Queer Magazines in Romania
Romania in the nineties remained a hostile environment for nonheteronormative individuals, despite the relative openness after the fall of Communism. There was overall lack of information, which was an enduring aspect since Communism. One of the causes for such lack was the continuing criminalization of homosexuality under Article 200 of the Penal Code (Art. 200 P.C.). A few LGBTQ+ magazines, however, did appear to minimally counterbalanced tabloidization and oversexualization. Publications such as Prostitutia, Bordel, Occident, Gay 45 appeared that included queer content, dating ads, and sexual education, but unsurprisingly, they stopped their activity due to pressures from the authorities. Gay 45, with only two issues in 1993, attempted to fill the void. It largely consisted of translated articles from abroad or stories and testimonies of gay men who had been arrested under Art.200 P.C. While the magazine was for sale at various news and magazine kiosks, people were deterred from acquiring it due to fear, shame, and the fact that it was very expensive. At the time, Romania was transitioning from a planned economy to liberal capitalism, hence making the nineties a decade of economic despair. Art. 200 P.C. was still in vigour and simply buying it was considered an act of courage.
In fact, with the exception of Gay 45, media addressed to queer people in Romania in the nineties was largely published by heterosexuals eager for commercial gains. The Third Sex, a sensationalist magazine, was published by a mainstream media company that put on the market a hypersexualized content which worked against the LGBTQ+ community by reinforcing the stereotype that homosexuality was solely a matter of sexual preference. In times of transition to capitalism and the free market, the main goal was making money, by any means possible.