Ian, who originally hails from California, is Trusts and Foundations Manager at Positive East, and organised last Sunday’s Red Run.
Where are you from originally?
From Sacramento, a very calm city in northern California that has a great relationship with nature. I moved to London about 10 years ago after living in Lisbon for many years.
And where do you live now?
I live in Islington with my partner of 15 years and five beautiful houseplants.
What do you love about London and why?
The diversity. When on holiday it’s the diversity of London I always miss most and always notice first when I return.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
I was underage and snuck into Club Q with my friends Pam and Carly by making a fake club re-entry hand stamp with felt tip markers (it worked somehow). It was a mythical monthly lesbian dance club in San Francisco, so me and 5,000 women in a large warehouse. I think the venue has been torn down and is now a luxury condo tower. Or maybe it was Bo Jangles, which was an all ages LGBT nightclub in Sacramento, which I think is also now a luxury condo tower.
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
Of course there are loads, but the Eagle in Vauxhall wins my vote. Everyone there is just so lovely. Plus, I have a huge crush on Mark, Lee and Roy.
How long have you worked for Positive East?
I’ve been at Positive East for two years now and adore it. Everyone is very passionate. My role is to lead our fundraising activities so we have the resources to deliver our HIV services. Roughly 4,000 people walk through our doors each year to receive extra support or an HIV test.
Why is it important to mark World AIDS Day?
It’s important for us to have a day where we can come together as a community to reflect upon the past, present and future and remember and celebrate loved ones. It helps to re-energise our fight against HIV stigma and creates an opportunity for us to engage with people whose day-to-day might not necessarily revolve around HIV. It gives us a global platform to shout even louder about HIV and mobilise support.
What was the last theatre show you saw and what did you think of it?
Two weeks ago I went to see HIV Voices at the Pleasance Theatre off Caledonian Road. I loved it. Hugh Wyld has done an amazing job creating this project.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in a bubble bath. I’m totally Team Brandy and always will be. I’m also happily addicted to chocolate covered pretzels and try to eat them daily.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
A pizza stone giving to me by my partner. I know that sounds simple but they are incredible. I would almost go as far as to say life changing. My sister also gave me a little glass bird a few years ago that was similar to the one our dad had on his desk.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
It just happened last Sunday! It was helping to create the largest Red Run to date and watching Dame Barbara Windsor cut the ribbon. More people than expected took part (around 1,400) raising money for 29 HIV charities. It was incredibly moving to see the outpouring of support and to stand together as a community. It was tiring as hell to plan, but thrilling.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
Either the 1960s so I could join my mom fighting the good fight against injustice. Or 1977 so I could be the inventor of the Post-It Note.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?
While going to university in Amsterdam my neighbour Jessica and I would host craft night parties, which hold a sincere place in my memory. We would just listen to music and craft useless things. I think I still have the throw rug I made out of plastic wrap and newspaper…
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Measure twice, cut once. I’m a keen DIYer so this comes in handy. Actually, this can be applicable in all situations.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Cleve Jones, the founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. I am moved to tears every time I see it.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?
Hmm, good question. Pam Grier is up there as she always has choice words for Trump.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
My answer would have been to hike to the top of Stromboli and feel the heat of lava on my forehead. But my partner and I recently did that as I’m trying to cross more things off my bucket list. So I’m currently finding another one…
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
I can’t whittle it down to one!