Meat NAKED 2021 – 12 naked queers redefining sexy in the final ever meat calendar.
The meat NAKED 2021 Calendar is here, once more fighting the stereotypes of what makes us sexy.
12 Gay, Queer, Bi, Trans and Non-binary folks of all shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds and professions have stripped off for meat founder, photographer Adrian Lourie. The calendar and accompanying issue of meat also celebrates ten years of the cult UK pinup zine, which will stop publishing at the end of this year.
London based Adrian, who first published the gay pinup zine meat in 2010 is ending the project on a high after self-publishing 44 issues. Adrian says his portraits ‘attempt defy the shaming that goes on, particularly in the gay community. Photographing the subjects naked is a great way to celebrate “ordinary” queers.’
Mr May, Nick, is passionate about the meat project, ‘I love being part of the meat movement’, he says. ‘The zine and calendar are playful and provocative, but most of all, meat is a body-positive celebration of the diversity and beauty of our community.’
Kings, the calendars cover star, feels that it’s a critical time for him to represent Men of Colour. He says ‘I truly appreciated being asked to show my cheeks in meat! As a POC representation and visibility are so important. I don’t often see guys like me celebrated in this way. I hope this calendar helps to change the narrative.’
Another of the calendar’s stars, South London Artist Tom has been eager to appear in meat for some time. He explains ‘I love the relaxed vibe of meat and the fact that it speaks to a queer masculinity that I don’t see in the mainstream gay media. As a trans man, I found the calendar shoot an affirming experience. I got to feel like a sexy bi guy. My transness was still important but secondary, and that felt pretty great.’
Everyone is asking “Why is MEAT coming to an end this year”?
Hahaha, the big question! Well, it’s been ten years and I just kind of feel like there are other projects to explore. I work as a freelance photographer, and it’s time to start building up my career and finding a bit more work too. Meat has definitely gone from a side-hustle to a full-time job.
How has MEAT evolved through the years?
The aesthetic has always been constant, really. I guess it hasn’t changed too much aside from becoming slightly more sophisticated in terms of print and quality. I’ve maintained pretty much the same look and feel over the years. It’s definitely something that guys who buy it have always really responded to positively, so I didn’t feel a tremendous pressure for it to change.
How have the LGBTQ+ standards and aesthetics changed since the first MEAT publication?
Well, I think it’s more common now to see a broader range of men presenting themselves as pinups or as sex objects, thanks to platforms like Twitter, Only Fans and the like. The same can also be said for the gay media, albeit to a lesser extent. I want to think there was a cultural shift in terms of body-positivity and acceptance of difference. There’s definitely still a long way to go though.
You have been a significant part of the LGBTQ+ club scene in London all these years. How did the club scene transform over the last decade?
Well for sure it’s getting harder to persuade the gays to go out. It’s a big ask, especially in London where we all seem to be living on less money and paying more and more for things like rent. £7 to get into a party is pretty fair, but £6 for a pint is killing off pubs and clubs slowly. Add this to the fact that the Government and Local Authorities seem determined to make it harder for people to be out late partying. It’s almost impossible to get a late-night licence in London and gentrification of areas like East London mean that clubs are closing all the time. People with money move into these areas because of their vibrant cultural life, but then they don’t want it on their doorsteps. It’s very depressing, and I’m just really really grateful that the meat party continues to be a success. We have the most fantastic following. Obviously this year our parties ceased in March, and it’s been a real blow. I hope we can come back even stronger next year.
This year, the cover of the magazine is a Trans man, he also poses naked in the calendar. How important is inclusivity and diversity in publications like MEAT?
It has always been so crucial for me to represent as many different men as possible in meat. The truth is that I have often failed to be as inclusive and diverse as I’d like. However, it was never for want of trying. All the guys are amazing, and I’m so proud of them all. I know Tom (the Trans man) has been eager to be part of the meat family for a while, and I think he’s a really fantastic role model for the community. I have a little bit of pride for this particular cover and a massive amount of admiration for him.
Do you feel there is not enough representation of the trans men in pinup magazines and publications?
Absolutely not. It’s something I’ve been conscious of wanting to do my bit to change for some time. I didn’t want to make any overtly political statement by putting Tom on the cover. I treated him in precisely the same way as I would any other guy, why would I not. I hope, and I believe that it sets a bit of a precedent though.
Is it easy or difficult to find men of all ages/shapes/sexualities/types/etc. to celebrate the male beauty in all its forms?
I think meat has a bit of a reputation for doing precisely that, at least I hope it does. I think the magazine could always be more diverse. Still, I absolutely and fundamentally believe that meat is unique in its approach and that I always manage to present a different point of view. I have to say though that this year’s calendar and naked issue are the most diverse to date and that didn’t seem too difficult to achieve. I think, to a degree, it’s a sign of the shift in this country’s social climate.
What did you learn from MEAT during all these years?
We all want to be looked on as sexy and attractive sometimes, and we should all be celebrated in that way.
How has your relationship been with the models who participated in your project?
Some guys pose, and I never hear from them again. Some wholeheartedly embrace the project and are still involved in one way or another. Some have become best friends, some lovers. I hope that I’m respectful of the guys who decide to put themselves out there and that I make it a happy and affirming experience for them. The most important thing is that they enjoy the experience and are proud to represent the magazine. I hope there are not too many who would feel differently.
What are the most memorable MEAT moments you experienced?
The special issues are always memorable. Shooting the magazine in Paris and San Francisco particularly were gorgeous experiences. Whenever someone messages to tell me their stories about buying their first copy or discovering the zine for the first time, that’s incredibly lovely. Meeting the guys for shoots who have a story to tell (and they all do). It’s been a real pleasure.
What is sexy for you?
It always starts with an attitude. Someone really confident and positive is always so sexy. It can also be really basic: I love hairy legs, lovely eyes, a good bulge in undies. My tastes are wide and varied, and I think that’s always reflected in the guys I shoot for meat.
How do you feel than MEAT will be a part of the UK’s LGBTQ+ history?
I always feel like there will be more recognition of the project in the future when it’s over.
I’m working on a coffee table book now, which covers the whole ten years. I think it’s a document of the gay community in London over that time. To me, that feels quite valuable.
How did the recent pandemic affect your life and your plans?
Well, I cannot believe that I have managed to get two issues out and a calendar this year! It feels like a miracle. Obviously, I couldn’t shoot anything between March and July, so I’ve been working really, really hard since then. Our parties have all had to be cancelled with is gutting. I miss those an awful lot, but we’ll definitely be back with a bang!
What is next?
I’m about to start working on the final issue of meat, so am definitely still looking for guys in London to pose. At the same time, I’m working on the book, so it’s going to be a meaty winter for me.
Tell us something about you.
I’m a Vegetarian.
The meat Naked 2021 Calendar is available now from meatzine.com and selected stockists alongside a special edition of meat zine.