This Saturday (25 Feb) Jeremy Joseph welcomes Student Pride back to G-A-Y for its annual party and this year it has an emoji theme. Dave Cross spoke to Jamie Wareham, Director of Communications at Student Pride, to find out more about the main event and the party at G-A-Y.
Hi Jamie, in basic terms how would you describe Student Pride?
We’re the Pride of conversation! Every year we create a space for the LGBT community to talk about issues and taboos that face us. Recent years have included racism, mental health and representation on screen, but this year it’s all about sex and relationships education. Our aim is to get people talking as there are so few spaces for LGBT people to talk, and especially about sex. So we’re channelling Salt-N-Pepa this year, demanding the sex education we want and deserve.
What happens over the three days of Student Pride?
Mary Mac and Adam All kick off the weekend registration at G-A-Y Late on Friday (24 Feb), then your £5 weekend wristband gets you into G-A-Y Camp Attack at Heaven where there’s great drinks deals. Next up is the all-important daytime festival at the University of Westminster opposite Baker Street on Saturday (25 Feb) from 12.30pm, with our #LetsTalkAboutSex panel, Being Me intersectionality panel and RuPaul’s Drag Race queen alumni-led talent competition, including Season 9’s Charlie Hides on the main stage. Elsewhere is the largest LGBT careers fair in the UK with over 65 stalls, interactive workshops on consent, our collaboration with Let’s Talk About Gay Sex and Drugs open mic, and performance stage. Then it’s the big Emoji Party at G-A-Y that night, before we end the weekend on a really important note with our affordable screening of Moonlight, which is a must see. You can see it at the oldest cinema in the country with us for just £4 on Sunday at 11.30am.
Can you tell us more about this year’s theme of sex and relationships education?
One of the articles we wrote ahead of this year’s festival got its glory hole jokes subbed out!? Our British nature gets in the way of talking about sex, which is so important. That’s why we’re having ‘the talk’ as the organisation comes of age in its teenage years. It’s ridiculous that 75% of young people rate their sex education as poor or terrible. We’re calling for it to be inclusive of relationships, same-sex narratives and information about gender identity.
Can you tell us who some of the guest speakers are this year?
We have an amazing line up this year – Olly Alexander, Stella Creasey MP, Adele Roberts, Evan Davis, Jodie Marsh and Sarah Nimmo are just some of the celebrity speakers. Plus alongside them are some amazing activists including UK Black Pride’s Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Bisi Alimi, Pat Cash, Greg Owen, NAT Chief Executive Deborah Gold and Albert Kennedy Trust reps.
Why do you choose G-A-Y as your venue partner?
G-A-Y is the iconic venue of the capital. Over 125 universities are travelling from Cornwall to Scotland down to London – and they all want to dance under those historic arches at Charing Cross. It’s also the biggest and the crowd we attract brings a queue that rivals London Pride, and Kylie – so get there early this weekend!
And what can you tell us about the emoji theme?
Nothing says let’s talk about sex like a good set of emojis. There’ll be more peaches than you can poke an aubergine at! But seriously, without good sex and relationships lessons, the language young people are left with is limited, and until we’ve got lessons that give us the words we need for those conversations we’ll have to rely on those emojis. Demand compulsory sex and relationships education!