Let's talk about gay sex and drugs in Liverpool

2015-11-23
For its first event outside of London, Let’s Talk About Gay Sex & Drugs is coming to Liverpool…Here, organiser Patrick Cash explains the decision to venture north: “Chemsex, the astonishing new album from Adele,” wrote a Facebook friend as his status recently. adele Embittered ex-journalist Fagburn made a characteristically tactless joke of the Paris massacres on Twitter: ​Tweet And there’s even now a whole movie named Chemsex who follows people online: Twitter ​ The term chemsex has become widespread in gay culture it seems, and not just in London. Across the UK it’s popping up as a buzzword. Only last Sunday an article was published on the Liverpool Echo with the headline: Headline ​ No one’s saying that Liverpool is the epicentre for chemsex outside of London. The problem is as widespread as the term. David Stuart, the UK’s leading chemsex expert of 56 Dean Street, will tell you how he travels across the country to train sexual health services on the issue, from Glasgow to Manchester to Brighton. But Dr Mark Lawton, Clinical Lead and Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at the Liverpool Centre for Sexual Health has said: “Chemsex appears to be an increasing problem in Liverpool with more gay men reporting injecting drug use. We welcome discussion about the issues and encourage people to talk openly when visiting the clinic to enable us to offer help and support.” Which is why we’re excited to bring Let’s Talk About Gay Sex & Drugs to the city, in collaboration with Liverpool’s Homotopia Festival 2015. The angle of the night is that anybody everybody gets five minutes and nobody gets more than five minutes. No judgement, and express yourself in whichever way you want, be it spoken word, comedy, drag, music or just telling a story. All welcome, whether to speak or listen. Let’s Talk About Gay Sex & Drugs - Liverpool is on Tuesday 24th November at the Armistead Centre, The Beat, Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 4AF from 7pm. Our featured speakers for the evening will include: Gary Barker Pic1 "​I have worked in sexual health and HIV for 10 years. During this time I have seen a lot of changes amongst the gay community. Bars are closing, sex is on demand wherever you are, and we have seen a rise homophobic crimes. In recent years we have also the increase in “chemsex”, which brings a whole new challenge. I work with a lot of gay men who are “coming out” or struggling to accept their sexuality. The people they turn to within the gay community can quickly introduce them to the dark side of sex, then they get hooked. But do they know what its like to have a loving relationship and feel loved? Unfortunately I am seeing these guys when they present with HIV, Hepatitis C or drug addiction. This is certainly not representative of all gay men, but if this is the first experience for many men who are new to the gay scene, as a gay community in Liverpool we need to support these guys in enjoying their sex life, embrace their sexuality and to be loved." Chris PorterChrisPorter "I am a social worker who works at the Young Person’s Advisory Service as an Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) worker with an LGBT+ specialism. I work directly with LGBT+ youth aged 12-25 providing 1:1 support and also working in and over-seeing the GYRO (LGBT+) youth groups. My professional objectives include increasing positive youth mental health and wellbeing, while reducing the stigma of LGBT+ identities and issues by providing specialist support." Also appearing:  Martin Fenerty, Service Manager for the Armistead Centre Shelly Stopps, works in Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust Words by PATRICK CASH More stories: ‘My first time on PEP was an eye-opener’ Watch | Joseph Gordon-Levitt locks lips with James Corden under the mistletoe