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In many ways, I shouldn't have been able to write this post to you
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In many ways, I shouldn't have been able to write this post to you

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham

More than once, I nearly haven't made it through the night.

If I had a tenner for every time someone told me what a 'medical marvel' I was - I might not need to write this post to you today.

When I was 17, just a week away from my first lads' holiday abroad and feeling invincible, my whole world changed. I was rushed to hospital in excruciating pain.

I needed emergency life-saving surgery after my gut twisted; three days of it.

When I finally woke up, scared and confused, I was in intensive care, surrounded by imposing machines. It was my world for, not just the weeks ahead and the five months I stayed in the hospital – but for much of the last thirteen years.

Since getting ill, I've made it through University, had countless procedures and surgeries, some to counter life-limiting infections, and spent nearly three years of my life in a hospital ward.

I've also balanced my chronic illness and disability with my unrelenting (but fruitful) journalism career.

Pursuing a media career is hard work for the best of us.

Even more so with a disability and queerness (and all the prejudice that comes with that.) It's also been worth every second.

I've investigated extremism, chemsex, and exposed Met Police failures. Best of all, I’ve got to work with some incredible LGBTQIA+ talent.

But a year and a half ago, just before I turned 29, I discovered that after 13 years - my gut had begun to fail. It felt like everything shattered again.

But this time, I was given the chance to have a rare surgery. Something that wasn't even been possible when I first got ill.

I was offered a multiple organ transplant of the bowel and pancreas. Even now, only 12 people in the UK have it a year. Worldwide, it's only been done 4000 times. Pretty pioneering stuff.

I decided long ago that my disability should never get in the way of my or anyone's career.

A mission statement I've tested myself on many times over the years, not least when I agreed to the multiple organ transplant - on the same day I launched QueerAF.

While so many of you were tweeting about us, signing up for the first time or joining in with our passion to change the media; I had an hour-long appointment with multiple surgeons to say 'yes' to yet more life-changing surgery.

After eight months in limbo, shielding and forever waiting for a call that could come at any time - the phone finally rang in November.

And yes, the surgery was a success, which is why I can write this to you today. Without it, we'd have been talking about managing my decline.

However, the surgery is so new that the only statistic the Docs could assure me was that although they’re confident I’ll have much more time, they only have data to say that after this surgery, four in five people live for at least five more years.

I'm telling you all this because I'm at a crucial juncture in my health and for my work with QueerAF.

I've been unpaid for eight years of my work with QueerAF.

Thanks to the work of our incredible creatives, alongside my volunteering, we've won awards, built an international audience and become the first regulated LGBTQIA+ publisher in the UK.

In fact, I've been mentoring, training, and working with over 60 LGBTQIA+ creatives since we started. Around 65% of this since we launched as a community interest company in January last year.

We're a sustainable business that reinvests back into our community with our mentoring schemes. And this year, when I'm strong enough to return to my desk, I can't wait to help QueerAF grow, fund my role and grow the impact of our work.

But while I've been recovering, we've used a great deal of that first year's revenue to fund an excellent team of queer creatives, paid at Journo Resources suggested top-tier newspaper rates, to run our creative content.

It's why I need to ask you - our loyal audience and supporters - to chip in to QueerAF’s first-ever crowdfunder.

We’re looking for an initial £5000. The sort of money gender-critical folk seem to be able to raise in a few hours. If most of you reading this today give just a tenner, we'll raise it in no time.

It's solely to cover the costs (set out below) of the incredible queer creatives running QueerAF. It will keep QueerAF sustainable and allow me to focus on my recovery so I can get back to changing the media, helping you understand the LGBTQIA+ world, and supporting queer creatives to do it all.

Memberships will always be the best way to support us, but right now to help QueerAF and our mission pull through these challenging few months, our inaugural crowdfunder is the way to go.

We've set up some perks for you, including some limited QueerAF merch – which you can't get anywhere else.

Ultimately, whatever you give is an investment in both me, and QueerAF. So together, we can continue making quality queer content free of outside pressures.

I'm passionate about training, supporting and mentoring a new generation of LGBTQIA+ journalists to get into the industry – so we can work together to change it. We've come so far in just one year; I can't wait to share even more progress with you in the year ahead.

Thank you for whatever support you're able to give us.

The budget

This budget is based on top-tier newspaper rates, cross-checked with Journo Resources' freelance rates guide.

We're paying our creatives this competitive rate because we believe queer creatives should be paid, and paid fairly, for their work.

The crowdfunding money covers three months' worth of our creative's time. That's the minimum time my doctors said I'd need to be in the hospital for, or at home recovering.

Jamie's recovery budget Units Rate Estimate
Newsletter day rate 12 £175.00 £2,100.00
Social media half day rate 12 £100.00 £1,200.00
Queer Gaze editor rate 12 £90.00 £1,080.00
Subscriptions and overheads £620.00
Total £5000.00

Any spare cash left over from fundraising will go into the QueerAF content fund, which makes our mentoring and writing schemes possible.

We're crowdfunding for all of LGBT+ History Month, so the countdown is on to meet our target.

Why over 100 donors already support QueerAF's mission

It's time to change the way the media tells our story

We live in a saturated world of doom scrolling and constant media. Online, digital, mobile, it bombards us wherever we are. But it doesn’t reflect us.

For too long, the media has been driven by short-term, revenue-led incentives. The beautiful spectrum of the queer community has been sidelined in the pursuit of clicks.

The diversity of those who write our stories has barely changed. A fundamentally broken industry misrepresents us.

Advertising-based media models are struggling. Journalists chase divisive content options to deliver for adverts, not the audience. The situation is getting worse.

That's why we set up QueerAF.

We're revolutionising the way in which LGBTQIA+ voices are heard and flourish.

Our community-led platform's editorial decisions are in the hands of readers, not advertisers.

How to fix the media

With a new way of creating and consuming fairer, more inclusive media, we can re-write how LGBTQIA+ journalists are funded. We can change how LGBTQIA+ stories are heard.

Together, we can build a more considered approach to our media. That's why we're funded by people, not advertisers. So we can make content that counts - for the community, not clicks.

Our members set the agenda and tell us what to create. We've created an 'open newsroom' culture to tell the best version of the story, not simply the fastest.

Our free weekly newsletter skips algorithms that filter queer content to help you understand the queer headlines with valuable analysis.

QueerAF is a platform where creators, journalists and producers can get paid and commissioned directly by the QueerAF community. This while we mentor them to build a career, work in the industry - and then change it.

We believe there’s a better way to be seen, heard and celebrated.

Join us to change the media for good.

About QueerAF

We help you understand the LGBTQIA+ world and support queer creatives to change the media

QueerAF is an award-winning independent platform launching the careers of emerging and underrepresented LGBTQIA+ creatives driven by people, not advertisers.

As a community interest company, we've locked our profits and assets into helping the LGBTQIA+ community.

Our top-rated free weekly newsletter is publishing, mentoring, and building the resilience of queer creatives. We've been giving creatives their first commissions for over seven years with our award-winning podcast. We're helping our creative to build a media career and working with them to change the industry.

The UK media industry only thrives when it’s bursting with queer talent. Only a media industry that represents hires, and understands us – can help shift the narrative on being queer in the UK.

We are QueerAF – and so are you.