Submitted by Nigel Whitfield, BLUF webmaster, Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 30 December 2012
“Safe” is a word that’s used an awful lot by the gay community, but overwhelmingly in one particular context, that of preventing or reducing the risk of transmitting HIV or other STIs. That’s a very important thing to do, as I wrote on World AIDS Day.
But I also think that it’s not the only context in which safety should concern us. In London, and elsewhere around the world, there are all too frequent reports of people being found dead or seriously ill in gay clubs and other venues, as a result of drug use.
In some of the worst cases, the response of a club is to throw someone out, because they don’t want the ‘shame’ or unwanted attention that an ambulance at their door will bring. In other cases, people will just walk past someone slumped in a dimly lit corner, assuming they’re sleeping off the booze, and it’s really not their problem.
I think it is – and I’d like to urge BLUF members, and the gay community at large, to learn at least the basics of First Aid in 2013.
You might think that this doesn’t concern you if you don’t take drugs; but it’s something that can happen anywhere, any time. You don’t have to take drugs yourself to be affected by the result, and just because some venues seem indifferent, that doesn’t mean the community has to be too.
Perhaps you’re into some of the harder sorts of sex play – and if so, isn’t it wise to make sure that you know what to do if a play partner passes out or becomes ill?
Even in day to day life, knowing some basic skills can make the difference between being able to help someone and having to stand watching or, worse, walk away.
There are two basic things that I believe we should all try to take the opportunity to learn in 2013 – the recovery position, and hands-only CPR. Both are simple – as you can see from the links – but can also make a real difference when you find someone else in distress.
So, just as BLUF asked people last year to pledge to support their local leather bars, this year I’d like to ask people to learn some basic first aid.
There are plenty of courses available, through workplaces and voluntary organisations. We’ll also be working to try and arrange some courses ourselves – so watch this space, or get in touch if you want to help, and keep an eye on the BLUF Events calendar.
For many of us in the leather and wider gay community, safety first is an important principle. In 2013, shouldn’t we make sure that that includes the principles of First Aid?