Today has seen another high profile case involving gay men and dating apps. Stephen Port has been found guilty of murdering four men he met through apps, along with several other offences including rape. It follows the murder conviction yesterday of Ben Bamford, and that of Stefano Brizzi last week. All three cases involved drug use, two in sexual contexts, a trend now known as chemsex.
We know that some gay and bisexual men have been worried by these cases, which have raised issues around consent and how to be safer. We have worked with Galop and Survivors UK to produce some information relating to chemsex and consent which is available here.
Although these cases are rare, we have been concerned following accounts from our service users of incidents where drug use in a chemsex context has left them uncertain of what may have occurred. GHB/GBL is a very dose-specific drug, and even small amounts too much can cause users to pass out and lose consciousness. If you use GHB/GBL you can find more information about it and how to reduce the risks associated with its use in our G-Aware pages.
If you are concerned about chemsex, or any aspect of your drug or alcohol use our advice is to seek support as early as possible. Our Antidote service offers free, confidential support to LGBT people, and can help whether you are looking to stop completely, or to keep more control over what, when and how you use.
Dating apps have become a part of everyday life for many people, and are particularly popular with gay and bisexual men. As relatively new technology we’re sometimes still learning how to navigate them. You can read more about them and our tips for online and app safety here.
The Police investigating the murders committed by Stephen Port have referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which has confirmed 17 officers are under formal investigation.
Galop has today issued a statement saying they passed on community intelligence to the Police related to the case in October 2014. This case therefore raises questions about how effectively the Police respond to intelligence from the LGBT community and investigate crimes affecting LGBT people. It is essential that LGBT people feel able to report and have access to appropriate support.
If you have been affected by any of the issues surrounding this case you can speak to us, or our partners Galop confidentially. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all the victims in these cases.