Something for the Weekend: Life in the Chemsex Underworld by Wharton James

Something for the Weekend: Life in the Chemsex Underworld by Wharton James

Author:Wharton, James [Wharton, James]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Society
ISBN: 9781785902291
Amazon: 1785902296
Goodreads: 36002677
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
Published: 2017-07-31T07:00:00+00:00

To learn more, I’ve come to the London offices of the Albert Kennedy Trust on Old Street to talk with youth worker Nathan East. AKT, as it’s more commonly known, is an organisation I have been fond of for as long as I’ve lived in London. It does the most incredible work supporting and saving the lives of homeless LGBT youngsters up and down the country, taking them off the streets and turning their lives around.

It’s named after a sixteen-year-old boy who fell to his death from a Manchester car park in 1989; a boy who had faced a lifetime of rejection and abuse because he was gay. Among its many supporters it counts pop star Lady Gaga, who visited the AKT offices in 2016, while its patrons include actor Sir Ian McKellen, The Feeling’s Dan Gillespie Sells and media entrepreneur Lord Waheed Alli. It’s hard to imagine an LGBT-facing charity that does more crucial work in supporting those who are most vulnerable. Recently, however, AKT has noticed a new trend among many of the young people it supports.

‘I’d say over the Christmas months, about a third of the young men we supported were coming to us and talking about chemsex, and had engaged in some sort of transactional sex where drugs had been involved,’ Nathan says.

‘A third! That’s astonishing,’ I tell him.

It’s across the board, we work with 16–25-year-olds in general, but I’d say it was mostly the eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds we work with who were talking about it most. Chemsex for our young people is more often than not transactional, but for a lot of them, if you mention it as a sort of sex-working situation, they would be quite shocked. They’re meeting people off the apps, and you know, we’ve had experiences of people being kidnapped, being held in a property against their will for a number of weeks; we’ve had someone who’s been used as a sex slave and trafficked. HIV – we’re getting a lot of young people dealing with an HIV-positive status. We had a young person who was having sex with someone for substances; they’d stopped doing it for whatever reason and the perpetrator started stalking them, but he didn’t want money, he just wanted sex. We had to get a restraining order put on that person. A sexual assault came out of that, so there was a rape charge brought.


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