London LGBT Forum Network Meeting
Committee Room 2 
December 3rd 2018 18.00

City Hall
The Queen’s Walk,
London
SE1 2AA

Attendees

Pip Salvador Jones                            Barking & Dagenham

Tom Williams                                     Barking & Dagenham

Karl Ecott                                            Bromley

Tessa Haves Strong                          Camden & Islington

Laks Mann                                          Lambeth

Eddie Reynolds                                  London LGBT+ Community Centre

Susan Hailes                                       Lewisham

Nathan Lewis                                     Southwark & Vice Chair of the Forums Network

Mark Healey                                       Rainbow Boroughs

Martyn Richards                                Redbridge

Nicola Puma                                       Tower Hamlets

Patricia Curtis                                     Transpals

Callum Henderson                             Transpals

Richard Aldridge                                 Wandsworth

Suzanna Hopwood                             Wandsworth

David Robson                                      Wandsworth and Chair of the Forum Network

Martin Pendergast                              Westminster

David Van de Velde                             Westminster

Guests

David Stuart                                        56 Dean Street

Laila El-Metoui                                    Tower Pride

Leonie Cooper                                    London Assembly Member

Tom Copley                                         London Assembly Member

Chrissie Alley

Minutes (Draft)

  1. Welcome/Apologies
    DR welcomed attendees to the meeting.
    Apologies were given from:
    Christopher Geake (LGBT Humanists), Patrick Lyster Todd (Merton), Laura Fox (Richmond) Luckasz Konieczka (West London LGBT Forum) Niranjan Katmur (Wise Thoughts,
  2. Matters Arising 
  • Met Police Meeting – October 2018 (ALL)

Feedback so far from Forum members has been that the Police meeting was good. Whilst last minute, there was good dialogue and attendance from Forum members at the New Scotland Yard meeting. Thanks are to be given to SH (Lewisham) for the report created after the meeting.

One issue raised was the borough mergers and plans to get rid of LGBT Liaison staff. Lee Hawkins from the internal Met has left the position of Chair of the MET LGBT Network.

Tasks

  1. London LGBT+ Forum members are to find out who their London Hate Crime Coordinators will be for their regions.
  2. DR & SH to find out who will be taking over from Lee Hawkins.
  • Hate Crime Week – Mark Healey

MH has confirmed that 17-24-30 will be marking the 20th anniversary of the London Nail Bomb Attacks. A provisional date for this has been given as 13th October 2019. Further information will be given in the 17-24-30 newsletter.

2) Guest Speaker: 56 Dean Street Presentation – David Stuart

David provided a presentation on chemsex. A lively discussion with questions followed. Notable points from the presentation include:

  • Chemsex is a growing community crisis arising over the past few years. There are only two cities that have been counting deaths due to chemsex, London and Lyon, France.  In London there have been 20 deaths attributed to Chemsex, with four alone in October. Services to support it started at 56 Dean Street. They have been overwhelmed by specific drugs used by gay men. 
  • No city has had a chemsex health advisor team. Comparatively, if a person contracted gonorrhoea four times in one year, the HAT provide psycho-social support to reduce and change behaviour.
  • Chemsex is a problem that has connections to rejection, the online gay community, hook-up culture and the pressure of sexual performance; the drugs are used to mask and give confidence around these issues. 56 Dean Street therefore has taken up a role of looking at supporting chemsex clients in behaviour change.
  • Ten sexual health clinics in the past year have closed.
  • Gay men engaging in chemsex may not arise as high risk behaviour in a drug service. Sexual health clinics don’t miss this important information, and have interventions around sexual habits/behaviour, that may not present as high risk in a drug and alcohol service. 
  • Chemsex can involve issues such as rape, consent, denial and body-shaming. A wider question is ‘Where do men go to discuss these issues within the gay community?’
  • One way of trying to circumvent this trend is to use community leader to lead and publicise important discussions around LGBT+ issues.
  • Barking and Dagenham are better informed about chemsex then others due to the Stephen Port case. A further 58 additional cases are being investigated that may be linked to him. A tool is being developed that ensures anyone who is related/relating to chemsex to ensure moral judgements don’t thwart progress of cases.
  • The inquest may take place outside London; Stephen is currently in the process of appealing his conviction. 

A question and answer session followed the presentation. Questions and points made from the Forums include:

Camden

Some victims don’t want to come forward due to the fear of being prosecuted for drug possession. This is not the case if there is a suspected assault or rape involved. 

Lambeth

  1. Are MOC (Men of Colour) going under the radar, and is there a resultant lack of co-ordination between services around this. Is there underreporting as some people don’t identify as gay?
  2. MOC are disproportionately affected by chemsex. Where it occurs, it usually induces mental health issues.  A popular misconception about 56 Dean Street is that it is only seen as the place to go for support ‘only if you are super gay.’ Let’s Talk About People of Colour is a monthly event taking place at Ku Bar to try to involve seldom heard communities around important issues within the LGBT community.

The half-life of the chemicals makes it hard to conform that someone has died due to a particular ‘chemsex drug’. Education is needed for coroners so they are able to correctly identify where chemsex has had a role in someone’s death. There is currently dialogue going on, but it’s not going very well.

Lewisham

  1. Is there a service people can go to that is available now that Afterparty is closed?
  2. Not at midnight, unless you are part of an ‘Anonymous’ group.An increasing problem with chemsex is the growing number of mixed parties with women. At any which weekend, there are around six parties, and the homeless are now using these parties as an opportunity to have a roof over their head for the weekend.

In the NHS, there are reports of staff using faith to condemn those using local services, forcing people to leave these local services. This issue has been going on for a long time.

Wandsworth

  1. Q. Can we get Chemsex in the Mayor’s Office Question Time? Is this also something for the Health Committee to look at?
  2. A. Tom Copley has already raised the issue of chemsex in the Mayor’s Office Question Time. Tom and Leonie Cooper can look into how it can be raised with the Health Committee

Tom Copley

  1. Q. We know that amongst young people, drink & drug use is decreasing. Is this the same for gay youth?
  2. A. Chemsex seems to affect all ages , whether old or young.

Task

DR to ask LC and TC to write a letter to Health Committee expressing concerns around chemsex, and to get further information on the progress since they held an event on LGBT mental health two years ago.

3) Forum Information Sharing

Camden

They have introduced healthcare surgeries that take place the 2nd Wednesday of every month

An inter-borough quiz night is also being planned for February 2019

Westminster

MP is standing down as chair of the forum; DVDV will be taking over as chair in January 2019.

MP will still be involved with the forum and has just helped them to develop a three-year strategy, looking at how to engage with businesses and Westminster Council. The forum will be meeting every two months; the next meeting will be taking place in January 2019 at a date TBC.

Wandsworth

Launching a Chemsex peer support service on Friday, 25th January 2019 from 6:00-8:00pm. This has been funded by a local Charity.

There will be a new sexual health centre opening at 160 Falcon Road in Battersea. As well as Wandsworth, it will also serve Croydon, Merton and Richmond.

They also attended a Trans Day of Remembrance event hosted by LGBT Humanists.

Humanists

Did not attend meeting.

Tower Hamlets Staff London Local Authority Staff Network (February 2019)

It started on 1st September 2018.

They are working on an LGBT practitioners’ forum in conjunction with ELOP, and is also looking at addressing the needs of local migrant communities.

They are looking to develop a London Councils Staff LGBT Network event in February 2019, and is inviting the Heads of Equalities if no Network exists in a council. David Robson has been invited to represent the London LGBT+ Forums’ Network.

AOB

DR requested that Forum Updates for the March meeting be sent to him in advance of the meeting. This is so it can be given fair time in Chairing the meeting.

Pride in London would be approached as the March Guest Speaker. The Aids Memorial Campaign was also considered to be relevant to this group.

DR also asked for ideas for future guest speakers. SH suggested something on the issue of LGBT Homelessness (Albert Kennedy, Stonewall Housing or the Outside Project.)

End of meeting

Next Meeting Dates

4th March CR1

3rd June CR1

Message of support from the Mayor of London

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