Franco Stevens is one of the 2023 inductees into the LGBTQ+ Journalists Hall of Fame. Frances “Franco” Stevens is a pioneering lesbian publisher, editor, and community leader. She founded Curve magazine (originally titled Deneuve) in 1990 in her personal mission to make queer women feel less alone. She took on this challenge at a time when few other lesbian publications existed, and many LGBTQ+ women did not feel visible within the broader gay community. Stevens and a team of volunteers launched the magazine’s first issue using money she won at the racetrack as she struggled to convince advertisers that lesbians were a viable market. The full-color, glossy mainstream lifestyle magazine covered national and international news stories, politics, celebrity interviews, style, travel, and trends oriented around the lesbian experience. Though Stevens sold Curve to Avalon Media in 2010 due to health reasons, she and her wife, Jen Rainin, repurchased it in 2021. The couple then donated it to the newly-created Curve Foundation, which aims to “resume the mission of Curve Magazine and continue to tell queer stories and fund queer women’s culture.” According to the foundation’s mission statement, it will “empower lesbians, queer women, trans people, and non-binary people to share our culture and our stories, connect with each other, and raise visibility.” Franco’s journey to found the magazine in the 90s and understand its importance today is documented in the 2021 film Ahead of the Curve. Stevens lives in San Francisco with her spouse and family.
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