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The Harper government dealt a low blow to Canada’s queer publications when it announced revisions to the aid-to-publishers budgets, part of the Canadian Periodical Fund, on Jan. 19th.

Small publications must have a total 5,000-copy annual paid circulation to be eligible for financial assistance, and publications like Fab Magazine don’t make the cut.

Queer mags were formerly exempt from minimum subscription requirements, but now only aboriginal, ethno-cultural and official language minority publications have a requirement of 2,500 paid copies.

Xtra reported on Jan. 26th that according to a Canadian Heritage spokesperson these titles are exempt because of their small size and business model obstacles: “On the other hand, GLBT titles serve a large group across Canada, and have demonstrated that they can reach large groups of readers.”

Broad readership or not, magazines like Fab are largely distribute for free (they sell less than five percent of their copies), and cuts to funding will make it difficult to stay that way.

Brett Taylor, publishing editor of Canadian queer mag, Outlooks, which barely makes the 5,000-copy limit, finds it ironic that magazines that need the support don’t have the revenue. And without that support, many queer magazines may not survive the purge.

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About the author

Adriana Rolston was the Director of Circulation and Advertising for the Summer 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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