Jamie Wareham is one of the organisers of National Student Pride, which happens next weekend (22–24 Feb). He would love to have seen Queen play live, loves fluffy things and thinks unicorns are #QueerAF.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Basingstoke, the most average place in the UK, travelling up to London as soon as I was able to on my own, and then whenever I could.
And where do you live now?
I live in Clapham, lodging in a wonderful house. I moved here when friends I worked with bragged about how amazing the brunch scene is. You can’t move without hitting avocados and soy lattes. Most of them being mine.
What do you love about London and why?
When I first travelled up, I loved how everyone looked. Everyone was so gorgeous. Now I understand it’s more than that and the freedom of expression everyone seems to have is what really attracts me. Our capital is diverse, and we show it off in the way we dress, behave and challenge stereotypes. Although my boyfriend and I are still careful about where in the city we hold hands – there is an undercurrent of queer in a lot of the city… and I love that.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
My first queer experience was the Old Compton Street party at London Pride. My first Pride, It was a glorious hot day, and I made friends that day that I still have today.
How would you describe National Student Pride?
We are the biggest gathering of LGBT+ students in the UK. We mix discussion and debate with party and performance – we are all about empowering young LGBT+ people to find their true identity as they study, work and enjoy life.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?
BBC Broadcaster Evan Davis guest hosting our #QueerAF podcast, which I usually host, to interview LGBT+ legend Ian McKellen. That rare live recorded interview on our stage, with our audience listening in, is going to be intense.
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
I caught the end of Kinky Boot’s run at the Adelphi on the Strand. I loved it. A story about a young queer finding their best identity thanks to a pair of incredible boots. Another reason to love great boots frankly.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Can I say fluffy things? I’m a huge sufferer of cute aggression, so if it’s soft, fluffy and overwhelmingly cute – I’m not just going to love it – I’m going to be angry about how much I love it.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
A silver Unicorn necklace. My Dad bought it for me on the sly after it caught my eye – and presented it to me later. Unicorns are #QueerAF and my Dad is totally cool with that and me being gay. I’m very lucky.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
I’m just putting the final touches to a short documentary on an incredible man who is changing the way people think about disabilities. I can’t wait to share it, as it has a lot of my own hidden disabilities story tucked away in there. I hope it can change the way people see disabilities, including those not obviously in front of you.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
Saturday 12 July 1986 to see Queen play at Wembley. My parents were there and I would love to have seen that pioneer sing live.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
You mean other than National Student Pride? I once made a music video about the antics of a college house party to the song Feeling This by Blink-182 – I’d relive that party over and over.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Harvey Milk, seeing Dustin Lance Black’s movie of his life was a huge inspiration. ‘You gotta give them hope’ is a great speech. If you haven’t heard it and want some empowerment today, hit it up on YouTube.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
Cute Emergency is my go-to morning hit of fluff, puppies and boops.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That being gay, queer or anywhere on the spectrum is OK. I really struggled with coming out and accepting my own identity. It’s why I still volunteer and mentor the National Student Pride team, I want every young person to know that whatever their sexual, romantic orientation or gender identity is – it is nothing to be ashamed of.
National Student Pride is happening 22 to 24 February at the University of Westminster, get more information at student pride.co.uk