Welcome to our newest series featuring LGBTQ influencers, #ILoveGay ambassadors, movers and shakers and all around great people.
We met London-based Gareth in Mexico and realized we wanted to know a lot more about him, so we brought out our #ILoveGay Q&A, and here’s what he told us.
Go ahead and brag, how many people do you influence and through what platform(s)?
Gareth: For me, social media is about connecting with a community who are interested in reading stuff that I’ve written, so I try and engage across every platform available – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard, LinkedIn, Medium, and a weekly newsletter. If I add up all the people who follow my profiles on these various platforms it’s 20K, with my most engaged network being on Medium.
Are you planning on adding any other platform to your portfolio?
Gareth: I’m always interested in any new platforms are emerging, so I’ll try anything. I’d like to get back into YouTube, and I feel I should be doing a podcast.
Which #ILoveGay handles speak to you the most? The ones you MUST tag in your posts?
Gareth: I’m a travel geek, so I’m always using the Travel tag, but increasingly I’m writing about all sorts of aspects of the LGBT experience, so it’s great to have lots of different tag options available.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Gareth: I have an obsession with water polo, so it was a dream come true to work at the London Olympics in 2012 as a commentator at the water polo competition.
What is unique about you, that differentiates your content and makes you stand out to others?
Gareth: My focus is the written word. I’m okay at photography or appearing on camera, but my strength is writing about stuff.
Who’s your role model in business? In life?
Gareth: Robert Mapplethorpe is someone who inspires me. He had such a clear vision and aesthetic, but he was also very commercial and entrepreneurial, and he worked incredibly hard – right up until he became ill and died (at age 42) he was working, trying to create as much as possible, ensuring that he left a legacy that the world would remember.
What gets you going in the morning?
Gareth: I have stories that need to be told.
Would that also get you up in the middle of the night?
Gareth: If I can’t sleep it’s because I’m trying to figure out the narrative on a novel I’m writing.
What if you weren’t paid for it?
Gareth: My writing started as a hobby. If someday it returns to just being a hobby then that’s okay, I’ll still write for the love of it.
The LGBTQ Community:
As an influencer, what surprises you most about the LGBTQ community, that you didn’t know when you started, good or bad?
Gareth: We’re all just people, and we’ve all got flaws – none of us are perfect. What I find fascinating is when you take the time to talk to someone, everyone has a story to tell – whether it’s their coming out story, their community work, their activism, their plans to have a family, to start a business, or to change the world. Everyone has a role to play, everyone is valuable.
If you had the power to heal afflictions facing our community, what would you address first?
Gareth: For decades, the health and identity of our community has been defined by HIV. We need to continue to work to ensure that the virus is contained, that a vaccine is developed, and that the future threat of the virus can be eliminated. Increasingly we’re also talking about mental health. Mental health is an umbrella term for a whole lot of stuff, but we know that a lot of people within our community are struggling with aspects of mental health issues, and then that manifests in ways such as the harm that can be experienced through drug use and chemsex.
As an author / writer / journalist, what should we expect to see from you?
Gareth: I write a lot. I post a lot. I try not to spam people with too much content, but sometimes I get a bit over-excited. At some point I’ll probably ask you a lot of questions about yourself.
You did! Read Why LGBT Pride still matter here.
What would be your dream achievement?
Gareth: I want one of my novels to be turned into an award-winning film.
Who is your dream business partner / advertiser?
Gareth: Turtle Cove resort in Australia. I’d happily be their writer-in-residence and spend my days writing the stories of a gay clothing-optional resort on the Great Barrier Reef.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Gareth: I’ve lived in London for 15 years. I still get lost.
When it’s all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for?
Gareth: Just a guy who followed his passions.
Thank you Gareth, we’re looking forward to reading your content online and throughout our #ILoveGay twitter network!