The support that Outback gave to the lesbian community in Cornwall was far beyond just a newsletter detailing events. It was a place to share your thoughts, feelings and ideas about identity and belonging, or even just a really good recipe. It was a place to share. This level of peer to peer support was invaluable, and from chatting to some of the women involved with Outback, it was considered a lifeline to finding other women like you. It really created a strong community of support.
Outback was consistent, in all 150 issues, in having crisis helplines published on the newsletter’s back page. This eventually grew into a greater ‘classifieds’ section, which shared places to go for LGBTQ+ friendly holidays, rooms to let, moving services and handy women. It really gave a sense that all of your household needs could be kept within the community. The existence of a ‘classifieds’ section definitely gives the impression that it was considered easier to hire other lesbians – you didn’t have to have the awkward (and potentially dangerous) ‘gay’ conversation with the house movers or a plumber, you could hire one of our own.
The ‘letters’ section of the Outback was always pages and pages in length. Before the advent of the internet, writing letters and issuing responses was a popular way of communicating ideas in magazines and newsletters – a precursor to the ‘online forum’.
One aspect of Outback that truly captures the zeitgeist of the time are the drawings and poetry found within the collection. A few of them are published below: