“Let’s talk about Sex and Drugs” is a bilingual (German and English) open mic in an open salon format from the community, for the community held regularly in London, Berlin, Zürich and recently Vienna. The topics involve stigma, prejudice, feelings of shame, and intimacy. Conversations specifically dive into sexual health practices, sex with substance use and sexualized use of substances (also known as ChemSex), HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV-negative people, and post-exposure emergency treatment. People are encouraged to share as much of their personal experience as they feel comfortable in an inclusive environment, organized by local activists, drag queens, Checkpoints and Aids-Hilfen/NGOs. The motivation of these events is to raise awareness of ChemSex, STIs, transmission routes, and test facilities, free from prejudice and prescriptive "morality." Additionally, these events offer a dialogue about sexuality, sexual identity, questions of gender identity, and consequences of our meritocracy.
We talked with Dr. Martin Viehweger, one of the founding organizers of the forum. Find out more about the ongoing conversation below.
Do either of you imagine this forum extending itself to other cities, outside of London, Zurich and Berlin?
Since we transferred it from London to Berlin, we understood that with adaptations to the community in each region, it can be transferred everywhere. We are about to plan Vienna on October 12th.
How do you imagine this project expanding?
According to the needs, the surroundings of each community [and] adapting to them. For instance, we are calling it “Let’s Talk about Sex and Drugs” in Berlin due to its diversity there, when the original in London is called “Let’s Talk about Gay Sex and Drugs”; in Zurich, we stopped asking the audience to come onstage [and we] pass microphones around, because the tolerance of shame for stage presentation in the Swiss community seems much higher.
Are you one of the organizers mentioned who have been described as "local activists, drag queens, Checkpoints and Aids-Hilfen/NGOs" ?
The original organizers in London are Pat Cash and David Stuart. Generally, we want locals to take over. In Berlin, it’s Pansy and I. In Zurich, Milky and Vicky, a drag queen duo, stepped in just recently [to co-organize with me]. In Vienna, Pansy and I will start again and see how the community reacts. The local supporters are mostly the Aidshilfen and venues that offer their space for free.