Feature: Gay Times strips off in support of the Terrence Higgins Trust

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Gay Times, the world’s longest-running gay magazine, has stripped – no pun intended – the entire content of their latest issue to make way for their biggest naked shoot ever. GT Editor Darren Scott explains that it’s all for a good cause.

I love an event. Not the kind where I’m full of white wine, falling into a taxi, clutching a goody bag (though I’m obviously partial to those too). I’m talking about something big. Something I can’t wait to get my hands on. Yes, yes, it sounds as though I’ve swallowed a Carry On box set, but I actually don’t mean it to. When I was young(er) I would count the days until special issues of my favourite magazines (or, as was often the case, and still is, comics) were released. I would excitedly prepare myself for ‘event television’ – only it wasn’t called that in those days, but the sentiment still stands.

So that’s why, once a year, I usually find myself with my head in my hands, surrounded by naked men going ‘Why did I think this was a good idea?’ I am, of course, referring to making GT’s annual charity naked issue bigger and better than ever. Yes, we’ve used the line ‘biggest naked issue ever!’ before (and don’t tell me you’ve not used a line more than once) but this time it really is. And now I don’t know what to do.

Let me explain – this year we’ve stripped out the entire regular content of the magazine to make way for our shoot. That’s right, the entire issue is dedicated to our naked photo shoot for Terrence Higgins Trust. After we made last year’s naked issue – with over a hundred participants – a two-parter, it just seemed like the logical next step. Plus of course we wanted to show we’d listened to our readers who said they wanted to see more of each person. They also said ‘more arse’ and we listened to that too.

And I can’t recall a magazine ever having stripped (sorry, that Carry On box set isn’t sitting well) their entire content to make way for one special cause, let alone for an HIV charity. That’s actually the important bit. Although when you see some of the gentlemen taking part in the naked shoot you’ll be forgiven for temporarily forgetting that.

I’m a big supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust. They’re also lovely to work with. But I was quite insistent that we actually raised money for the charity, rather than just saying we were raising awareness. Awareness is great, yes, but as with my love of ‘the event’, I just wanted a little bit more.

So every person that takes part has a code in the issue where you can donate and get an image sent to your phone. And if you’re so inclined, next month you’ll be able to bid on signed glossy prints of some (or all, hopefully) of the participants.

And why not eh? It’s not an easy ask of most people to be photographed nude – in fact, we’re opening the offer up to readers so that everyone of every type can be represented…

How can we top it next year? I dread to think. Answers on a postcard please. In the meantime, please pick up the new issue, enjoy the 18 shoots featuring 37 men over 102 pages and give a little something to THT – I think it’s an event worth celebrating.

The full list of people taking part is as follows:
Ashley McKenzie (Olympian), Chris Mears (Olympian), Luke Campbell (Olympian), Kieron Richardson and PJ Brennan (Hollyoaks actors), Leon Lopez (actor), Ben McGregor (actor), Arron Lowe (actor/model), Joseph Whelan (singer), BalletBoyz (dancers), Jack Jefferson (actor), Dominic Thornburn (actor), Ben and Sam Allen (Playing It Straight), Scott Mason (Big Brother), Class A (Boy band), Craig Daniel Adams (actor), Kieron Knight (adult actor), Mitch Marion (Playing It Straight), Cast of 9-5 The Musical (dancers/actors).