Discover the story of ‘Curve’ magazine on Netflix

In the 1990s Curve magazine made an important impression as a magazine made by lesbians for lesbians.

Now in the documentary Ahead of the curvewhich has just been released on Netflix, tells the story of the publication and its founder Franco Stevens.

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It provides insight into the representation of lesbians in the media of the past, and what representation is still needed now and in the future.

Described as “one of the most influential women you’ve never heard of in lesbian history,” Franco Stevens saw the need for a lesbian magazine while living in San Francisco in the late 1980s.

In 1990, aged just 23, she founded a magazine that would have global reach and inspire a generation of publishers around the world.

Initially it was called Deneuvebut after French actor Catherine Deneuve expressed concerns about the name, it became Curve.

Growing up, Franco never saw any representation of queer women; she didn’t even know it was possible for a woman to be homosexual. When she realized she was a lesbian, it changed the course of her life. It ended her three-year marriage, she had arguments with family members and she was living in her car.

Slowly but surely, she got back on track, and while working in a bookstore, she came up with the idea for a bold publication that proclaimed it was for lesbians – right there on the cover.

Her approach to threats and eradication in the 1990s was to lift up lesbians of all kinds and make them beautifully visible. The magazine has helped lay a foundation for many intersectional movements led by contemporary activists, despite increasing threats to the LGBTQ community.

The documentary discovers Stevens decades later, as her legacy faces extinction and she reassesses her life after a debilitating injury. She seeks to understand the visibility work led by an intersection of queer women today and wonders if there is still a place or need for Curve.

With Andrea Pino-Silva, Kim Katrin, Denice Frohman, Amber Hikes, Jewelle Gomez, Melissa Etheridge and Lea DeLaria.

Ahead of the Curve is now available on Netflix.