to "sexual tourists just passing through," says Johns. "We're very broad and broadminded."

As for the name, "It was one of those funny things," says Johns. "We wanted it to be a perfect-bound, glossy -- an aesthetically pleasing publication. We were talking about it, 'So when we do 'bound',' and somebody said, 'Hey, that's actually a good name.'"

The name, of course, also references the film, "probably one of the classic lesbian films of all time and yet very strangely not made by a lesbian," says Johns, "So we liked the quirky association; a little bit of fetish indicated that we might be a little bit naughty, a little big edgy."

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And on a broader base "that we are all bound; we are all connected by the idea of being attracted to another woman," she adds.

Johns with SheWired Vloggers Cathy DeBuono and Jill Bennett

The monthly magazine is an international endeavor with the head office in Sydney, editorial offices in New York and freelancers all over the world from London to Johannesburg to San Paulo. "I believe it's the first international lesbian magazine ... with one edition that goes all over the world," says Johns.

And so far, says Johns, the response has been positive.

"It has been incredible, and not just from readers, but from people in the industry and in the community," says Johns. "They see what we're trying to do; they love the quality of the magazine and the content mix. In a world where magazines seem to be shrinking and dropping off the perch every day, they're just so glad to finally have something we can relate to."

Despite the push for publications to go online, Bound caters to its print product. "We wanted to do something different, which was a high-end magazine that allows you an hour or two of your absolute private time and pleasure - something that the Internet isn't likely to do."

A digital copy is also available online via subscription only, which will run you about $25 a year, and through a 99 cent iPhone app. Readers can grab a hardcopy at Barnes & Noble or Borders, "but the quickest way to get the publication is to go online and subscribe," says Johns.

"You're going to have a lot of fun reading the magazine," she adds. "It has a sense of humor; it's very cheeky; it has a little bit of sexiness and a political conscience."

And you could find yourself on the pages. "If you're a lesbian or a bisexual woman doing anything of interest, anything noble, anything with a kind of global consciousness, get in touch with us - we'd probably love to feature you in the magazine."

Boundmagazine.com

 

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Jamie Wetherbe