Parry Glasspool plays one of the most famous gay characters currently on British TV: Harry Thompson in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. In our June 2017 issue, we undress Parry for a steamy cover shoot and dive into his career, his future ambitions and his role as an ally for young men in the gay community.
From the emotional minefield of coming out, to learning how to support his boyfriend as he battled a crystal meth addiction, Harry Thompson’s storylines on Hollyoaks confront often controversial subject matter, in what is an honest reflection of the changing landscape for LGBT+ people in the 21st century.
As such, his role has a far-reaching and positive impact, particularly on young men around the UK. Whether giving young men the confidence to come out or speak openly about mental health, Parry doesn’t take lightly the influence of his platform:
“I get lads messaging me saying ‘your storyline really helped me come out to my family’ or ‘I haven’t come out to my family yet, but this has made it easier’, which is nice to hear.”
On the groundbreaking three-hander that tackled crystal meth addiction, Parry enjoys being able to explore an issue which is affecting our community in real-time:
“I thought it was really rewarding, being able to slow down and concentrate on people.”
Popular culture’s positive impact on the lives of LGBT+ people around the UK is nothing new, though. Our editor, Darren Scott, examines his relationship with his best friend, which was anchored in a love for Bananarama. In their only interview with a gay magazine ahead of their upcoming tour, we catch up with them on their hits, their friendship and their enduring influence on a generation of gay men.
Bananarama aren’t the only musical heavyweights in this issue. Many a homosexual remembers dancing the night away to the hits of Erasure, and on the eve of the release of their 17th studio album, the godfathers of synthpop take us through every album of their illustrious 32-year career.
In January 2016, we featured a promising young singer-songwriter from London in our Need to Know column. A year and a half later, Dua Lipa is probably the UK’s most exciting new artist, thanks to big, bold, chart-conquering hits like Be the One and Scared to be Lonely. We decided it was high-time to reacquaint ourselves with the pop star who is quite literally hotter than hell.
Alas, every pop-lined cloud… the crisis in Chechyna is one of the most alarming atrocities against the LGBT+ community in recent history. We run our own investigation into what exactly is happening on the ground in Chechnya, and what you can do to help. We also speak to a journalist who lived as a gay man in Moscow for nine years and came out on live TV, to try and answer the question: How do we solve a problem like Russia?
A bit closer to home, in the shadow of a looming snap general election, we hear from the LGBT+ politicians in each party who are standing for (re)election, including an analysis on where each party stands on LGBT+ rights. And for our readers around the globe, the results of the elections in the UK affect you, too. You’d do well to keep a close eye; the interconnectedness of our community is all too apparent of late.
This month also sees us continuing the must-have conversation around mental health in the LGBT+ community. In 2014, Neil Laybourn stopped Jonny Benjamin from ending his life on Waterloo Bridge, in an encounter that would change their lives forever. With a growing number of lives being lost to mental health battles, award-winning campaigners Neil and Jonny discuss the impact of masculinity on mental health, why we gays have it harder and why proper education needs to start at primary school.
Elsewhere in the issue: What to do about a friend’s reckless sexual behaviour; Lady Bunny sticks her hand in our sweetie jar of random questions (don’t worry, we threw the jar away straight after); X Factor’s Ray Quinn is this month’s Gay Times Fitty; Charlie King on how to get buns of steel; cosplay with Chris Jones; 5 myths about HIV superdrug PrEP; and Bill Hayes on Oliver Sacks.