Simon Le Vans
From DJing at his local youth club the tender age of thirteen, to two weekly shows on his local hospital radio station and then working at Southampton University playing at student union functions, music has always been in Simon’s blood.
During his degree in Drama and English he got his first big break on the gay scene and worked at the Paradise Club in Islington, Heaven and Bang!
He was senior presenter and producer on the multi-award-winning Gaydar Radio between 2004 and 2013 and now presents a weekly show on Gaydio.
A true legend in the DJ box, Simon has worked at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for 28 years and is an experienced host and sound engineer.
What does your identity mean to you?
My identity as a very ‘scene’ gay man means a great deal to me.
I consider the gay scene, as it was labelled when I came out, my extended family. Sometimes my only real family.
I found it to be an utterly safe space for me to be who I really am – long before ‘safe space’ was a commonly used term. It had camaraderie, solidarity, sex and music. And music is such a large part of my identity too; from pop and disco through to house, it’s in my blood.
I had always enjoyed dancing at parties and clubs before I came out, but I found myself one of the only boys on the floor, I was an outsider. I soon discovered that the people who populate much of the gay scene were ‘my people’ in more ways than one. I really did feel like a stranger in the word until I came out and met my brothers and sisters and began to dance with them, live with them and love with them.
The LGBTQ+ community is indeed a very large part of who I am. When I joined its ranks, although afraid at first, I felt it very important to become politically active as a gay man to try and change the world for the better for those who followed me. You’d always find me at Pride, at ‘age of consent’ demos, at ‘Section 28’ demos and fighting for those living with HIV.
I can honestly say as a gay person, without my identity within the LGBTQ+ community (which very much included standing up for those who came after me whether they be gay, bi, trans, gender-fluid or any group ‘othered’ by mainstream society) I genuinely fear I would not have survived.