Tag Archives: Gay pride

Casual Sex Encounters? Tips for staying safe online & at #LeicesterPride

ChemSex

Image © 2014 TJRFoto

Protect yourself while having sex, it’s our number one message and it’s primarily directed around having safer sex in terms of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

This time, we’re talking about your physical safety.  When you’re meeting someone new while you’re at Leicester Pride or using an app then going home afterwards.  With Leicester Pride coming up on Saturday it’s a good opportunity to meet new people, maybe even ‘The One’ and update yourself on some common sense advice for meeting people for the first time, maybe even share this with a friend if you think they’ll benefit from this.

This isn’t the normal yada yada, it’s an unfortunate fact that gay people are attacked, mugged or worse, sometimes on the promise of meeting someone for sex.  I’m lucky, it’s never happened to me before but last year, a friend of mine was beaten up and was robbed in his own house, just for meeting someone online!  There are people who exploit online dating apps and I’m sorry but in 2016, homophobia still exists.  Here are just a few UK headlines from this month alone..

A lot of people use apps to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online..

LET A FRIEND KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON

If you’re one the lucky ones (the type of person who can hook-up within a few minutes of logging on), the chances are that you’ve probably got a friend that is equally as friendly as you are. So, put that friendship to use!  Take a screenshot of your next meet’s face pic then text it along with the address to your pal with a note that you’ll text them as soon as you’re done so they know you’re safe. The bonus is that you’ll have a record of all your online meets, someone to talk to them about and a printable face pic to put on a dartboard in case they end up being a time waster. It’s a win-win situation.

TRUST YOUR GUT

You know that feeling when something isn’t right, when you know that everything isn’t as it should be and you’re second guessing yourself, trust it! Most of us have experienced the sense of knowing things before we know them, even if we can’t explain how. Theories suggest you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” explains Jonah Lehrer, author of the book: How We Decide.

So when chatting to someone, at Pride, on apps or otherwise for the first time, your instincts can tell you whether or not there’s a “creep factor” that you can’t shake off. If you get even a hint that there is something not right about the situation, don’t go, find someone else, the internet is an ocean with plenty of fish, stay away from the sharks!

KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Everyone should know how to escape danger and how to protect themselves.  If you’re a small frame, and into the big muscle type then you’ve got to be aware that you’re at a physical disadvantage going into the situation. At the very least you should know how to escape a bad situation. A few self-defence lessons from a martial arts centre could make all the difference if you’re ever confronted in the future or worse, attacked by someone in your own home who you’ve just met online.

If you’re not interested in signing up to a centre, use YouTube instead.  Search for ‘how to protect yourself in a fight’ or ‘self-defence techniques’ and explore what’s there.

If you’re more serious about this, here’s a link to explore some Martial Art‘s centres in Leicester: http://dojos.co.uk/Leicester/ It’s another way to meet new people, have more social interaction and all while keeping fit and helping to protect yourself! Another Win Win!

AVOID ANONYMOUS ENCOUNTERS

It needs to be said, some people are very into the anonymity and fantasy of a total stranger coming in to their home and having sex with no prior discussion and we have to say that this is probably one of the most dangerous things that you can do after looking for sex online. If you think it’s a good idea to have your head buried in the pillow and leave your door unlocked while waiting for a complete stranger to enter your home then get over it. Now.

Engaging in this particular type of fantasy leaves you more open to robbery and sexual assault, and leaves you in the most vulnerable position you could be in. If this is really your thing, don’t do it on the first time you arrange something but if you do, you should tell someone what you’re up to as a safety net.  Remember, it’s safer and eaiser to arrange this kind meet with someone you already know so make it a part of a fantasy so you can have the good sex with only the idea of the danger.

HAVE A REGULAR ONLINE BUDDY

OK, so if you’re doing the Grindr & Tindr thing. Obviously there is always going to be the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time. If the sex is really good and you’re both into making it a regular thing, then why not use the app to reconnect with them? You’ve obviously both passed the chemistry test so now you have someone who can be trusted on some level that you have really good sex with.

(And here’s the dirty little secret about finding people for sex, most people actually want a regular partner to meet up with, even if they’re not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend).

So have fun “auditioning” people, and when you find one or two (or ten) that you click with, go ahead and put them in your phonebook. Properly vetted online friends with benefits can nullify the need for all of this advice so keep your eyes open for someone good to add to your black book – It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Are you going to Pride? What tips do you have for staying safe?  Would you add anything to this list? – Let us know in the comments.

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Gay Pride 2012

We would like to say a big thank you to all volunteers, service users, mentors and staff for all of their hard work and support at Gay Pride and at the many different events throughout the year.

Every year, LASS hold a stall at Leicester Pride to promote equality and diversity, alongside our message of safer sex. It’s a chance to see our work in the community and meet our workers in a party atmosphere.

Our “Size-O-Meter” worked particularly well this year, and it was nice to talk about what matters sometimes – Size which is often, one of the least talked about characteristics when choosing a condom.

As many know, men aren’t built the same, and neither are condoms, too small, and the condom could be uncomfortable, too large, and it could slip off. (Large condoms can actually be more of a problem than small, because condoms are extremely stretchy and normally fit well). Still, most men will be much happier using condoms that fit well, and to facilitate that, condoms come in a range of sizes.

Have you measured your size? Always wanted to know? – Then download and print our Size-O-Meter and find out. Of course, this isn’t a scientific measurement it’s just for fun, just remember to stay safe, and feel comfortable in the rubber you’re in! This year, we gave out 1,300 condoms of various size which also included 100 novelty and 300 flavoured condoms.

Rapid HIV Testing Service

The city of Leicester has the fastest-rising HIV rate in the east Midlands and the sixth-highest in the country.

Meanwhile, in 2009/10, national research demonstrated that community testing was effective in delivering tests to those at risk, preventing late diagnosis and thereby reducing onward transmission. As there was no such community testing service in Leicester, we set about creating one! – Since it’s inception, we’ve tested almost 1000 people!

Unfortunately, we were unable to provide our award winning Rapid HIV Service on site, however we still offer this service on Regent Road.  If you’re interested in having a free test, you can drop in, informally or call to make an appointment (0116 2559995).  We’re available to test during normal working hours, it’s completely free, confidential and you’ll get the results within 60 seconds from a simple finger prick test.

We use the Insti HIV test produced by BioLytical laboratories. The test is 99.96% accurate from 90 days post contact for detecting HIV 1 and 2 antibodies.

We’re no stranger to festivals and events, we’ve danced at the Caribbean Carnival, we’ve rocked at the Summer Sundae, we attend Freshers Fairs, Football Tournaments, Gay Pride, Refugee Week and many many more!  We had a great day, promoting safer sex, listening to to good music, made more friends, and Henna tattooed anyone (over 16) who wanted one.

Thank you, once again to all the volunteers who made this day an excellent success, as it has been in our previous years.

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Young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People face discrimination and negativity

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.

Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new poll commissioned by METRO suggests that despite huge strides towards equality in recent times, young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are still not able to be completely open about their sexuality and identity without fear of negative reactions and 65% of the population have witnessed or are aware of discrimination and abuse of LGBT people.

The same poll also shows that whilst awareness of discrimination against LGBT people is high, 72% of the population support the need for more and improved services for young LGBT people.

The poll of over 1,000 people of all ages across Great Britain conducted by Populus finds that:

  • 76% of people believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions when they are open about their identity at school
  • The same proportion (76%) believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions in the street when they are open about their identity and worryingly this figure rises to 84% of 18-24 year olds
  • 66% believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions when they are open about their identity at work
  • Nearly 60% believe that young LGBT people experience negative reactions from their parents when they are open about their identity

These findings are perhaps not surprising when set alongside other findings from the poll about discrimination and abuse of LGBT people with one in 10 people being aware of or having witnessed physical abuse of LGBT people and a third having witnessed or been aware of verbal abuse of LGBT people – rising to half of all 18-24 year olds.  The poll also confirms that the use of the term ‘gay’ in the negative is widespread.

The findings come as a national survey of 15,000 young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) 16-25 year olds is launched . The National Youth Chances survey is seeking the views of young LGBTQ people across England and will use the data to identify their needs and to make recommendations for change. National Youth Chances is the biggest ever social research and influencing project of its kind, aiming to find out direct from young people about their experiences of education, employment, health, community and relationships.   Youth Chances is also engaging service providers, service commissioners, policymakers to make a commitment to make improvements for LGBTQ young people.

Dr Greg Ussher, Deputy CEO of Metro said:

Metro’s expertise in working with young LGBTQ people over nearly 30 years was the catalyst for National Youth Chances. There have been major steps forward in LGBT  equality and in understanding the needs of young people, but as the findings of this poll show we still have a long way to go to eliminating discrimination and ensuring that sexuality and gender identity are not barriers to young people’s happiness and wellbeing.  The findings are perhaps not so surprising when we consider the questioning of equality in current debates about equal marriage, which must be bewildering for most young people. Youth Chances offers us an opportunity to turn things around and make a real difference.

Dan Baker, Youth Chances Project Manager said:

These findings really demonstrate the importance of National Youth Chances and the need for us to understand directly from young people themselves about the challenges they face. It saddens me that when young people need the most support and understanding, they still face discrimination and fear because of who they are.  I want to encourage as many young people as possible to take part in the Youth Chances online survey so that their experiences can be counted.  There is clear support in the general population for more and better support for young LGBT people and I am committed to ensuring that Youth Chances results in recommendations for change and a real difference to young people’s lives

Via: Metro Centre On-line 

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TRADE’s Pride 2011

Well done to TRADE Sexual Health after a very successful Gay Pride.

This year’s Leicester Gay Pride saw Trade Sexual Health join forces yet again with the Leicester GUM Clinic to present the Health & Wellbeing Marquee 2011!

They managed to launch their new and improved ‘Calling All Divas’ booklets, dedicating a whole stall to women’s sexual health.  Their new gay and bisexual men’s HIV support group ‘Hi’ V had its first outing, and we they also presented their new Kwik Prick rapid HIV testing service.  They had guests along from HMP Gartree, showing-off the ‘No Bars to Sexual Health’ joint project; Swanswell  Alcohol, Drug and Support Services; Stop Smoking; Leicestershire HIV services; and also Nuffield Gym to keep you all in shape, feeling fit and looking good.

The Rainbow Asian Project’s (RAP) findings had their first public showing within Leicester, giving everyone an opportunity to see how we can improve sexual health services for gay Asian men, and as always they had a huge amount of goodies and freebies to give away!

They handed out 700 Trade goodie bags and had a whole stall dedicated to condoms – some even glow in the dark to help you find whatever you’re looking for! They gave out roughly 2,000 free condoms to those present on the day, not including the 1,100 we gave away in our Diva and condom packs.

Via TRADE news letter (Website)