QueerAF launches with aim to ‘shift narrative on being LGBTQ+ in UK’

QueerAF is a new organisation supporting and mentoring LGBTQ+ creatives in media; Sports Media LGBT+ among groups and individuals backing the project; ‘The Queer Gaze’ will pay emerging and underrepresented queer creatives to write in a free weekly newsletter

By Jon Holmes

A new organisation has launched with the express intention of commissioning, supporting and building a new generation of queer creatives.

QueerAF, a new community interest company, is a direct response to the rising tide of hate crimes (up 210% in six years) and transphobia led by some of the press. It’s the first UK organisation to focus on supporting, mentoring and creating a new generation of queer media professionals.

The new platform will fund emerging and underrepresented queer creatives, and then support them as their careers grow. Sports Media LGBT+ is part of the wider media network supporting QueerAF.

The first writers of the organisation’s landmark ‘Queer Gaze’ scheme include a host of non-binary, trans+, disabled, asexual, Black and Asian queer folk who have already opened doors for the stories we need more of in the media. Now, they’re working with QueerAF to create a platform to help more marginalised queer voices launch a media career.

Ugla Stefanía

“As someone who’s written for mainstream platforms, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with how I am not allowed to write about certain things,” says non-binary activist and trans advocate Ugla Stefanía, (My Genderation co-founder, they/them).

“With QueerAF, I’m really interested in delving deeper into the media structure, and how it enables the anti-trans moral panic that is sweeping across the UK.”

QueerAF is supported by comedian Joe Lycett; a range of media professionals (at Forbes, Sky, AudioBoom); LGBTQIA+ community leaders (at UK Black Pride, National Student Pride); queer business leaders; and other queer folk who have all joined as founding members of the organisation.

The organisation is building on the success of its British Podcast Award-winning podcast, which was first funded by National Student Pride and featured guests including Sir Ian McKellen, Courtney Act and Olly Alexander.

It’s now launched a weekly newsletter, with a summary of the LGBTQIA+ world, queer content and beyond the binary voices to follow. The newsletter doesn’t and won’t ever include advertising.

“We’ve launched a platform that is email first, to skip the divisive social media algorithms that filter out our lives,” says QueerAF founder Jamie Wareham (he/him). “It’s funded by people, not advertisers we can focus on commissioning content that counts, while supporting voices from marginalised queer identities to break out into media careers.”

Wareham first set up the QueerAF podcast after an editor told him there was ‘no audience or money’ in gay stories, and to ‘stop pitching them’.

“No-one should be told their lives aren’t worth telling a story about.

Jamie Wareham

“I didn’t understand this at the time, but one reason newsrooms create awful experiences as I faced, is because they are locked into a system. One that rewards stories, who feed hungry divisive algorithms. All to serve enough ads, to simply repeat the cycle over again.”

QueerAF’s content will ‘model the change we all want to see’. But the organisation says their real work will be behind the scenes, supporting a new generation of creatives who can work with, and in the media, to change it.

“We’re doing all of this because we believe the UK media industry thrives when it’s bursting with queer talent. And that’s crucial because only a media industry that represents, hires, and understands us can help shift the narrative on being queer in the UK,” adds Wareham.

The easiest way to support QueerAF, is by signing up for the free weekly newsletter that commissions and supports emerging and underrepresented queer creatives.

Sports Media LGBT+ is a network, advocacy, and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBTQ+ people and allies in sport. We’re also a digital publisher. Learn more about us here.

LGBTQ+ and have a role in sports? Your visibility will inspire other people – sharing your story can be hugely rewarding and you don’t have to be famous to make a positive and lasting impact. We encourage you to start a conversation with us, in confidence, and we’ll provide the best advice on navigating the media as part of your journey so that you retain control of your personal narrative.