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Monkeypox

There has recently been an increase in monkeypox cases within the UK, however the risk of catching it remains low. Monkeypox can affect anyone; however the majority of monkeypox cases in the UK continue to be in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), with the infection being passed on mainly through close contact between people in interconnected sexual networks. Therefore, these groups in particular are advised to be aware of the symptoms, especially any new rashes or lesions on any part of their body. If you have symptoms of monkeypox please contact a sexual health service or call NHS 111. For more information, please visit nhs.uk.

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LGBTQ+ Information

 

Welcome to the LGBTQ+ Information page

We are glad you have found us as this section of our Safe Sex Berkshire website which is packed full of information, advice and support for sexual and reproductive health queries related to the LGBTQ+ community. You will find lots of information about safe sex practices, how to reduce risk, as well as how to avoid and test for STIs and HIV. You can also locate pride events near you, your local sexual health clinic and find a directory of useful contacts who will be able to provide you with help, comfort and support.

LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning.

+ : The plus is used to signify all the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the first 5 letters. 

The LGBTQ+ acronym serves an important purpose - not only is it designed to be more inclusive, but it also represents the self-identities of people who are transgender and/or similar gender attracted.

Sexuality encompasses three terms:
1. Sexual orientation, a person’s attraction to the same, opposite or both sexes
2. Sexual identity, how people see themselves
3. Sexual behaviour, what a person does sexually

For more information on what sexuality means visit our Gender Identity page.

It can take time to explore your sexuality and make decisions about what you like and don’t like. Remember your sexuality is unique to you.

Language:
The language used when talking about sexuality is very important, it can really impact people’s wellbeing. No matter how a person thinks of themselves, whether that is gay, straight, lesbian, bi, transgender etc, they deserve to be treated with respect. It might seem like you will never know it all, it changes without you realising, or you might be worried about ‘getting it wrong’. But what is important to remember is language is personal; you’re meaning or use of these words may be different to how other people use them. 

Not everyone will be known by the community terms, so the most important thing is to be respectful of someone else’s identity and how they choose to describe themselves. 

 
You can find a list of LGBTQ+ terms here

Information from nhs.uk.

A sexually transmitted infection, often referred to as an STI, is an infection that can be passed from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) regardless of gender or which part of the body you are using to have sex.  

Most of the time you get an STI by having sex with a partner who is infected. Some can be caught through skin-to-skin contact, like syphilis, warts, herpes and crabs, whilst others, like chlamydia, are carried by bodily fluids (pre cum, cum, vaginal secretions, pee, blood and saliva). Each STI is different, for more information, visit our ‘STI (sexually transmitted infections)’ page.

STI’s are caught through unprotected genital and oral sex and any close up contact that involves bodily fluid contact.

Having unprotected penetrative sex is the most likely way to pass on a STI. However any one-on-one contact, such as close genital sex, or oral sex using the same hand or sex toys when touching yourself and then your partner, can put you at risk of catching an STI.

Read the information below to learn about how you can protect yourself.

This is when a man's penis enters a woman's vagina.

If a condom is not used, there is an increased risk of pregnancy and getting or passing on STIs including:

  • chlamydia
  • genital herpes
  • genital warts
  • gonorrhoea
  • HIV
  • syphilis

Infections can be passed on even if the penis doesn't fully enter the vagina (think foreplay) or the man doesn't ejaculate.

Shallow insertion of the penis into the vagina (sometimes called dipping) still carries risks for both partners.

LGBT Foundations Sex Guide: Vaginal sex

Please note:
Safe sex practice!
Always use a condom during vaginal penetrative sex to help protect against infections and reduce risk of pregnancy.
Click here for tips on how to use condoms properly

When a man's penis penetrates (enters) his partner's anus, male or female. Men and women can choose to have anal sex whether they're straight or from the LGBTQ+ community.

Anal sex has a higher risk of spreading STIs than many other types of sexual activity. This is because the lining of the anus is thin and can easily be damaged during sexual contact, which makes it more vulnerable to infection. 

STIs that can be passed on during anal sex include:

  • chlamydia
  • genital herpes
  • genital warts
  • gonorrhoea
  • HIV
  • syphilis
  • LGV (LymphoGranuloma Venereum)

LGBT Foundations Sex Guide: Anal sex
Please note:
Safe sex practice!
Use a condom to help protect against STIs. If you use lubricants, only use water-based ones available from pharmacies. Oil-based lubricants such as lotion and moisturiser can cause condoms to break or fail.
Click here for tips on how to use condoms properly.

Oral sex involves the mouth or tongue touching the vagina, penis or anus.

There's a risk of getting or passing on STIs if you're giving or receiving oral sex. The risk increases if either of you has sores or cuts around the mouth, genitals or anus.

Viruses and bacteria, which may be present in semen, vaginal fluid or blood, can travel more easily into a partner's body through breaks in the skin.

STIs that can be passed on through oral sex include:

  • chlamydia
  • herpes (which can cause cold sores around the mouth and on the genitals/anus)
  • genital warts
  • gonorrhoea
  • hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • syphilis

The risk of passing on or getting HIV during oral sex is lower than anal or vaginal sex without a condom. However, the risk is increased if there are any cuts, sores or bleeding in or around the mouth, genitals or anus.

LGBT Foundations Sex Guide: Oral sex

Please note:
Safe sex parcatice!
Use a condom as it acts as a barrier between the mouth and the penis. You can use any kind of condom during oral sex. Make sure it has the CE mark or BSI kite mark, which means the condom meets high safety standards. Avoid oral sex if either person has any cuts or sores in the mouth or on the lips or use a dental dam. A dental dam is a latex or polyurethane (very thin, soft plastic) square, of about 15cm by 15cm, which you can use to cover the anus or female genitals during oral sex. It acts as a barrier to help prevent sexually transmitted infections passing from one person to another.
Click here for tips on how to use condoms properly.

This is when a person inserts one or more fingers into their partner's vagina or anus. Fingering does not commonly spread STIs but there are still risks.

Cuts or sores on the fingers, no matter how small, increase the risk of passing on or getting an STI.

Some people gradually insert the whole hand into a partner's vagina or anus, this is called fisting. Not everyone chooses to do this.

Please note:
Safe sex practice!
The risk of infection is higher if either person has any cuts or broken skin that come into contact with their partner. Lower the risk by wash your hands before and after sex and by wearing surgical/latex gloves.

Sex toys cover a wide range of items, including vibrators and sex dolls. Any object used in sex can be called a sex toy, whether it's designed for this use or not.

Sharing sex toys has risks, including getting and passing on infections such as chlamydia, syphilis and herpes. If there are any cuts or sores around the vagina, anus or penis and there's blood, there's an increased risk of passing on hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Please note:
Safe sex practice!
It is important to keep sex toys clean. When sharing sex toys, make sure you wash them between each use and always use a new condom each time.
Click here for tips on how to use condoms properly

For more information on sex activities and risks visit nhs.uk.

Information from nhs.uk.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had sex, how many partners you’ve had, the gender of your partner, which part of the body you are using to have sex, or your sexual preferences; anyone can get an STI or HIV. Therefore, everyone should get tested regularly to ensure you have a healthy sex life. NHS services are free.

If you have any symptoms of an STI, you are worried you may have an STI, or if you have any concerns, speak to your GP, visit a sexual health or GUM clinic or order a home testing kit through this website.

A survey of gay and bisexual men by Stonewall revealed that 1 in 3 men had never had an HIV test, and 1 in 4 had never been tested for any STI(1).


Gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (GBMSM) should have a check-up at least every 6 months at a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. This is important, as some STIs do not cause any symptoms.

 

If you have had sex with multiple partners without a condom, or just the once and found that the condom broke, undiagnosed or untreated HIV will continue to attack and weaken your body’s immune system, leaving you at risk of developing serious infections and diseases.

If you're in any way concerned about your risk, get to know your HIV status by getting a free HIV test, order online through this website for a testing kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment with your local sexual health clinic.

For more information on HIV please visit our ‘About HIV & HIV testing’ page.

Sex is a normal part of most people's lives. Whatever your sexuality or preference clinics are not here to judge but to help inform your choices and to support you to remain healthy.


Florey Clinic

The Florey clinic provides a free, confidential, integrated sexual health service in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire providing a one stop shop for your sexual health and contraception needs.

A specific LGBTQ+ service is provided at the Florey clinic every Monday 4:00 - 6:30pm. A specific MSM service is provided at the Florey clinic every Wednesday 8:00 - 10:00am.

For more information click here.


The Garden Clinic

The Garden Clinic provides a free, confidential, non-judgemental, integrated Sexual Health Service in Slough, Bracknell and Maidenhead.

Testing and treatment of sexual infections (STIs), emergency contraception, HIV testing and treatment and emergency treatment following HIV risk (PEP) are all available.

You can access the Garden Clinic at one of these three locations:

Garden Clinic: Skimped Hill Health Centre

Garden Clinic: St Mark's Hospital Community Health Clinic

Garden Clinic: Upton Hospital

For all other clinics in Berkshire visit are ‘All Clinics’ page.

The LGBTQ+ community can often face many challenges in regard to addiction, mental health, lack of confidence, a fear of discrimination, and more.  

45% of trans young people (aged 11-19) and 22% of cis LGBTQ+ young people have tried to take their own life. Among the general population the NHS estimates this figure to be 13% for girls and 5% for boys aged 16-24(1).

 
Below is a list of contacts who you can reach out to for help, support, and advice.


Also, please visit Minds website for some mental health support tips.  

Support U

Our dedicated support team provide specialist resources for LGBT people and those affected by LGBT related issues. Our team can assist with concerns ranging from employment to sexual health and homelessness to counselling.

Phone: 0118 321 9111


Switchboard

The LGBTQ+ confidential support helpline via online chat, email, or telephone. A safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional well-being. They support people to explore the right options for themselves. They aspire to a society where all LGBTQ+ people are informed and empowered.

Helpline: 0300 330 0630  


LGBT Foundation

The LGBT Foundation provide a wide range of support services to lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. They also work with healthcare and other professionals to help make public services more accessible and inclusive for LGBT communities. 

Phone: 0345 330 3030

Kooth

Kooth offer free, safe anonymous mental wellbeing support for young people aged 10-25 in Berkshire. You will find helpful articles, personal experiences and discussion boards, you can also chat to a member of the team about pride, sexuality, coming out and more. Join Kooth online here
 

Mermaids

Provides a range of helpline services supporting transgender youth (including non-binary and gender diverse), up to and including the age of 25. They also support families and professionals.

Helpline: 0808 801 0400

 
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.

Phone: 020 7831 6562


Stonewall

National charity supporting the rights of the LGBT community in the UK through campaigning, lobbying and training. They provide information and support for LGBT communities and their allies.

Phone: 0800 0502020

 
The Proud Trust

Home of LGTB+ Youth. Helpful information covering a range of different things such as coming out, faith and religion, and staying safe. You’ll also find stories and experiences from other LGBT+ people.

Phone: 0161 660 3347  

Hidayah  

Providing support, education and welfare for the Muslim LGBTQ+ community.


Diverse Church

A charity offering advice and support for LGBTQ+ Christians.


Sarbat

Volunteer-led group addressing LGBT+ issues from a Sikh perspective.

 
KeshetUK

Support and advice for LGBTQ+ Jews and Jewish community. KeshetUK's mission is to ensure that Jewish LGBT+ people and their families are included throughout Jewish life in the UK.

 
Gaysians

Support and resources for the South Asian LGBTQ+ community.

 
House of Rainbow

A safe place for LGBTIQ+ people of faith in a hostile context. Fosters relationships among Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic LGBTQ+ people of faith.

020 8555 9222

Whatsapp: 07521130179

Karma Nirvana

Specialist charity for victims and survivors committed to ending Honour Based Abuse in the UK. They have a UK helpline for anyone who is affected by Honour Based Abuse such as child marriage, virginity testing, enforced abortion, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, as well as physical, sexual and economic abuse and coercive control.

Helpline: 0800 5999 247

 
Mens domestic abuse advice line

Men’s Advice Line is a team of friendly Advisors who will listen and believe you. Our team are available to offer you non-judgmental support, practical advice and information. Our focus is to increase the safety of men experiencing domestic abuse (and the safety of any children) by providing confidential support.

Helpline: 0808 8010327


Galop

Galop is the leading LGBT anti-violence and abuse charity. Galop has been working for 33 years to support LGBT victims of abuse, violence and discrimination through a variety of services, including a helpline and as the lead partner of The Domestic Abuse Partnership which is the only specialist multi-agency community response to LGBT Domestic abuse.

LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline: 0207 704 2040

Conversion Therapy Helpline: 0800 130 3335

Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS)

Are you, or someone you are close to, newly diagnosed? Don’t panic. We understand this can be a stressful time and with so much information available, it’s hard to know where to begin. That is why we are here. We have all the information you need, giving you a chance to ask the questions you really want to.

East Berkshire:                                      West Berkshire:

01628 603400                                        01628 603400

Whatsapp: 07853909611                       Whatsapp: 07853951836     

 
Terrence Higgins Trust

Find out about our work and HIV in the UK, get free help and order printed materials from our archive.

0808 802 1221

Every year there is a month (June) dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ communities all round the world. Each year pride events have grown bigger, bolder and prouder!

Your local Pride events in Berkshire will be held in Reading, see here for more information. 

Pride month is about acceptance, equality, celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people, education in LGBTQ+ history and raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

A huge amount of progress has been made in the fight against HIV, it is one of the biggest successes of modern medicine – transforming an HIV diagnosis from a death sentence to a manageable long-term condition. 

However, Pride is also about looking forward to what is left to do. It isn’t just about rainbows, parties, and concerts, it is a time to take meaningful action for and with the LGBTQ+ community and reflect on what more can be done to help those who need it most. It also calls for people to remember how damaging homophobia was and still can be.

Pride is celebrated in the month of June, as that was the month when the Stonewall riots took place.

On the 28th June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York, which resulted in rioting. Among the riot leaders there was a black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson, who helped lead the movement over six days with protests and clashes. The protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBTQ+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

This uprising marks the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ+ people.

Pride month is a celebration of people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, and how in some places there's still work to be done. Therefore, there will usually be colourful parades, concerts, marches, parties, workshops, fundraising events and more. 

Your local Pride events in Berkshire will be held in Reading, see here for more information. For events all over the UK visit the UKs pride calendar here, or you can find fundraising events near you on the Terrance Higgins Trust website.

Click here for a list of common flags seen at pride. 

Commemorations and memorials will also be held for members of the community who have lost their lives to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS.

Global Pride Day is 28th June and as with last year there are plans for live streams of concerts and showcases celebrating pride.
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