Amanda Gegg, June 2018
With Pride in London well and truly upon us, we were lucky enough to have a chat with seasoned expert and multiple-time host of the Trafalgar Square Stage, Dean McCullough (known to thousands as one half of Gaydio drivetime show ‘Emma and Dean’), getting his scoop on the best bits of Pride month in the capital…
Dean, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us today. So, to start off, can you tell us a little bit about your show and what Gaydio means to the LGBT+ community?
Well, Gaydio is the world’s biggest LGBT radio station, so we reach over 800,00 listeners every single week from various different backgrounds right across the world. Myself and Emma’s new show, simply called ‘Emma and Dean’, launched about 4 weeks ago now. It’s the drivetime show and it’s us getting you home from work, playing the hottest songs and talking about the hottest topics that are getting Gay UK talking. It’s a real broad range of conversation and it’s really important that we deliver that to our listeners because these are issues that are important to them. There’s a lot of heart behind the show but more than anything else it’s just a bit of fun!
What will Gaydio be doing to celebrate Pride in London this year?
At Gaydio its Pride every single day to be honest! But for Pride in London this year, Jessie and Matt are going to be broadcasting their breakfast show on Friday 6th July, live from the 12th floor of the Park Plaza London Riverbank. We’re launching a competition for 2 couples (or 2 friends) to come to London for Pride and stay at the Park Plaza for 2 nights at Park Plaza London Riverbank and Park Plaza London Waterloo. The winners will get the opportunity to meet Jessie and Matt and get involved with their breakfast show that day.
As a member of the LGBT+ community, what does Pride mean to you on a personal level?
I remember going to my first Pride, about 10 years ago now, walking along the street and looking across at my best friends and my mum thinking: ‘God, I am actually a gay man. This is my community’. And it was in that moment that I realised ‘God, I’m proud’, because my mum was proud of me and my friends were there looking gorgeous all covered in glitter. I just thought, ‘this is what it feels like to be gay, this is what it feels like to be included in something’. Pride will always have a special place in my heart because when I was starting out presenting I used to torture all the Prides saying ‘please give me the microphone, I want to host’. Pride is what got me on the map and got my voice out there.
After all your times hosting Pride in London, what would you say are your favourite parts about it?
For me, what’s best about Pride in London is that you find all these little events popping up in places like Dalston, Chelsea, Camden, Stockwell, where they have all these lunches, comedy nights and special events. You’ve got all these sub-categories in London and Pride month is really nice because it brings all of them together. It’s an opportunity for the whole LGBT+ community to come together and celebrate how far we’ve come, but also to really highlight how much work we’ve still got to do to get that equality that we’re all looking for.
And why would you say Pride is so important (in a larger sense)?
I think it’s becoming a lot more poignant now, Pride, because you see all these different politicians and governing bodies getting behind it. If you think about it, 50 years ago it was a couple of people walking down the street with a couple of banners and it’s really important that we give thanks and gratitude to all of those people and our heterosexual allies. We give thanks to them for all the work that they do because without our allies we would be nothing.
If you had to pick one stage on Pride day, what would it be and why?
I think it would probably be Trafalgar Square, you know. The atmosphere of standing in the middle of that Square when people are cheering and screaming, enjoying themselves: the energy is electric and it’s so colourful – that is what’s so beautiful about Pride in London. And I’m not just talking about the rainbow flags, I’m talking about the colour of people’s skin. They’re your community, they’re your people and you’re standing there hand-in-hand in Trafalgar Square, which already has a history of great triumph and celebration. There’s no better feeling than that.
What do you think it is about Pride that makes it one of London’s biggest, most iconic events?
If you really think about it, Pride in London isn’t just about the LGBT community. Everybody is affected by Pride. Everybody has their part to play in it. We’re stronger together and that’s what I think the people of London have realised. It hasn’t been commercialised. You don’t have Britney Spears there: you’ve got politicians, members of parliament, chairs of the Pride board and people that have been fighting for 50 years to get us to where we are now.
You see the police out and everyone’s dancing and holding hands and there’s that real ‘love wins’ atmosphere. Everyone’s fallen in love once, so when you know what that feels like and that there are people out there struggling to have same sex marriages and equality, I think you have no other choice but to get involved. I think that’s why it stands out so much.
Thanks so much Dean ,we can’t wait to see you there!
If you want to hear more from Dean, his Gaydio drivetime show ‘Emma and Dean’ airs 4 – 8pm Monday to Thursday.
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