Local Life Story - Dan Browne
Posted on 3 Aug 2018

Name: Dan Browne
Occupation: Chair of Warwickshire Pride
Place of birth: Leamington Spa
Star sign: Virgo
Age: 33

 

About Dan


Where did you grow up?
Leamington Spa. It's my home town and I love where I come from.


Single or attached?
I’m happily attached.


What makes you happy?  
The simple things in life. Long walks in the countryside, seeing friends and a cold glass of  prosecco on a Friday evening.


What makes you sad?
People who don't accept others for who they are. We’re all valid, and it's okay to be different.


What makes you angry?
I try not to do anger, but injustice makes me angry.


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I spent so many years wanting to change pretty much everything about myself that now I wouldn't change a thing. Self-acceptance is so important..


What’s been the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in your life?
There are far too many things I could mention, but I'm not sure this is the place for it. My mother might read it!


Would you consider getting married in the future?
Absolutely. It's great that we now have the option to get  married.


Coming out


When did you first know you were gay?
When I was five years old I knew I wanted to marry a man when I grew up. I didn't know what gay was at that time, but I knew that I wasn't like everyone else.

When did you come out?
At 15. Then again at 16, 17 and 18. Then probably every year since then. Coming out never ends, really. When you start a new job or meet someone new, you end up coming out to them. It's not necessarily standing on a soap box to declare my gayness, but there’s always a coming out in some form.


What was school like for you as a gay teenager?
School was awful. I hated it. But I've since worked with the school I went to and feel pleased that it's now a much better place for LGBT+ students than when I attended.


Who was the first person you told you were gay?
My mate, Jamie. He said, "That's okay, but I'm not". He was fine with it. Fortunately, most people have been.


What would you say to a youngster trying to come to terms with their own sexuality?
I would advise them to speak to someone they can trust. Don't be afraid of who you are, because it's completely natural. And although it's a cliche, things do get better.


Warwickshire Pride


How many years has Warwickshire Pride been running for?
It’s now in its sixth year and going from strength to strength. I'm proud of how far it's come.


What have you got in store for Warwickshire Pride visitors this year?
We're planning our biggest, best and most diverse festival. We're really big on inclusion and celebrating all LGBT+ people. So this year we're having a trans zone again, plus a bi zone and a women's tent. We're highlighting LGBT+ people with disabilities and BME LGBT+ people, too. Prides need to be about more than white gay men, and every year we're striving to do more to be fully inclusive and welcoming to all. We're also having a Big Rainbow Bake Off. Any excuse to eat cake!


What’s the biggest challenge you face in organising Warwickshire Pride?
Funding is always a struggle. It's a sad fact that the bigger Prides are getting bigger and receiving more support each year, while the smaller Prides are left to struggle. That's why so many are cancelling or        postponing for a year. Being able to afford to put on the festival is always the biggest challenge.


How rewarding do you find contributing to Warwickshire Pride?
Organising Warwickshire Pride is an incredibly rewarding experience. I founded the charity and organised the first three festivals completely by myself. It was tough and nearly broke me on several occasions, but seeing it all come together on the day and hearing from people whose lives have been improved by attending Pride makes it all worthwhile.


Where would you like to see Warwickshire Pride in five years’ time?
Still running! I hope that it will stick with its community-focused, grass-roots ethos and be known as a nice little festival to attend. We're getting there.


Your Career


Outside of Pride, what do you do for a living?
I'm a hypnotherapist. I run my clinic in Leamington Spa and absolutely love what I do.


When you were younger, what did you want to be?
James Bond. Then I wanted to be Nigel Mansell. I thought I'd settled on a career as a policeman, but life is full of twists and turns that lead you to where you are now. Part of me would still like to be James Bond.


What was your first job after leaving school?
I worked in a clothes shop. I quite enjoyed it.

We’ve all got a dream job - what’s yours?
I think I’m doing it.


Gay scene


How long have you been frequenting the Midlands gay scene?
Fifteen years.


What's been your fondest memory of the scene?
Some of the friends I've made, and the wonderful, interesting people I've met over the years.


Who’s your favourite cabaret act?
I have a soft spot for Miss Penny. I also adore Sassi Afrika and Asifa Lahore.


Who’s your favourite person on the scene?
Anyone who’s friendly.


What do you most enjoy about the scene?
The larger-than-life characters who shine bright.
What have you noticed about the way the scene’s changed over the years?
It's much more mainstream, in that many non-LGBT+ people visit the scene. I don't think that's a bad thing, providing they’re respectful towards LGBT+ people and our culture.
How would you change the scene?
I'd send all the cliques to Room 101.

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Time out


Where do you like to go on a night out?
Anywhere as long as the company is good.


What do you do to relax?
Put my scruffy clothes on, curl up on the sofa and watch TV.


What do you enjoy on telly?
I like EastEnders a lot more than I should. Anything sci-fi or horror is good, too.


What was the last track or album you bought or downloaded?
The latest Sassi Afrika album is pretty good. That's probably the last one I bought. Either that or Kelela's album. She's a great artist. More people should know about her.


Which one website do you spend the most time on?
I search for things on Google far too much.


What type of holiday do you prefer?
Somewhere I can explore. I like going abroad, but it needs to be somewhere that I can explore, learn a bit of the   language and meet local people. I couldn't cope with a package holiday.
The Lake District is pretty special. We’re lucky to have lots of beautiful holiday destinations in the UK.

Quickfire


Who's your favourite film actor?
Tom Hanks. Or Tom Hardy. But only for shallow reasons.


What’s your favourite book?
A book I have about Star Trek.


Half empty or half full?
Neither. The glass is always full.


What’s your favourite food?
Christmas dinner.


And how about your favourite drink?
Prosecco.

Madonna or Lady Gaga?
Madonna is the only answer.


If you could take a selfie with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
George Michael. Or my boyfriend because he'll want to know why if I don't say him.

Warwickshire Pride takes place at The Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa, Saturday 18 August.

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