DJ and gay rights activist Scott Mills to visit Exeter

Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills has accepted an invitation from Exeter College LGBTQ Society to talk about his gay rights campaigning and documentary, as well as his successful DJ career.

Mills will speak at 8.30pm on Tuesday 13th November in the Saskatchewan lecture theatre at Exeter College and his talk is open and free of charge to everyone across the University. The Oxford University LGBTQ Society and Exeter JCR are funding his travel expenses and dinner in hall to ensure that no one who wants to come to the talk has to pay.

The JCR voted unanimously in favour of a motion that suggested “up to £50 be given to help fund travel expenses and hall for Scott Mills,” demonstrating the student body’s commitment to its LGBTQ community.

Exeter College LGBTQ reps, Adam Ward and Nick Georgiou, are excited about Mills’ visit and are pleased with the JCR’s response to their funding motion. Nick said: “We were keen for it to be free of charge as we think it’s really important that everyone has equal access to discussion about LGBTQ issues.

“We see it as a privilege to be able to invite a speaker as successful as Scott, who uses his position in the public eye to raise awareness about ongoing worldwide discrimination.”

Nick added: “We really hope attendees will include people from across the university and from both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ communities. It promises to be a very informative and rewarding experience to hear from such a high-profile speaker.”

Scott Mills publically came out as gay in 2001. He said: “It was a difficult time. I was quite new at Radio 1 and I didn’t know what kind of reaction there would be. I didn’t know if it would stop me getting jobs in the future, or if the audience would turn against me. But it was fine. I got a couple of nasty texts, but that’s going to happen if you’re broadcasting to the whole UK.”

Mills recently visited Uganda to shoot BBC3 documentary ‘The World’s Worst Place to be Gay?’ in light of the 2009 anti-homosexuality bill that proposed the imposition of the death penalty for homosexuality.

In the film Mills explores what it’s like to live in a country which is one of the most dangerous places to be gay on the planet. He talks to David Bahati, the Member of Parliament who drafted the original bill, and undergoes a bizarre ritual in which he is stripped to the waist and battered with chickens by a witch doctor in an attempt to ‘cure him’ and turn him straight.

Sodomy is already illegal in the country and on Tuesday, Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament, suggested that the anti-homosexuality bill that has persisted in the legislature be brought to the floor for a vote.

In an investigation last week, The Oxford Student revealed that Exeter is one of the highest spenders for LGBTQ amongst Oxford colleges, with the reps allocating at least £25 from the JCR budget to fund activities and events. It is estimated that there are at least 45 openly gay undergraduates at the college.

Ward and Georgiou are in the process of organising further LGBTQ celebrity speakers for next term.

PHOTO/Ben Hodgson