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The Genuine Article: An Interview With Gay-Publishing Trailblazer Freeman Gunter

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The golden age of smut (Image via Mandate, circa 1979) Pre-COVID-19, I had the pleasure of speaking with Freeman Gunter, a man who came before me in a very specific way: He was the editor of the groundbreaking gay glossy Mandate and all of its “brother” publications 20 years before I worked for the same company — and for the same mercurial straight man, George Mavety, who died in 2001.

Gunter was a seminal figure in the early years of gay publishing just as it was becoming both more mainstream and more erotic.

Working first for the queer entertainment publication Michael’s Thing, he switched to Mandate at a time when it was moving over 100,000 copies a month, and attracting interviews with figures like Bette Midler and Mae West alongside

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