Monday , 20 January 2020

UnDividingLines: LGBTI magazine of the Highlands and Islands

UnDividingLines title bannerThe Highlands and Islands of Scotland now have their first ever LGBTI+ magazine: UnDividingLines.

The Highlands and Islands make up one third of the national landmass, are 3 billion years old in parts, and offer a landscape that people travel from around the world to see. There may be the Loch Ness monster but there’s not a single LGBTI+ cafe, bar or nightclub to be found, anywhere.

UnDividingLines issue 1 coverThis lack of an established scene might be put down to a number of contributory factors, including geographical distance, the predominance of small rural communities, intimately interconnected social networks and, in some areas, the less-than-liberal attitudes that still hold sway. The implications for the LGBTI+ members of the Highlands, and of the islands that make up Shetland, Orkney and The Hebrides, can be social and emotional isolation, limited scope to share and learn from common experiences, or the need to hide sexuality or gender difference in ‘the closet’ or behind a facade of cisgendered heterosexuality. Too many LGBTI+ people move away from the area in search of a community within which a truer sense of belonging might be found.

Although there are already some well established groups in the area, the question remained: how to enable a readily accessible level of region-wide engagement, of voices meaningfully shared, to help develop a more organic sense of community? Well, there was one obvious solution, and with that the idea of the first Highlands and Islands LGBTI+ magazine was born.

UnDividingLines‘ founder and editor, David Downing, says: “The title was chosen to suggest the process of bridging divides, of blurring boundaries and distinctions between the different elements of the LGBTI+ community regardless of gender, sexuality, location, age, or in fact almost any type of divisive labelling. The allusion to Plato’s ‘Analogy of the Divided Line’ is also suggestive of recombining knowledge and opinion, which is one of the things the magazine aims to do.”

UDL 2To ensure it can involve and reach as many people as possible the magazine is produced only in electronic form. This means it can be produced and distributed entirely for free thereby disentangling it from financial restraints and the limitations of external politics, agendas and interference. As such it ensures that as many viewpoints, voices and interests of Highlands and Islands LGBTI+ people can be openly expressed and shared.

The pilot issue of UnDividingLines was published in October 2014 and received unanimous praise from its readers. By the time the second issue appeared, in March 2015, fronted by the internationally renowned porn actor Philipp Tanzer (aka Logan McCree), himself now a Highlander, copies were being requested from across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

As for the future: “I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and commitment the magazine has already received,” David says. “And the more LGBTI+ people I get to meet, from across the Highlands and Islands, the more I realise just how fascinating and inspiring we are as a community. It’s so rewarding being able to ensure that these stories are told and these voices are heard, not only within the Highlands and Islands themselves but nationally and internationally too. It seems this is just the beginning for UnDividingLines and those who read it, contribute to it and speak through it.”

These days there really do appear to be queer things going on in the Highlands and Islands.

David Downing

About UnDividingLines

UnDividingLines is the free LGBT+ magazine for the Scottish Highlands and Islands and contains articles, features and reviews submitted from across the region. Primarily aimed at helping build a more connected, supportive and energised local LGBT+ community, it also hopes to increase wider awareness of the interests and issues affecting LGBT+ people in the Highlands and Islands. To subscribe, to contribute, or for any further information, email:

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  1. kevinjohncrowe

    David deserves lots of credit for setting up this magazine. Not only does David work hard preparing, editing and distributing the magazine, but he is also determined that all LGBTIQ points of view get an airing. This allows debates to take place, debates that can help us all better understand issues.

    • David Downing

      Many thanks Kevin. The magazine, now and always, will remain a means of giving Highlanders and Islanders a voice on LGBTI+ issues. The relationship with KaleidoScot will also ensure these voices are heard nationally too. But the success of UnDividingLines is entirely creditable to those who write so engagingly for it and it is wonderful that we can share these views and insights with a wider audience.

  2. Philipp Tanzer interview was so well written. Philipp is a beautiful person, an inspiration to all, and a real gentleman. Thanks for publishing.

  3. UnDividingLines

    Thank you James. Philipp was a fascinating subject for an interview and is indeed totally engaging with his intelligent opinions and positive outlook. It was very important to let Philipp’s own voice come through and express his ideas fully to attempt to give an accurate, albeit brief, insight into who he is, and I am really pleased he too is happy with the result. I hope everyone who reads the interview also sees it as honest, inspiring and enjoyable.

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