After working closely with LGBT+ people in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and through their own queer business network, Kathryn and Thomas set up Somewhere: For Us, a magazine made by and for Scotland’s LGBT+ community.
Community isn’t always a physical space, sometimes it can be just the feeling of belonging. Inspired by the song ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story, Kathryn Pierce and Thomas Anderson-Thatcher have created a magazine, Somewhere: For Us, that showcases the voices within Scotland’s LGBT+ community.
Developed as part of the Somewhere social enterprise, which helps to provide resources for LGBT+ projects and opportunities, Somewhere: For Us is an opportunity to champion and celebrate stories from LGBT+ creatives. When the magazine launched in November of 2020, Somewhere: For Us boasted a 98-page spread full of LGBT+ culture, stories, interviews and news.
“The gap in the market was evident for a high-quality LGBT+ publication, with original content, supporting our diverse communities, so the opportunity was there for us to make a difference in a new way.”
Calling on the talents of the LGBT+ community
A huge part of the magazine’s operation is being able to commission paid work by LGBT+ artists, including the colourful and impressive covers. The most recent issue displayed lavender unicorns running through a field with Edinburgh castle in the background - a vibrant and colourful depiction of a modern Scotland. Although Thomas, Kathryn and the Somewhere team have achieved great success through the magazine’s launch, they are reluctant to take all the glory. They believe the backbone of Somewhere: For Us is the creative community.
“We are proud to be able to commission paid original content, as acknowledging the value of people’s creativity is also at the heart of what we do. The quality of content is the quality of work and creativity out there!”
Metropolitan areas usually provide hubs of LGBT+ community and culture, with Edinburgh and Glasgow hosting multiple gay bars, cafes and centres. However, the more rural areas in Scotland are often the ones that need more representation, explain Thomas and Kathryn. When asked what one of their biggest achievements was since starting the magazine they proudly stated the 40% membership from rural areas.
With the context of COVID and lockdown, we know that the LGBT+ community has been hit especially hard. It was important that we could provide something celebratory and connective, so isolated people could enjoy a sense of community in print, while real-life was on hold.
The reaction to the magazine has also led to some emotional revelations. The co-founders were honoured to be told of readers who had been able to bridge difficult conversations in families and bringing resolutions of understanding and acceptance, thanks to the publication. Having a point of reference for not merely the existence of the LGBT+ community, but the complex lives of the LGBT+ community, has allowed people to open up to one another a little bit more.
The Somewhere: For Us team are looking forward to continuing to work directly with the LGBT+ community to showcase talent and speak on issues important to them. They have recently partnered with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts and culture festival. With this partnership, they hope to amplify LGBT+ stories and practitioners. And are working towards seeing more representation throughout art, theatre and other ventures. The magazine has achieved so much already, and it hopes to continue this by bringing light to Scotland’s cultural and creative industries and the broad spectrum of talent that this country houses.