BOYBLUE MEETS... jEREMY jOSEPH
G-A-Y 25, saving LGBTQ+ venues and how he plans to ensure our LGBTQ+ history through these legendary venues. Jeremy is currently training for the London Marathon to raise money for Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).
Talk me through your training schedule…
I put one morning aside a week for a long run, and also a shorter run later in the week. My shorter runs are six or seven miles. The long runs start at 10 miles and then go up one mile per week. Until eventually you reach 20 miles and at 20 miles you should be ready for a marathon!
G-A-Y raises a lot of money for worthy causes, what keeps you motivated?
I guess my motivation comes from targets; next year is going to be quite the incentive, because we’re £29,000 away from raising half a million for EJAF! So, hopefully we’ll be at half a million when we cross the finish. World AIDS Day testing is all about raising awareness and money to help charities who provide support and advice to people living with HIV. We’re seeing the number of new cases of HIV dropping, which is great! However, our aim is for 0% of new cases, that’s what we are working towards. On last Decembers World AIDS Day, we donated £5 for every person that got tested by 56 Dean Street within our venue, so seeing people take part in that was a big part of my motivation. People messaging or tagging me in things online really helps too, because it shows the community are getting behind you. The camaraderie between the everyone running is astounding. Everyone has different goals, but we all have to support each other.
LGBTQ+ bars have direct contact with young people from the community on a daily basis, so should all venues work towards using their platform to inform?
It shouldn’t just be LGBTQ+ venues – it should be all venues. We try to be as inclusive as possible. If you’ve got a space that’s popular with a younger group of LGBTQ+ people, you should use that as a safe space for them to go as well as a fun night out. So, if you can use it to educate, raise money and inform the people who visit, why wouldn’t you? The gay media only seem to report on LGBTQ+ venues when they close down. If they highlighted some of the good things venues do for the community maybe we could do even more. After all, we are the direct contact.
What is next for G-A-Y?
This year marks G-A-Y’s 25th anniversary. We’ll be looking back to celebrate each year, so we’ve got Cascada booked and – I’m not supposed to say this – but we have Gabrielle booked in too! A lot of these acts started out at G-A-Y, so it’s about celebrating the early days. It’s going to be a good year.
I’m also in the process of setting up the G-A-Y Foundation – our own charity. The idea is that it will be a grassroots charity. We want to raise money for individuals, rather than specific organisations; we want to help change lives. For example, if an LGBTQ+ couple want to have a child and need help financially, we would fund that.
I think the wider LGBTQ+ community is becoming very ageist and we don’t do enough for older people within our own community. Elderly people can become very isolated in our society and there is so much more we can do to support people! I also want to have a memorial at Heaven to remember those that we’ve lost to AIDS related complications. Terrance Higgins collapsed at Heaven and the venue is a part of our history. We need to ensure that its LGBTQ+ History is a permanent part of the venue.