Scott talks about the four decades of the publication, its ability to get hunky men – and even Golden Girl Betty White – to pose for them as well as the current political stance on same-sex marriage.
GT continues to be one of the leading magazines in the UK for gay and bisexual men, what makes it so popular with the gay community?
Gay Times has been around forever. FOR. EVER. Well, almost 40 years and a lot of young people seem to think that’s old. Let me tell you – as a near 40-year-old myself – it’s not old. And still looking good. I mean the magazine (but me too). It’s a name that’s long associated with gay culture, and rightly so. It was providing gay news long before the internet was an idea, let alone something in your pocket you can use to meet other gay men.
Of course, Gay Times has adapted over the years because of things like the internet so it’s quite a different beast from our early days. I like to think that Gay Times informs, educates and entertains. The handsome men we feature (and employ) probably have a hand in the success too.
In recent years you’ve had a surge in straight celebrities taking their kit off for the magazine – why do you think this is?
Because there aren’t enough gay celebrities that will take their kit off? And because we’d never dream of being prejudiced against straight celebrities? Probably the most boring answer to this is simply because we’ve asked them to. And possibly because it’s not considered a ‘taboo’ to do these days, it’s very much a ‘cool’ thing for people to do, straight or otherwise.
We certainly find that a lot of younger straight people – for example Ashley McKenzie, Luke Campbell and Chris Mears on the cover of our current naked issue – don’t have a problem doing these kinds of shoots and appealing to a gay audience. It’s an extremely refreshing viewpoint to hear and, of course, the readers aren’t complaining. ‘Surge’, what a wonderful choice of words. If only more celebrities were surging at us, taking their clothes off.
Do straight celebs take much persuading to do the shoots?
We ply them with alcohol and promise not to tell their girlfriends! Joking aside, I think everyone needs a little persuasion to get their kit off for a photo shoot, straight or otherwise. But they’ve seen previous shoots and know that it will be classy and sexy – and, of course, that Gay Times is a well-established brand of nearly four decades. To be honest, it’s never the celeb that needs persuading, it’s the agent! Quite often the difficult part is getting the celebs to put their clothes back on. Apparently it’s quite liberating.
Who is the sexiest celebrity you’ve had pose in GT?
Oh I couldn’t possibly say that, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. But we did have Betty White draped on a sun lounger surrounded by men in trunks, she was quite sexy.
As Editor of the magazine, what would a typical day (or week) in the office consist of?
Oh blimey, it’s probably far more boring than most people imagine. There’s so much admin and emailing and invoices and commissioning. I don’t find it boring of course, I love it, but I’m quite a nerd for admin. I don’t think that any two weeks are the same, there’s always something completely random going on. Sometimes you do stop and think ‘this is ridiculous – if you told me five years ago I’d be doing this I’d have laughed in your face,’ and then you go back to watching Su Pollard throwing canapés at the paparazzi.
Gay marriage has been a hot talking point among the gay community, what is GTs stance on it?
Gay Times is, and always will be, in favour of equal marriage. We’ve supported various campaigns – particularly C4EM – for a while now, and will continue to do so. Obviously we’re in favour of equality in general.
Will the magazine become more political, or do you think it has the right balance at the moment?
Are you trying to tell me that Betty White surrounded by hunks in trunks isn’t political enough? Seriously, I wouldn’t say that the magazine is going to become more political specifically, but there is certainly going to be more in terms of coverage of ‘real’ or ‘news’ issues. It’s always been there, but I think you’ll find Gay Times an even more interesting read over the coming year.
Is there anything you can tease for forthcoming editions of GT?
Now, no-one likes a tease. But our next issue, on sale 20 March, is quite something in terms of how we want Gay Times to go in 2013. It’s very interesting given that it follows our hugely successful naked issue… It features a ‘world exclusive first gay press interview with a big gay name’, to use the kind of sensational journalism blurb we’re used to these days. Oh, and a huge Hollywood star too. And lots of other things. I’m a rubbish tease.
Gay Times is on sale in all respectable retailers and can be purchased online here