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25 A of

years

Madonna’s

Like

Prayer

  • 30 YEARS OF

GAYTIMES

THE ORIGINAL GAY MAGAZINE

APRIL 2014 UK £4.30

JAMES

LOCK

TOWIE’s newest hunk loses his pants inside

EXCLUSIVE

Miss Piggy on marriage, money and making bacon

Final

Tales

Armistead Maupin’s goodbye to Anna Madrigal

Happy Tails
Happy
Tails

How dogs

turned

one gay

man’s life

around

QUESTION TIME

CAMERON, CLEGG, MILIBAND, & FARAGE ANSWER TO YOU!

GAY

MARRIAGE!

Your guide to

getting hitched

GAY

DIVORCE!

When the party’s

over ...

GAY

SWITCHBOARD

Dan Gillespie Sells talks charity

Foxes / PJ Brennan / Christina Perri / Jerry Mitchell / DWV / Michelle Visage

with this ring ...

[04/14]

Editor DARREN SCOTT

Assistant Editor LEE DALLOWAY Staff Writer RYAN BUTCHER Editorial Assistant BENJAMIN BUTTERWORTH Design & Art Direction MARK KING Style and Grooming LLOYD-SCOTT TYLER Music BOB HENDERSON Editor-at-large JOHN MARRS Columnists PJ BRENNAN, BENJAMIN COHEN, THE GUYLINER, EDD KIMBER, ALAN ROSENTHAL, PAUL THORN, MICHELLE VISAGE, MIKEY WALSH Contributors JOE MCCORMICK, MATT PEAKE, LUKE SMITH, TIM MITCHELL, MIKE HIRD, MILO WAKELIN, JUSTIN MYERS, TOM JONES, PERRY JUBY, LEE BINDING, ROBERT GERSHINSON, MARK SINGLETON, CHRIS HITCHINGS, FRAZER LOUGH, ZARRION WALKER, AARON GOLIGHTLY, MAMA MAKEUP Pug-at-large TOBY

Thanks to SARAH PEACOCK (Big Talent Group), ANDREI HARMSWORTH (Metro), GEMMA COX (Disney), BEN HOPKINS (Warner Bros), TESSA HENDERSON (Transworld), GEORGIE ROBINSON (Emma Holland PR), JANE CHAMBERLAIN (Cicada Communications), OLLIE CHARLES (Peccadillo Pictures), LUKE MORRISON (BSkyB), ANNEKA WAHLHAUS (Roche Communications), ALANA IRWIN (Clarion Communications), HARRY SEYMOUR (Marks

and Spencer), MICHELLE SMITH (Lemonaide PR), ROBYN DAVIS (Palm PR), JOE SATARI (FanClub PR), DENNIS SCHULZ (Bruno Gmünder), CHARLES DEAN (Islington Council), CHLOE MELICK (Inside/Out), DAVID CHARPENTIER and JAKE LEMMENES (Producer

CARMICHAEL (Choose Chicago), BOBBY BROWN (For

Fucking On Stage)

Production & Distribution Manager ALEXANDER SMITH Marketing & Advertising Designer LUKE BENJAMIN IT & Digital Management FERNANDO SAFONT Magazine Marketing Executive LLOYD PHILLIPS Management Accountant ARNAUD SEGUIN

GT Advertising Sales KEITH MCDONNELL

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ASH ALLIBHAI

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Escort Advertising Sales RAJ VALENTINO

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Editorial 020 7424 7400 Fax 020 7424 7401 Sales/Distribution 020 7424 7400 Fax 020 7424 7401 Editorial e-mail edit@gaytimes.co.uk Advertising e-mail advertising@gaytimes.co.uk Website gaytimes.co.uk Postal address GT, Spectrum House, Unit M, 32-34 Gordon House Road, London, NW5 1LP

Newstrade distribution: Conde Nast and National Magazine Distributors Limited, Unit 3, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE Tel: 01895 433 600 Newstrade enquiries: karen.donohoe@comag.co.uk

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Printed in the UK by: Wyndeham Group Disclaimer: All copyrights and trademarks are recognised

PUBLISHED BY MILLIVRES PROWLER LTD Non-executive Chairman CHRIS GRAHAM-BELL Managing Director SIMON TOPHAM Media & Marketing Director KIM WATSON Operations Director ROBERT HANWELL Financial Director ANTHONY MARTIN

[44]

© 2014 GAY TIMES All rights reserved ISSN: 0950-6101

The mention or appearance or likeness of any person or organisation in articles

or advertising in GAY TIMES is not to be taken as any indication of the sexual, social or political orientation of such persons or organisations. “Oh Bride of the

responsibility can be assumed for any unsolicited materials, and submission is construed as permission to publish without further correspondence and the fee payable (if any) at our usual rates. Advertisers are advised that all copy is their sole responsibility under the Trades Protections Act and must comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers.

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[ 28 ]

[ 32 ]

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NEXT ISSUE

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[contents]

[ 82 ]

[ 26 ]

 

fi rst

features

06

Fitty at the front

44

10

56

14

62

18

DWV

20

style

22

68

26

74

news

entertainment

28

82

Madonna

34

88

36

94

39

Ben Cohen

100

40

103

Geek

41

Nigel Farage

104

Tech

[68]

real life

107

108

 

111

114

The Dog Walker

120

121

122

125

HIV

travel

127

Letter from ...

128

Chicago

132

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Equal rights are something

that have been at the heart

of Gay Times for the 30

years we’ve been in print.

More, in fact, considering

we actually existed as HIM

magazine for ten years

before that. So it’s overwhelming to be at the helm

of such a historic title for such a historic change in

equal rights in the UK. And that’s equal marriage

(yes, we called it gay marriage on the cover – it’s

a better headline) for everyone. Well, almost

everyone, as we address in this very issue. Yes,

that’s the one you’re holding in your very hands.

We wouldn’t dream of charging you separately

to read about something that’s at the heart of

modern day gay life in 2014. And who thought

we’d ever get to say that – that it’s legally a part

of gay life in 2014. How far we’ve come in recent

years has been quite staggering. And you’ll see it

reflected in the pages of GT, as we will, of course,

be bringing these changes to the heart of the

world’s longest-running gay magazine. And what

better way to start by asking Britain’s leaders –

what’s next? Let me tell you, it was easier to get

Miss Piggy to answer questions. A lot of people

might be saying ‘look at what’s happening

abroad!’, and we do, we have, we will. Always.

Our columnist Ben Cohen addresses that in his

usual eloquent way this month – and I happen to

agree with him too. The fight doesn’t end because

of an excuse to buy a hat

...

Speaking of hats, I doff

mine to those of you that have been in touch to

congratulate us on our anniversary and new look,

it’s genuinely appreciated. Here’s to the next 30

years being as groundbreaking for equal rights.

Darren Scott @darren_scott

[ 22 ]

GT431 APR 2014

Cover image by Joe McCormick Grooming by Evan Huang

5

[04/14]

6

gaytimes.co.uk

[first]

LEFT TO RIGHT DAVID, MANU, COLTON AND STEPHEN

gaytimes.co.uk

Cupid, shoot that arrow If there’s one thing we love more than a superhero in his skin-tight lycra, it’s a superhero out of his skin-tight lycra. Let’s not pretend that Sky 1’s Arrow isn’t beloved by many a gay for the shirtless wonderment of Stephen Amell, Colton Haynes, David Ramsey and Manu Bennett. And, seemingly, anyone else that appears in it. We’ve not ruled out John Barrowman and Alex Kingston yet. Did we mention Colton Haynes? Give him a Google. You’re welcome.

Arrow is on Sky 1 HD, Thursdays, and on the move with Sky Go

7

WORDS BOB HENDERSON

[first]

[04/14]

Christina Perri

396,114,697 viewers can’t be wrong ...

“Your maths will be better than mine, I’m

a musician, I don’t do math…” Christina

Perri tells us as we try and do the sums.

With 400 million YouTube views in sight,

we’ve concluded that the emotional

singer songwriter and US balladeer du

jour must have racked up LIFETIMES

worth of pop video watching.

“Woah! That’s so trippy. I’d feel really

bad for the person who spent their whole

life watching my videos. Oy oy oy. I’ve

never thought about it that way, that’s

really crazy.” Though Perri’s whole

career can be marked with figures

and dates. We share an anecdote with

Christina we’d heard in the pub the night

before; that it takes five years to become

an overnight success.

“I think it’s really true about the five

year thing,” she says, “I definitely hit

it overnight in America, I felt like I was

8

Cinderella. At 8pm, June 30th 2010, my

whole life changed. That afternoon I

was waitressing, that evening I quit my

job, I flew to New York City the next day,

I signed a record deal 21 days later.”

And the rest is pop history. From the

moment her song Jar of Hearts was used

on So You Think You Can Dance?, all

the hard work and songwriting from the

age of 15 paid off. There came countless

TV appearances, a deal with Atlantic

Records, 70 tattoos, a Christmas album,

four penguin pillows, the Twilight

Soundtrack, and 27 months of nine tours.

And now, finally, album number two.

It’s called Head or Heart, and it’s

nowhere near as bleak as her debut.

“Album one was pretty much a breakup

album,” she says, “pretty much about the

same guy. Album two, I’ve captured more

dynamics in my real life. It covers way

more ground than the first one, it’s a little

less melancholy for sure. But don’t worry,

  • I have the really tragic stuff too. Always.” And if a cheery duet with Ed Sheeran

wasn’t enough, there are some bona

fide gay remixes on the way after

divine inspiration struck her during a

SoulCycle work out (basically a spin

class to EDM). Oh, of course she loves

the gays, she grew up in Philadelphia

with two hairdressing parents. “I had

male gay best friends from when I was a

tiny girl – so I loved the gay community

without even knowing it, my whole life.

  • I grew up understanding there was no

difference, so that’s a nod to my parents

and how I was raised.”

It gets better. “Sometimes I feel like a

gay man inside for how much I love Cher.

So I just appreciate and love that whole

culture…” Amen.

Head or Heart is out 31 March on Atlantic Records, christinaperri.com @christinaperri

gaytimes.co.uk

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[first]

[04/14]

GT’s Easter Joy

OR we could just run with the news that RuPaul is releasing a chocolate bar, go one step further and make our very own RuPaul’s Drag Race Easter egg! Why? Why not. Easter’s camp too you know…

Pig out

Chocolate, but

Percy Pig Egg, £6, 215g,

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Posh nosh

The Dulce De Leche

Speckled Egg,

£12, 300g,

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MINDED

sights and sounds

[04/14]

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

New York photographer Braden Summers has travelled the world taking “dreamy illustrations of what open expressions of love could look like in a future, more accepting time”. His goal is to showcase images of progress and equality around the world, and push large corporations to create more positive images of same-sex relationships in advertising campaigns. He’s already raised $23,000 through Kickstarter and is gaining attention from media outlets

worldwide. bradensummers.com/menu/all-love-is-equal/

It was on Suede’s Pantomime

Horse when Brett Anderson

asked us – had we ever tried

it “that” way? For an entire

generation who liked things on

the alternative side, Suede were

a rock and roll band fuelled by

sexual adrenaline and nihilist

rebellion. But blurring the lines of

sexuality aside, Suede have also

spent the last 22 years cementing

themselves as one of the best

singles bands Britain has ever

12

produced. And from 14 April,

2,000 lucky fans will get their

hands on one mammoth collection

of each of their 24 singles, dating

from 1992 to 2013. There are

1,000 copies each of both CD

and 7” single box sets, including

classics like androgynous anthem

The Beautiful Ones and the

suburban decadence of Animal

Nitrate. Visit myplaydirect.com/

suede and pre-order to get your

hands on a copy now.

gaytimes.co.uk

[first]

Want

Wang

The limited edition

 

Dr Dre collection

on the classic

Beats Pill that can

ultra-lightweight

UrBeats (which

free cord…) and

a reimagining of the classic Studios

one Wang, we want all of them. From £119.95,

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From 1 April

2 April

From 9 April

For one night only

Boy George returns

Jean Paul Gaultier

DATE

himself, Justin Tim-

is one of the most

all the glitz and

a 10-date UK tour.

Following a sell-out

iconic names

 

glamour of Las

in fashion and

Vegas as Elton

fragrance, and he

and decades, and

gets his dues in The

Dollar Piano gig airs

new release This Is

Wireless Festival

tion of Othello at the

Leicester Square

Fashion World of

in cinemas all over

last summer, he hits

Jean Paul Gaultier,

the UK. Now where

off a nationwide

EastEnder James

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to the French de-

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signer, in London.

com

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13

column

[mikey walsh]

[first]

So who wants to

tough. Not only did we have family

get married? I DO!

booked to fly over for that time,

First off, because I’m

but my husband’s work visa

a big old sap of a romantic. And

secondly, because I’m fucking

lucky enough to be allowed to!

Well… after I get divorced anyway.

That’s right, I’m a gay divorcee

and it’s a royal pain in the ass!

It was 2009 when my ‘husband’

and I were civil partnered. We

chose to marry at a town hall, which

had just kicked up a massive fuss

in the news because some bigoted

bitch registrar publicly refused to

perform any gay civil partnerships

in her establishment. And get this –

her main wedding room was where

Culture Club’s Do You Really Want

To Hurt Me video was shot… What a

WASTE of gay history space.

After several days of very long

waits on phone lines, we were

informed that – regardless of

the current issue – we were only

allowed to marry in a borough we

both lived in, and would have to

move to another part of London if

we wanted to get married at the

time we had wanted. All because of

one bigoted old trout.

Holding out was going to be very

(he was an Aussie) had also ran

out, meaning he was unable to

legally work at all until he got his

citizenship. So I, being a good

husband-to-be, was working

enough hours for both of us at

the local pub, as well as trying to

finish my first book with a hideous

deadline the publishers had given.

Eventually the evil registrar

was replaced. But not before she

swore that same sex marriage was

an abomination and would bring

and end to the civilised world. I

know, right? The SHADE of it all!

Sorry, I’ve been watching LOADS

of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so you

must excuse my new drag words.

Anyway, after some hideous suit

fittings, a party venue that got shut

down and my future mother-in-law

going all Maleficent on our asses,

wishing us nothing but DOOM, we

finally got civil partnered.

And the day turned out wonderful.

We weren’t allowed to walk down

the isle to Like A Prayer (by law,

any mention of God or Jesus was

not permitted at a gay wedding),

There

are far

too many

who’d

sooner

run for

their lives

than truly

risk their

heart for

someone.

Love is

about give

and take.

Many

people

forget that

@thatbloodymikey

14

but at the last minute we replaced

it with Time After Time. All in all,

with so many wonderful friends

and family, it turned out to be a

dream wedding. And I, a usual

rock-faced Romany, cried for

most of the day. Partly through

exhaustion, slightly from disbelief

that I’d finally landed a keeper

and, secretly, through relief that

I’d never have to date another

dastardly dickhead ever again.

Little did I know…

The curse of old mother-in-law

came to pass, and my husband

left me to move back to Australia

within a year. And just as I

actually started to get along with

his mum too! Oh, what a world,

what a world.

One thing I did learn, though,

was that a certificate actually

means sweet FA when it comes to

marriage. An old man once said

to me, ‘If they don’t make you

feel dirty, it ain’t never gonna

work’. I’d agree to some extent.

But I’d also add that laughter is

a must. And the knowledge that

you can ALWAYS rely on and

trust each other.

You won’t be ripping each other’s

clothes off forever, like Carrie

Bradshaw and Big would have you

believe. A relationship expands

and changes as time goes on, and

you become family. And this is the

most incredible part of it.

There are far too many who’d

sooner run for their lives than

truly risk their heart for someone.

Love is about give and take. Many

people forget that – and take for

granted those who make the effort.

My husband had his reasons to

leave. And, in hindsight, to free

me was the best thing he could’ve

done for us. A piece of legal

paper won’t keep you in love if

it’s not right.

Who knows, maybe one day

I will again… But better! I may

even go for Liz Taylor’s

record. Thirty-one

husbands, wasn’t it?

gaytimes.co.uk

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[first]

[04/14]

Hello, sailor! Written by Liam Rudden and inspired by the life and works of Jean Genet, Thief is a dark, explosive new play, not for the easily offended, we’re told. We’re in!

Thief premieres at the Brighton Fringe from 13-18 May, brightonfringe.org, and will also run at Edinburgh Fringe, playthief.com, @playthief

knockout it’s a

Gays, grab your silk shorts

and robes, because Paris-based

dance company Campagnie Käfig

are hitting the UK with their new

show Boxe Boxe, and it looks like

they’ll be packing a punch or two.

With eight exceptional dancers

showcasing martial arts, street and

contemporary-inspired routines,

this show is more than just a little

rough and tumble; highlighting the

duality of boxing as a sport, with its

equal-parts elegance and brutal-

ity. With music from the Debussy

String Quarter playing the likes of

Schubert and Philip Glass (that’s

classical, for you cultured types),

and, y’know, hot men, Campagnie

Käfig really do create a unique ex-

perience for all the senses. In your

corners please. Ding ding.

Boxe Boxe will be playing at the May-

April. Tickets and more information are

Box of delights If you like to

ahem – receive, you’ll love these personalised packs to keep your beauty (and gayness) preserved. Just answer a few simple questions and a ‘gay stylist team’ will match you up with stuff that’ll be right up your street, once a month. Goodies for your hair, skin and even

underwear nextgaything.com

16

gaytimes.co.uk

DWV

If you haven’t experienced tasty trio Detox iCunt, Willam Belli and Vicky Vox, you must have been hiding under a rock with glitter in your ears. Better known as DWV, we caught up with the gurls on their recent whirlwind visit to London, and we haven’t stopped giggling since

We’re in a delightfully cut price

Downton Abbey-esque bed

and breakfast in London’s leafy

Hampstead, waiting for three jet-

lagged drags to slip into something

less comfortable. Despite a long

flight and a breakneck schedule of

gigs and promotion, DWV are in

frighteningly good spirits.

Naturally, RuPaul’s Drag Race fans

will recognise former contestants

Willam and Detox. Willam was

famously disqualified from the

show’s fourth season for breaking

the rules of the queen quarantine

the contestants live in – by inviting

his boyfriend over for “conjugal

18

visits”. Soon after, Willam met

fifth season contestant Detox,

“drag daughter” Vicky and DWV,

a delicious take on 90s RnB girl

groups, was born.

The ladies collectively made a

name for themselves with protest

song Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A), a

loving homage to Wilson Phillips’

Hold On, with a bit of TLC’s

Waterfalls thrown in courtesy

of Detox’s rap (“I’m a black girl

at heart,” he coos). It’s a pop at

bible-thumping US fast food chain

Chick-fil-A, who donated millions

to political organisations that

oppose LGBT rights, and a catchy-

gaytimes.co.uk

[first]

WORDS

LEE DALLOWAY

PHOTOS

GREG BAILEY

STYLING

LUKE ALEX TAYLOR

HAIR

SHIORI TAKAHASHI

JOSEPH HARWOOD

FUR COAT BY CHRISTIAN COWAN-SANLUIS,

EARRINGS BY

FINCHITTIDA FINCH,

COAT BY CHRISTIAN COWAN-SANLUIS

JEWELLERY BY MAWI

gaytimes.co.uk

as-hell song in its own right. The

follow-up, Boy Is A Bottom – a rude

twist on Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire –

catapulted the girls to international

interweb stardom. As Willam says,

“Chick-fil-A is very American, but

bottoms are international!”

Willam doesn’t hold back when

revealing the inspiration for Boy

Is A Bottom. “I pretty much wrote

it after a really bad threeway,” he

confesses. “My boyfriend and I

were hooking up with a guy, and

the first two times he kept saying

he was versatile and nothing

happened… at least with me.

The third time, I left the room to

answer my phone while him and

my boyfriend were fucking. I come

back and they’re still going at it.

Rude! So, I go downstairs and do

the international sign for ‘get the

fuck out’, which is vacuuming. By

the time I’d done the first floor of

my house, the song was written

in my head. To this day, the guy

doesn’t know it’s about him.”

After what was probably the

world’s first love letter to the

sexually passive, more gems

followed, such as the Amanda

Bynes/Robin Thicke spoof Blurred

Bynes. The ladies with a lil’ extra

continue to watch their fame grow

around the world, but what do

they love about the UK? “The boys

here are completely my type,”

says Detox. “Everyone’s tall and

gorgeous; twinky, very English with

pale skin. Gingers everywhere!

Foreskin! We’re whores…” Willam

also reveals his delightfully

geeky obsession with the London

Underground, where Vicky fell

into the tourist trap of using the

never-ending spiral staircase

instead of the lifts and escalators.

“I just kept going ‘round and

around!” she shrieks. “I’m like, am

I on camera?”. “The sign said 375

steps!” exclaims Willam. “I thought

it was a joke!” shoots back Vicky

with a laugh.

There’s a clear mutual respect

between the trio and everyone

has a role to play. Willam is the

business brain, Detox is the sass

and Vicky is the heart. Willam

has the most star-studded back

catalogue of work, with parts in

Glee, CSI and a five-episode stint

in Nip/Tuck, where he worked

with TV savant Ryan Murphy. “That

was fantastic, I learned a lot”. He

also trod the boards in Rock of

Ages, appeared in Rihanna’s S&M

video and was once in the same

band as American Idol’s Adam

Lambert. Willam also promises

his fab online series Willam’s

Beatdown, which stopped due to

funding issues, will return. “They

said it cost five grand per episode

to make. A YouTube green screen

show with three people and me

writing the jokes myself!” scoffs

Willam. “It’s back as Billam’s

Weatdown in March.”

Detox has been a fixture of the

queen/cabaret scene since he was

just 16. “I was pretty much brought

up by trannies and club kids, it’s a

huge part of my drag influences.”

Those Detox met at this time

became a source of support when

his parents weren’t so enamoured

by his career choice.

“At first my parents were hesitant

about it, but I was emancipated

at 15 and lived with my sister,

who was a huge inspiration. She

taught me to blossom, flourish

and to be an individual, so I really

never cared what my parents

thought. Mum hated it, but now I’m

successful and have a career, she’s

my biggest fan.”

Detox has cemented his fame by

appearing in videos for Rihanna

and Ke$ha, on top of being one

of Drag Race’s most original and

outspoken characters. Although he

also faced accusations of bullying

another contestant. “People

thought I was in a clique, but it

never was”, says Detox. “I was

friends with Alaska and Roxxxy

for years. We were the smokers. It

was just kind of stupid and silly.”

Detox also reiterates that “reality

television” often doesn’t live up

to its name. “We were definitely

at the mercy of the editors, but,

whatever, you sign up for that.”

In the real world, Detox is fun,

friendly, with a naughty sense

of humour and a real flair for

creativity. Did you see him arrive

at a RuPaul’s Drag Race reunion

as a walking black and white

photograph? Amazing! Detox

admits, however, he’s looking

forward to some down time. “I’ve

been touring for, like, three years

now, I just wanna take a nap.

Willam’s like, ‘lets do some more

shit’ and I’m all, ‘why don’t we just

sit down for a minute!’” he laughs.

Meanwhile, Vicky, the only non-

Drag Race contestant of the group,

is relatively new to the queen

game, rocking the cock in a frock

shtick for just a couple of years.

“I was a performer my whole

life,” says the warm and down-to-

earth Vicky. “I had a band, and I

was a session singer while I was in

school. Then came this gig where

the promoter changed, the venue

changed and everything fell to

pieces. They called were like, ‘OK,

if you don’t want to lose the money

you have to, one, lose the band

and, two, can you host it in drag?’

I’d never thought about that before

but I wasn’t losing that money, so I

agreed. And then I never stopped

working!”

Vicky’s thankful. Not just for a

supportive family, but also that he

gets to provide entertainment and

encouragement for a large number

of people. “I’m so lucky, because

when I first started drag my mum

would take me shopping and be

like ‘does Vicky need anything?’

he laughs. “Although, I hate drag.”

…say what? “No, I hate it. I don’t

enjoy wearing heels, I don’t enjoy

wearing wigs, I can’t stand putting

makeup on. But I have fun. I have

fans that say, ‘you inspired me’ or

‘you’ve saved my life’. And, you

know what, if it wasn’t for them, I

probably wouldn’t still be around.

19

[first]

drag

[04/14]

Question

Everyday that makes me go ‘OK,

get it together, get out there.’ It

boggles my mind but that’s why I

How do current gay rights issues in Russia compare to

keep doing it.”

in the 80s/90s in

2013 was certainly DWV’s year –

a divalicious tornado that included

the ladies becoming the face of

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics,

performing at the Vienna Ball in

front of 45,000 people, including

Bill Clinton, an epic turn modelling

for the Marco Marco fashion show

and rounding out the year with an

original festive composition, That

Christmas Song.

We’ll leave the last words to

Willam on what he thinks makes

DWV successful: “We love each

other. I get to travel the world with

my girls, form a little supergroup

and have some fun. It doesn’t get

much better than that.”

the US? From @MrBrianLloyd

Answer

So, here we are

daggers into their unsuspecting

bitches, three weeks

drag souls. I can say this though,

into season six of

those queens are some bad ass

RuPaul’s Drag Race. Didn’t I tell

you how amazing this new batch

of queens would be? Talk to me,

who are you falling in love with

and who really grinds your gears?

Am I living up to my reputation as

the bitchiest judge of all? There’s

bitches standing in those heels

for as long as they do. Also, if you

think my comments are harsh at

times, you should hear the ones

that are edited out. Someone has

to tell those queens the real T.

I’m counting down the days until

 

nothing quite like the sound

I get over to see you in fair old

of a gaggle of drag queens – a

Blighty. The confirmed dates to

draggle – making their way to the

come play with me thus far are:

back of the runway. Drag Race

Glasgow on 17 May, Manchester

Fun Fact: the elimination days are

on 24 May and London on 29 May.

usually the longest days to shoot,

There are more being planned out

lasting up to 12 hours sometimes,

as we speak. So, how do my UK

including hair and makeup

Glitterazzi feel about cabaret and

dragging time! Now, some of you

comedy? I’ve got it for you and I’m

may know how it feels to spend an

going to give it to you hard. As any

hour or three out for some drinks

self-respecting top should. Do you

and a pub quiz in a high heel, but

have any favourite tunes you’d like

after you get to hours six, seven

to hear me do? If so, let me know

and beyond, those heels feel

on Twitter, as I’m on there waaaay

like nails digging into your feet

too often. It’s @michellevisage,

and they better not even THINK

and you can also

of kicking them off! The faces I

come and visit me at

pull when they try that are like

michellevisage.com!

20

gaytimes.co.uk

 

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DAN

GILLESPIE SELLS

He might look like the docile pop prince next

door, but Dan Gillespie Sells is angry. Really

The handsomely boyish frontman of

The Feeling is ready to stand shoulder to

shoulder with the gays of Russia after their

existence was highlighted by the Sochi Winter

anti-gay laws and rhetoric.

Now, as he supports the 40 year milestone

of the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

here on our shores and turns his attention to

it?

at school and our language is so fucking

happening in Russia and other places and you

the moment.

22

bigots, because they start with someone

like that who they can use as a scapegoat,

transgender want to dress differently. What

thing. This is a thing about freedom of

speech. Anyone who has any kind of liberal

freely, you need to keep an eye on us

minorities are easy targets and then they

struggling to come out?

grew up with gay parents and I know it can

relationship for stability.

do it?

kids?

to work hard and be sure. It has to be planned

accident with us. We put a lot of thought into

it. Marriage would be a nice part of that.

Dan Gillespie Sells is supporting 40 years of the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. To help the

need them most, go to LLGS.org.uk or follow them

on Twitter, @gayswitchboard

gaytimes.co.uk

[first]

gaytimes.co.uk

23

[04/14]

New kid on

the block

Sam Smith

is taking the

world – and

the charts

– by storm.

Here are

our top five

reasons why

the singer

is the one

to watch

in 2014

[01]

----------

[02]

----------

[03]

----------

[04]

----------

[05]

----------

Mum’s the word We all love our mums, right? The strong, powerful women that raised us, support us – and still lend the odd tenner when we’re a bit strapped before payday. Now you can tell your mum exactly why you love her, and through some wonderfully kitsch 60s typography. Just come up with 15 phrases about your Supermum, and online art wizards More Than Words will do the rest. Perfect for Mother’s Day. What do you mean you don’t know when it is? 30 March. Put it in

your diary – now!

24

[first]

gaytimes.co.uk

bursting with pride

Call us ol’ softies, but

we love Pride season. The

community, and proves that

it’s only the hats, glitter and

sense of pageantry and

makeup that separate us from

community… OK, and it might

have something to do with

being let off our leash and

wearing something completely

the Eltons and the Gagas.

“The leather puppies were

literally queuing up,” says

Robert, “they loved all the

outrageous. A leather

studded mask, though, isn’t

just something for cavorting

around the bedroom, if

you’re into that kinda thing.

It’s symbolic of the many

diverse sub-groups within

our community. And they’ve

attention, all bouncy and

barking as they waited.

“When I completed this

project, the images were so

strong and the feedback so

great it made sense to turn

the series into my first solo

exhibition.”

all been captured perfectly

in photographer Robert

Gershinson’s new exhibition

And thankfully, he did;

beautifully demonstrating that

there are many, many colours

– Pride.

Made up of portraits taken

on the morning of last year’s

London Community Pride,

the exhibition shows the

diversity of the LGBTQI

that make up our rainbow.

Check it out.

Pride: A Photography Exhibition runs from 14 April until 30 May at Reading Room gallery in Soho, London, readingroom.com, @RobbyPhotoVideo

25

She’s performed with (and outshone) more stars than you’d pass on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The leading lady in Muppets Most Wanted, she’s not only an actress, she’s also a singer, a magazine editor, a designer, and lover of amphibians – well, one in particular. Ladies, gentlemen and flamboyant gentlemen, we give you the legendary Miss Piggy!

WORDS DARREN SCOTT

26

gaytimes.co.uk

[fi rst]

gaytimes.co.uk

If you could be any human, what

human would you be and why?

When I can be moi, why would I

possibly want to be a mere human? But

I’d certainly take a shelf full of Meryl

Streep’s Oscars if you’re offering.

What song do you like to get

freaky to? Muskrat Love. I have no

idea why, but this one always gets

Kermie and moi out on the dance

floor letting our freak flag fly.

If someone wrote an autobiography

about you, what should the title

be? “Call Me Moi!: The Kiss and Kiss

and Kiss and Tell and Kiss Some More

Story of the World’s Most Powerful

Diva: Volume I”

Have you ever stolen anything? Just

moi’s frog’s heart. The rest of the stuff,

I charge.

What would you choose as your last

meal? A never-ending all-you-can-

eat buffet. You’re not getting rid of me

that easy, buster.

Which celebrities would you most

like to be your parents and why?

Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates. Her, for

the looks, him for everything else.

Isn’t interspecies dating wrong

and against Mother Nature? Look,

if Mother Nature doesn’t want to date

outside her species, that’s fine with me.

But I believe that love between a pig

and frog is beautiful, natural… and hot.

Should you really be chasing after

a frog like that, though? …At your

age. Moi’s age? Do you have a death

wish? I’m 23-ish, and don’t you forget

it. And you should never ever think

that moi has to go “chasing” after

Kermit. He merely plays hard-to-get;

in truth, we’re inseparable – except

when I’m seeing other people.

If you could be a superhero, what

superpower would you have and

why? I’m already a diva, with the

power to throw tantrums, hurl insults,

and make outrageous demands.

Additional superpowers would be

redundant, don’t vous think?

When you go on holiday, what do

you pack in your case? Case? Surely

you jest! I travel with an entourage,

each of whom is responsible for one

aspect of my essentials – wardrobe,

hair, shoes, accessories, makeup, more

shoes, jewellery, more shoes, more

jewellery… etcetera. If I can’t take it

with me, I don’t go.

What do you think of people on

Twitter always asking for people

to bring them bacon? If you keep

asking me inappropriate questions

like this, I will find you and then

you’ll see what getting “freaky” is

all about.

If you could go back to any time

period in history, which one would

you visit and why? I’d go back to see

Marie Antoinette and find out if the

cake really was that good.

If you could have dinner with

anyone alive or dead, who would

it be and why? I’d have dinner with

someone alive. Dinner with someone

dead is dreadfully boring, as I’ve

discovered at assorted dull Hollywood

parties. Who? Kermie, of course. And

if he’s not available, I’ve got George

Clooney, Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe

on speed dial. Why? Sweetie, if you

gotta ask, I can’t help you.

What’s your favourite cocktail? Moi

doesn’t imbibe… but if you’re buying,

I’ll take a case of Cristal.

Garden gnomes? Tacky or joyous?

It depends on who they’re wearing.

Couture is everything!

If aliens landed and offered you any

position you wanted on their planet,

what position would you want? I’d

want to be royalty, of course… but only

if I don’t have to wear that weird make-

up like Queen Amidala.

You worked at Vogue – what’s your

advice for magazine editors? If you

want to sell magazines, put moi on the

cover. Works everytime.

Madonna, Kylie, RuPaul, Eartha

– who did the best version of Santa

Baby? You forgot to mention moi’s

version of Santa Baby, which was

recently chosen “best ever” by some

of my closest friends. However, after

that, I have to go with the original, the

lovely Miss Eartha Kitt. Grrr.

It goes without saying, you’re a gay

icon. What do you think of your gay

fan base? I am? That’s fabulous! Well,

if I’m your icon, then I love you all. You

have fantastique taste! So I say to my

fans: Be yourself. Celebrate life and stay

the way you are. Oh, and, of course, as

  • I say to all my many fan bases – go see

my new movie Muppets Most Wanted.

What do you think about gay

marriage? I’m still working on

interspecies marriage right now. One

issue at a time, okay?

Snog, marry, avoid; Gonzo, Fozzie

Bear, Sam the Eagle? To moi, that’s

a triple avoid. But I’m sure there’s

someone out there for all of them.

  • I just don’t want to know about it

when it happens.

What do you think of Lady Gaga? Is

it safe to say she’s ripped off your

style a bit over the years…? It’s true

that Lady Gaga was inspired by moi

and moi’s style, but then again, who

hasn’t been influenced by me? After

all, that’s what being an icon is all

about. (I know. I looked it up online.)

When we first met, things were a bit

tense, but once I realised she and

  • I shared so much in terms of talent

and appeal – and that we could swap

wardrobes – we quickly became BFF.

Who would you like to see star

as yourself in a movie based on

your life? Asides from yourself,

of course. Either Nicole Kidman,

Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Meryl

Streep or Clint Eastwood. There’s a

little bit of moi in all of them.

How can you tell if you’re in love?

When you start dancing all freaky to

Muskrat Love.

What’s the best piece of advice

someone ever gave you? If you don’t

carry money, someone else will pay.

So, tell us – what is it that makes

Kermit so special? How did you

know he was the one? Kermit is moi’s

soul mate. He completes moi. He had

me at “hi ho”. Those skinny arms and

legs, that adorable collar thingy, those

big goggly eyeballs, put them all

together and he’s the closest thing to

perfection this side of moi.

Muppets Most Wanted is in cinemas 28 March, @RealMissPiggy, @TheMuppets, @Disney_UK

27

Prime Minister David Cameron on the monumental introduction of same-sex marriages

“While the fight for equality goes on, it’s important to celebrate when progress has been made. As we see the first same-sex marriages we can look back and marvel at what has changed. Fifty years ago homosexuality was a criminal offence, so we have come a long way quickly.”

28

gaytimes.co.uk

WORDS BENJAMIN BUTTERWORTH

[news]

gaytimes.co.uk

Four years ago, David Cameron became the British Prime Minister. A great deal of his time since has been spent changing the law to allow same- sex couples to marry, something he felt personally committed to. But his party was hesitant, and most Conservative MPs ended up being against the change.

FROM THE OUTSET, CAMERON

has put himself forward as a

modernising, moderate choice – a

‘compassionate conservative’.

The blue torch-wielding images

of Margaret Thatcher have been

resigned to the past, in appearance

at least. David Cameron is a leader

who wants to be seen as at ease with

modern Britain – and that includes

gay and lesbian voters. But he didn’t

get into power on his own. It took the

Liberal Democrats – traditionally

more supportive of gay rights – to

put him there.

But if he is to serve a second term,

this time with just the agenda of Tory

MPs, can he be trusted to keep our

equality as a high priority?

On the historic advent of same-

sex marriage coming to pass, GT

wanted to reach out to the leaders

of the main political parties, and

task them with answering questions

suggested by you lot.

As always, the best laid plans of

mice and gays often go awry, and

with the breaking international

crisis in Ukraine, the Prime Minister

had to pull out at the 11th hour. We

suppose that’s another one we can

blame on Putin.

He did, however, find the time to

write some words for you, the GT

readers, on his own opinions of the

state of LGBT equality in Britain. And

hey, there aren’t many magazines –

gay or straight – who get exclusive

access to a serving Prime Minister.

This is what he had to say…

with anti-bullying organisations to

  • ---------- make sure this sort of behaviour is

For me it was summed up by a

mum in my constituency who said

“I’ve got a straight son and a gay

daughter. Now I know I’m going

to be able to go to both of their

weddings, and that makes me really

happy”. It isn’t every day someone

tells me something like that – and it

reinforces that what we’ve done on

same-sex marriage says something

positive about the country we are,

the respect we have for each other

and the values that are important to

us. Of course there are details still

being worked on – such as when

civil partnerships can be converted

into a marriage – but it’s important

that from 29 March the love people

have for each other will not be

divided by law.

The heart of this issue is this:

equality matters. People should

be valued for who they are

and what they contribute. It’s a

person’s character that matters.

Their sexual orientation should be

neither here nor there. We want

people to achieve their maximum

potential, whether as a world-

leading scientist, an entrepreneur

or even Prime Minister, because

it is a person’s ability to do the

job that counts. I’m proud to be

PM of the country judged to be

the best place to live in Europe if

you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or

trans – and the government I lead is

doing everything possible to fight

prejudice where it remains.

In schools, we are doing all we can

to help children and young people

who might be being bullied on

account of their sexuality. Maybe they

are uncertain about their sexuality;

maybe they have come out as gay

and are being treated differently or

appallingly by their peers – either

way, we’re holding schools to account

through Ofsted for how well they

tackle this bullying, including a

school’s effectiveness in dealing

with derogatory and discriminatory

language. We’re also working closely

tackled on the ground.

We’re working to break down

barriers in sport, too. People

should be able to excel in sport

regardless of their sexuality – but

we know how hard it’s been. That’s

why the government introduced

a charter against homophobia

and transphobia in sport. This

was an important step as it forced

those signing up – the sports’

governing bodies and clubs – to

consider the culture in their sport

and the action that needed to be

taken. And the world of sport is

making slow progress. We have

seen the enormously positive

reaction to people like Thomas

Hitzlsperger and Gareth Thomas

being open about their sexuality,

and hopefully that will encourage

others to be more open too. But we

need more role models, straight

and gay, to encourage the best

behaviour and clubs must tackle

problems on the terraces.

Abroad, we’re seeing terrible

persecution and discrimination

taking place and, again, we must

speak out. I’m determined that the

British government challenges other

countries where outright persecution

of gay people takes place, and in

recent weeks we’ve done just that –

making clear the strength of feeling

in the UK to governments in Russia

and Uganda. Where there is cruelty

and prejudice we should always

make a stand.

We are a country where the

values of marriage – commitment,

responsibility, stability – are

available to all; a place where

people are able to choose the

person they wish to spend their

life with and have that bond

recognised. Of course, none of us

can be complacent and collectively

we need to work together day-in,

day-out to challenge homophobic

behaviour and attitudes in order to

make the future even better for our

children and grandchildren.

29

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on whether or not the public would be accepting of a gay person as PM

“Yes and why not? Being gay doesn’t affect how you work, how you interact with people or how you make decisions. I’m confident that the British people would judge him or her on their ability to lead and be a good Prime Minister and not on who they choose to share their life with.”

30

gaytimes.co.uk

WORDS BENJAMIN BUTTERWORTH

[news]

gaytimes.co.uk

The last time a liberal party had their own government in the UK was May 1915, almost a century ago. Except for a brief pact in the late 70s, no liberal politician has held serious power since. That was until Nick Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister in 2010. Neither Labour nor the Tories secured enough MPs to form their own government.

ON TO THE SCENE CAME NICK

Clegg, and the highly contentious

business of coalition government.

Nick Clegg has had to compromise

on a host of policies that were in

his party’s manifesto while in the

coalition. If Clegg were to play a

role in another government, can we

trust him to keep our rights secure?

TheyWorkForYou.com rates

Nick Clegg’s voting record on gay

equality as ‘moderately for’. He

voted for same-sex marriage, for

reforming human fertilisation laws

to forgo the need for a father, and he

supported the Equality Act. He has

been absent from some of the votes

on these measures, which would

explain why his ranking isn’t higher.

That’s probably what comes with

being Deputy PM, though.

There’s only one way to know

exactly where he stands though,

and that’s to ask the man himself. In

a gay press exclusive, Nick Clegg

answers your questions.

There needs to be a concerted effort

from everyone to get to grips with

this, particularly local councils, who

now have both the power and budget

to tackle the health problems that

affect their communities in England.

The government continues to fund

the important work the Terrence

Higgins Trust is doing to help tackle

two of the most at-risk groups of HIV;

gay men and African communities.

Do you believe that gender re-

assignment surgery should be

available on the NHS, equally,

wherever you are in the country?

Yes I do. And since last year

we have been working with the

transgendered community to

produce a single and consistent

policy, which will be finalised by

later this year.

Given the high rates of mental

health problems among LGBT

youth, what more do you think the

government should be doing to

help? This is a very important issue

for me. Research suggests people

who are lesbian, gay and bisexual

have a higher risk of mental health

problems and I’m concerned that

some people report that their

experience of services designed to

help them is not always as good as

it should be. Last month I launched

our Mental Health Action Plan,

identifying 25 aspects of mental

health care and support where

government – along with help from

health and social care leaders,

academics and representative

organisations – expect to see real

changes in the help available for

  • ---------- LBGT youth over the next couple

The numbers of young gay men

contracting HIV has rocketed in

recent years. What should the

government do to tackle this

problem? Most people with HIV can

expect to live a long and healthy

life if they are diagnosed early. But

what’s very worrying is that new HIV

infections continue to increase in gay

men of all ages. The simple message

is to use a condom and get tested

regularly for HIV and other STIs.

of years. Help for young people is

a priority area, with schools being

supported to identify those who

need support sooner.

What plans do you have to make

the same-sex marriage bill more

trans friendly, such as making it

easier to transition within existing

marriages? It’s hugely unfair that a

married couple, who are committed

to one another and don’t want to

separate, have to divorce if one of

them changes their legal gender. If a

couple want to remain married then

they should be allowed to. When the

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

comes into force it will put an end to

the era of stolen marriages, allowing

trans people for the first time to

change their legal gender without

having to end their marriage. This

is an important development and

one which will hopefully make the

transition process a little easier.

Which Liberal Democrat MPs

have inspired your belief in gay

rights? When she was in the Home

Office, Lynne Featherstone set

the equal marriage bill on its way

through the Westminster machine. I

was very impressed with the way

she worked tirelessly in the face

of a lot of opposition, both inside

government and out. I was very

proud of Lynne for what she started,

and same-sex couples simply

wouldn’t be getting married from 29

March without her efforts. It will mark

a significant day for many, many

couples, but also it’s a significant day

for Lynne, and I hope people will

raise a glass in her name.

Who was the first gay person you

befriended, and how did they

influence your views? I have

quite a few friends who are gay

but I tend not to think them as ‘gay’

or ‘straight’ even. If I’m friends

with someone, it is because I trust

them, I get on well with them and

we share the same interests. I’m a

Liberal Democrat. Even if I didn’t

have any LGBT friends, that would

not affect how I would want them to

be treated. Everyone deserves to

be treated equally.

How do you think you would react

if one of your children were to

come out? I would have no issues at

all if one of my boys told me that he

liked another boy. It’s not a choice,

it’s who you are and I would love my

boys regardless of their sexuality. I

just hope that someday coming out

to your parents is not going to be

something you dread but something

you will remember fondly.

31

Labour leader Ed Miliband on how he would feel if one of his children were to come out

“I would love them equally as much. The most important thing to me is that my kids are happy and I don’t care whether they’re gay or straight. That’s what matters to me.”

32

gaytimes.co.uk

WORDS BENJAMIN BUTTERWORTH

[news]

gaytimes.co.uk

In 14 months Ed Miliband could be the British Prime Minister. Currently the polls predict – by a small margin – that Labour will form the next government. But what do we really know about Ed Miliband? And, more importantly, what can he do to stand up for the many gay and lesbian voters across our country?

BORN ON CHRISTMAS EVE,1969,

Ed is the son of two left-wing

academics. His father, Ralph

Miliband, fled to Britain on the

last boat to England from Belgium

as a Jewish refugee. Ed’s mother,

Marion Kozak, was originally one

of Ralph’s students after he became

a sociology lecturer at the LSE.

But with a similar background – a

Polish-born Holocaust survivor –

the pair soon found love. And their

two sons, Ed and David, would

become the most powerful political

fraternity of a generation.

Now he’s on the cusp of becoming

one of the most important men in the

world. And if Ed does become PM,

what can we expect for our rights?

Since his election to parliament

in 2005 as MP for Doncaster North,

in Yorkshire, the vote monitoring

website TheyWorkForYou.com

rates his record on gay rights

as being ‘very strongly for’. He

voted to change the law on human

fertilisation so that a child could

have same-sex parents, voted in

favour of the Equality Act, and voted

in favour of marriage equality.

Now, in this exclusive interview,

GT put the questions you wanted

answering to the Labour leader to

find out what he can do for us, and

why it is he cares for our rights.

role our members played in the fight

for equality. I’ve been a passionate

advocate for equality and human

rights all of my life. It’s one of the

reasons why I am in politics and in

the Labour Party.

As the first openly gay MP and

minister, Chris Smith did a huge

amount for sexual equality. Later

in his career, his decision to make

public the fact that he is HIV-positive

was incredibly brave and has

had a significant impact on public

awareness of HIV.

When I was a student in the 1980s,

  • I also remember all of those MPs,

mostly Labour, who spoke out against

Section 28 at a time when LGBT rights

were not as widely accepted.

  • I also hugely respect Angela Eagle

– who was the first openly lesbian

MP. I know, from talking to her, the

pressures she faced before coming

out soon after she was elected.

What more can be done to

put pressure on the likes of

Qatar and Russia that anti-gay

discrimination won’t be tolerated?

We have made significant progress

on equality in Britain over the last

20 years, but we must not forget

that in many countries across the

world being gay is illegal and

discrimination is not only allowed,

but encouraged by governments.

The Russian and Qatari governments

should be in no doubt that their

rejection of LGBT rights is in

violation of basic human rights. The

response of some African leaders

stirring up hatred and legislating

against LGBT people is equally

horrendous. We live in a global

community and equality should

not stop at the border. Labour has

repeatedly called on the British

government to do more to challenge

these countries on their politics

towards the LGBT community.

Does the derogatory use of words

like ‘gay’ and other slurs in the

  • ---------- classroom matter? There should

Which Labour MPs have inspired

your belief in gay rights? The

Labour Party is hugely proud of the

be a zero tolerance approach to

homophobic bullying in all schools.

Schools should be safe

environments, conducive to

learning, enquiry and discovery.

They should be spaces for young

people to develop as individuals.

This is really important. I will

continue to raise awareness on this

issue and hope that together we

can make homophobic bullying a

thing of the past.

I recently visited Blatchington Mill

School in Hove – the school has

an excellent record on combating

homophobic bullying and has been

recognised by Stonewall for its work.

Given the high rates of mental

health problems among gay

youth, what more would you

do to help? Mental health is the

biggest unaddressed health

challenge of our age.

As there are higher rates of mental

illness in the LGBT community,

we urgently need to take action to

support gay, lesbian, bisexual and

transgender people who suffer from

mental health problems.

We know people will use services

which are LGBT-friendly and where

professionals understand their

health needs – for example some

trusts have a dedicated LGBT mental

health nurse. We need to look at how

these services can be expanded.

Who was the first gay person you

befriended? The first time I met

openly gay people was at university.

There were lots of arguments going

on at the time about equality issues,

including about Section 28. These

debates certainly opened my eyes

and heavily influenced what I think

about equality issues today.

Can you foresee there being a gay

Prime Minister? Yes. I think the

world has changed a lot. If you think

about the way it has changed in the

last 20 years since I was at college,

we’ve seen the repeal of Section

28, we’ve seen civil partnerships,

the lowering of the age of consent,

equal marriage and that has been

driven by change in social attitudes

and that is why I think absolutely

it’s foreseeable to have a gay Prime

Minister.

33

[debate]

[news]

DOES MARRIAGE MATTER?

It’s the final piece in the jigsaw for gay equality, but is marriage all it’s cracked up to be? We asked two couples contemplating a walk down the aisle what marriage means for them

HITCHED Joseph McCormick

Joseph is deputy editor of PinkNews.co.uk, and proposed to his boyfriend, James, in the Houses of Parliament last year.

PARTNERED Paul Thorn

with his other half, Rob, since 2009.

I got engaged to my fiancé James in the State Rooms

of the Houses of Parliament in October 2013 (if you

want to see it, there is a slightly cringe-worthy

video on PinkNews). Now, I’m tasked with starting

to write guest lists, find venues and grapple with

the politics of who to invite to the reception. Maybe

we should just sack everything off and elope to

Sweden or Mexico City.

Somewhere along the way, hearing the gears of

equality slowly turning, I began to feel equal to my

straight friends. As of March, I had the freedom to

fight with James over who to invite to a reception, if

we have one, to feel proud at the thought of all of our

friends and family gathered around to congratulate

us, and the freedom to just be equal. We also have

the freedom to not do any of those things.

By the time you read this, we may have gone to

a registry office and married with a few friends

present, or we may have resigned ourselves to a long

engagement and a more lavish affair. Whichever we

chose is not important, but it is the option to do, or not

  • V Rob and I have been in a civil partnership for, erm… it may be three or four years. It feels like it could be longer! Maybe it is. We don’t celebrate our anniversary. Our relationship started in 2005. It was never a very sexual relationship, but emotionally it was all there, and still is today. I trust Rob completely.

It was for this reason that I asked him to become

my civil partner. Our ‘marriage’ wasn’t motivated

so much by romantic reasons, as legal ones.

Being civil partners offers us both the protection

of the law. Should anything ever happen to me

where I’m not in a position to make a decision

myself – for example, if I were unconscious on life

support – I know Rob would make the right decision

about whether to pull the plug or not.

I’m also safe in the knowledge that he will inherit

and my family (who I have no contact with) can’t

turn up out of the blue and lay a claim to what little

I do have. He will get it all. Being civil partners

offers both of us the protection of the law. That’s

do, that we want. It’s what makes marriage important.

enough for us.

It’s possible to argue that there are more pressing

I

wouldn’t marry Rob in the conventional sense of

human rights issues for gay people around the

the word. He wouldn’t marry me. It isn’t something

world (bullying in schools, to name one), but what

we want to do.

equal marriage represents is just a small piece in

I

have come across too many gay men who have

a larger equality puzzle. Seeing two people of the

same sex get married is invaluably important to any