Jamie Love talks about Pride

Jamie Love is an influencer and a public figure for LGBTQ+, having served as an Executive Producer for Pride Edinburgh for the past 4 years. Since this year, Pride parades were cancelled all across the UK we thought it is a great opportunity to speak with a LGBTQ+ icon about the necessity of the Pride parades and the need for visibility.

Love’s dedication to his career is complimented with his work in the LGBTQ+ community – a cause he holds close to his heart. Let’s meet Jamie!

First of all , how do you identify?

I identify as a cis-gender, gay man.

As a Marketing Director and Executive Producer for Pride Edinburgh, how would you feel that Pride has changed over the years?

Much like other Prides around the UK and across the world, the change in Pride Edinburgh over the years has been amazingly positive. Pride Edinburgh has grown to become a mainstream event attended by tens of thousands of people, yet it has not lost its strong community focus and buy-in, which is key for us.

How does the Edinburgh Pride differ from the other Pride marches in the UK?

Two key differences I would identify between Pride Edinburgh and other UK Prides are the community that comprise it and the style of the event. The Scottish community is very patriotic and loving and they celebrate happily alongside pride goers that travel from all over the country to attend Pride Edinburgh. This blend of local and national attendees makes for a wonderful atmosphere. When it comes to the style of the event, it is very political, with a strong focus on activism for the LGBTQ+ community. I have attended some Prides where the true purpose is sometimes hidden and not in the spotlight, where it should be. At Pride Edinburgh, the spirit of acceptance, equality and love is the headline act every year – it reminds people why we still need to celebrate pride, why we need to raise awareness, what we are trying to change in politics and society, as well as showing solidarity to communities and countries where LGBTQ+ rights still have a long way to go.

How important are Pride Marches and what would you say to those who think they are unnecessary?

I would say take a trip to any country where you are at risk of being persecuted, or even prosecuted, simply for living as your authentic self… and then tell me how you feel. I grew up in a country where being gay is illegal. If you’re not from there and the police find out about your sexuality, you will be deported. If you are a native then you would be looking at fines or jail time. That is why Pride is important – the fight for basic human rights that has been waged for years isn’t over and the need for global progress is more vital than ever before.

How do you feel as an LGBTQ+ person with all these incidents that happen all around the world and the BLM movement?

It is truly heart-breaking and I believe most LGBTQ+ people will be able to relate to being discriminated against. Although the two are very different, I do feel we have a unique understanding of discrimination and hate which inspires a sense of solidarity and compassion for the black community, especially the queer black community. I would encourage any LGBTQ+ person to get involved in the movement and support in any way possible. There’s no real freedom until we’re all equal.

How do you think anyone can get involved?

There are numerous petitions and charities that can benefit from our support and it’s all of our responsibilities to spread awareness and to educate ourselves and one another. We must all attempt to understand exactly what is happening and which causes will have actionable impact – the information is there, it’s just a case of looking for it! I have set up a link on my Instagram account (@mrjamielove) with links to the petitions I have signed – that can be a good starting point.

Do you think that LGBTQ+ people are underrepresented in your field? Are things more difficult for non-heterosexual non-white people?

100% – I think there’s this misconception that marketing & PR merge seamlessly with creative industries, which isn’t the case. Creative fields, from my experience, are very open and accepting. Marketing is still very much dominated by straight, white men, as can be deduced when looking at any line up of speakers for a given marketing event… anywhere in the world.

Have you received any discrimination in your career?

Unfortunately, yes. That is what inspired me to set up Monumental Marketing. I want people’s uniqueness to be an asset in our company and not something that will hinder their career or their personal progression and development in the industry.

As someone who embraces activism, what are the areas you are focusing and how do you contribute to activism?

My focus has always been empowering LGBTQ+ Youth, which is something I am able to do effectively through Pride Edinburgh. My #BeYourHero campaign that I ran when I was Mr Gay Scotland was also focused on empowering the youth of our community. My next port of call is homeless LGBTQ+ youth, as I’ve been busy setting up a charity that would allow homeless LGBTQ+ youth to receive free digital marketing and PR training supported by Monumental Marketing. This is still in the works but am hoping to be able to launch it before the end of the year.

Do you think we are progressing as a society towards equal rights for everyone?

I believe there has been progress because if we look back over the last 5-10 years, the LGBTQ+ community has hit numerous legislative milestones with adoption and marriage. However, there is still so much to be done globally until we live in a time where one doesn’t risk their life by being who they are. I don’t think we should stop fighting the fight yet.

What advice would you give to those who feel discriminated and disappointed?

My advice would be to make finding your version of happiness your top priority. I’m aware that leaving certain situations will be difficult and at times near impossible, but the power you gain from being free of that which is holding you back is incomparable! The moment I was able to leave the situation that was oppressing me and forcing me not to be myself is the moment I was able to achieve so many of my goals, in my own way. Whether the discrimination is experienced at home, school or the workplace, try and find an escape to your true self. There are many places, communities and companies who can’t wait to celebrate the true you.

Who do you admire in your life?

I admire those that don’t mind standing out to make a real difference and those who have overcome hardship to achieve their success. I like to surround myself with likeminded people who have similar backstories to mine, with ambitions just as big. This way we are constantly motivating and inspiring each other to think bigger.

What is your biggest life achievement?

I think Monumental and my LGBTQ+ work are my biggest achievements. Monumental was a huge dream of mine, seeing it growing to the size we are now is quite emotional! The real moment of realisation was my birthday party (highlight video) – seeing the room full of Monumental employees, supporters, advisers and fans was incredible and a huge milestone for me. The LGBTQ+ work has been so inspiring for me and over the last few years I have received messages from people from all walks of life thanking me for giving them the courage to make a change in their lives and be proud of who they are.

How are you coping these days with the global pandemic and the lockdown?

It’s definitely been quite a shock to the system! Anyone that knows me or works with me can attest to the fact that my life is pretty non-stop, between travel, work and events… a usual day for me starts at 8am and finishes in the early hours of the following day. Since the coronavirus hit, I’ve started having more time to actually relax! Thankfully, Monumental is still going strong so that’s keeping me really busy, but I was finally able to adopt a puppy. I named him River and he’s taking up a lot of my free time… and sleeping time!

What are your future plans?

The focus will be to continue building Monumental with the value we hold at the core of the company: to celebrate diversity. From an LGBTQ+ point of view, my focus this year is to continue with setting up our homeless LGBTQ+ youth charity!

*all images are courtesy of Jamie Love.

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