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HAN #1
We love queer mags

HAN #1

Continuing our Pride-inspired series in which we delve a little deeper into our favourite queer magazines, today Danielle shines a retrospective (strobe?) light on multidimensional archival platform, HÄN.

Having been eagerly summoned to the magCulture shop last summer, it was HÄN’s arrival that gave myself and the team the final push toward putting on March’s ‘We Love Queer Magazines’—an event created in direct response to the growing number of new and diverse LGBTQI+ magazines appearing before us.

As I told attendees at the WLQM event, it was the short but eloquent paragraph on HÄN’s neat, monochrome cover that first caught my attention. It presents the slim first edition as a ‘compilation of stories, images, poems and art, uncovering gender anarchy, sex, love, grandness, beauty, leather, queer spaces, memory and the transformation of community.’

Most poignantly is creative director Ella Boucht's raison d’être for HÄN as a physical space concerned with ‘the search for one’s identity, and the right to determine your own life and body. It’s about queerness as shapeshifting, as something hopeful, nourishing, open and radical.’

It was this line that spoke directly to my own relationship with identity, queerness, and living in London while navigating a post-Brexit, post-pandemic, Tory-led UK and yet, simultaneously, feeling more supported, elevated, and elated by the queer community around me than ever before.

Of course, it’s London in which HÄN and the community this first issue focuses on is based, acting as a ‘portal into the everyday lives’ of those featured. Alike No One and it’s coverage of Amsterdam’s queer nightlife, HÄN captures a tangible snapshot—as good, location-based magazines should—of the city’s ‘trans and gender nonconforming people, dykes and lesbians, butches, femmes and studs, queer daddies and babies, envy beauties and transmasc stunners, T4T bois and girls [and] gender warriors’ as they exist in the city today.

In terms of the physicality of the magazine, it’s largely greyscale throughout. Notably though, there are bursts of colour saved for illustrations and artworks including ‘Femme Visibility’ (2019) by Hayley Wall (above) and two works also exploring (trans)femme identity by Saati J Conran-McCormack (below). The subdued color scheme also contrasts with the association of LGBTQI+ culture and paraphernalia and the rainbow or, more specifically, the rainbow flag (particularly in corporate spaces).

This allows the larger-than-life personalities to demand attention in and of themselves. There is plenty of colour to be found within their words, stories and experiences of queer life in London.

Inside then, we’re introduced to the power of queer archives by Anastasiia Fedorova; we meet local celebrity drag king and BIG personality Prinx Silver who ‘shares their take on drag, gender, and why they still relate to dyke and butch identities as a transmasc non-binary person. Polycule Luca, Madeleine, Magda, and Paul talk through their experiences of ‘polyamory, transness, kink, and other staples of contemporary queer life’; plus, artists and creatives from around the city welcome us into their homes, studios, and day-to-day lives.


In this sense, HÄN both celebrates the power of the archive and knowingly becomes a part of that same tradition: ‘it connects queer past with queer futures’, serving, as it intended to, as a bridge between the two. This is further explored as part of their ongoing digital archive, which collects additional, contemporary queer paraphernalia together online.

Though plans for a second print issue are on hold for the foreseeable (funding independent magazines is rarely easy and queer makers often face additional obstacles in doing so) this first edition is both monochrome and evergreen and one we plan to keep on our shelves for as long as they are copies available. 

Creative director/curator Ella Boucht
Editor/co-creator Anastasia Federova
Art direction/design Ester Majibovski


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