GT recently ran a competition for its readers to win a mini-break to the fabulous Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel Jersey. We caught up with one of its employees, Daniel Scharbert, to find out about life as a gay man on the island.
How long have you lived on Jersey?
For nearly two years.
How do you find life on Jersey?
Different. My history, I am German, I did all my school in German. Five years ago I moved to London, then to Leeds, then Edinburgh, then my best friend got a job here and said ‘Oh, would you be interested in moving to Jersey?’ I was like 'Jersey...where the hell is that!?' I literally had to look it up on a map and see exactly where it is.
But I was really pleasantly surprised when I came for my interview. It was the end of March, the sun was shining, and blue sky as the plane landed. You could see the crystal clear water; it felt like going on holiday. That’s the feel it really has. It feels like you’re in a [real] holiday destination, but within the UK almost.
I’ve been to many European tourist destinations, [but] it's so nice here that I just compare them all to here now.
What is the gay scene like?
Obviously you don’t have the array of places you have in cities like London. But here you have nice bars, a few nice restaurants, a handful of places you can go to for nightlife - because its [so] small.
And it makes it [feel] like you're living in a big family. More so for the gay community [on] the island. You could quickly, if you wanted to, become part of the community.
Do you intend to stay there for a long time, do you think?
I enjoy it at the moment. [I mean] I wake up in the middle of the night thinking ‘Oh I want to go shopping’ but I can’t! I don’t see myself growing old here but I’m sure I’ll stay here at least another summer to take the place with me. I really like my job here, I like the people I work with, I like the island, what the island has to offer, and the community as such.
You’ve never felt any hostility as a gay man living on the island?
I haven’t. But to be honest, I have never in my life experienced anything really, of homophobia.
Obviously you need to consider Jersey...I think people would possibly stop and stare at you if you would full on snog another bloke in a pedestrian area! I didn’t have any idea what to expect here, when I came here [but] I think it’s very welcoming. Very open minded to a certain extent. We often have people coming and going in the gay community. We have people working here for the summer, who then go back to the mainland.
So it's growing as a gay tourist destination?
I would like to see a greater presence of gay tourists. It would take time and change and promotion to get it into gay people’s heads to come here. [But] Jersey is a destination which you should consider as a gay couple. I live here with my partner and we have a great time, especially in the summer. It depends what you want. If you want to party 24/7 non-stops, then maybe Jersey wouldn’t be the place for you.
But if you want nice beautiful beaches, beautiful sea view, nice bars, nice restaurants and a more relaxed time, Jersey would definitely be a place to consider. And Will Young came [last year], to do a concert here! He enjoyed his stay very much I hope.
The concert was more for the local community, but you could see at the drinks stall, you could recognise all the faces from the gay bar at the weekend. Basement Jaxx were here. Kate Nash. They try to offer things for the younger