Navigating a Queer World

We live in a world that is largely made for people who are both cisgender and straight. In the face of this, queer communities have been able to develop rich cultures and create spaces for ourselves. These cultures have their own norms, and rules. 

This section talks about navigating the world as a queer man or non-binary person and all of the gifts and challenges that come with it!

Sex and Consent

Consent means voluntarily agreeing to do something and can be applied to any situation. It is especially important when it comes to sex and physical intimacy of any kind. All partners involved must freely consent to the activity, or it is non-consensual and even physical or sexual assault.

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Sometimes we use the term “free consent” to talk about consent during sex. Free consent means that all partners give permission freely without being affected by any other influences. 

For example, consent is not freely given if we feel frightened or intimidated, forced or coerced, or if we are drunk or high, sleeping or unconscious. 

A person who’s sleeping, unconscious, or intoxicated cannot give their consent, both in a practical way, and in the legal definition. This is true no matter how well the people involved know each other, including when in a committed relationship or married.

Consent is more than a one-time conversation! Consent has to be communicated regularly and can’t be assumed to apply to all activities or to future situations. 

We can consent to some activities, without consenting to all activities. We may say we want to have sex, but haven’t specifically said what we want to do. This is a great opportunity for a check in, ‘hey, I really want to eat your ass, are you into that?’ ‘Yeah, that sounds hot. Just so you know, I’m not into penetration. But I do really like oral!’

We can take away our consent at any time. No matter what, no matter when, and we don’t need to explain why we’re withdrawing our consent. We never have to continue if we don’t want to. If a partner changes their mind we need to respect their wishes and stop. Arguing or trying to convince a partner to change their mind goes against the idea of free consent. Each of us gets to make our own decision about what types of sex is right for us.

Many times consent education focuses on a verbal response. Yet, there are many reasons why verbal consent might not be possible. Other options we may want to navigate with our partners include: texting, sign language, body language. Whatever way we choose to give and receive consent, we want to be super confident that all partners involved are saying ‘yes’. Not saying ‘no’ (verbally or otherwise) is not the same as saying ‘yes’. 

If we are frightened, intimidated, or worried about facing an awkward situation, we may ‘go along with’ something we don’t actually want to do. If our partners are hesitating or don’t seem comfortable, we need to check in and make sure we’re not misreading the situation and forcing someone without realizing it. Don’t worry, it won’t ruin the moment – being on the same page will improve sex and intimacy for everyone.

On a dance floor or in a darkroom or  cruising or at a bathhouse are two specific examples of when communicating consent may not be done through verbal communication. 

Communication may happen through physical gestures like coming close to or passing by us, holding eye contact, rubbing or touching themselves or us. While nodding, gesturing, or pleasuring ourselves may be ways of consenting in these situations without actually saying ‘Yes’, ‘No’ always means ‘No’ and must be respected. Physical cues such as moving the other person’s hand off of us, pushing the person away, crossing our arms, looking away, and turning our backs are common ways to refuse consent in these types of scenarios.



  • Consent can be sexy, and doesn’t need to ‘kill the mood’. Checking in with each other is normal and leads to more enjoyment for both, and the more we do it the easier it becomes. 
  • Don’t assume that non-consensual actions are only done by the “bad guy”. We can all lack self-awareness at times, especially when we really want something or someone. Just because we have never heard ‘No’ doesn’t mean we have never pushed someone into something they didn’t want to do, even if we didn’t realize we were doing so. We need to check in with ourselves as much as with our partners.
  • Having had too much to drink is never an excuse for not being sure. Though it’s joked about in movies and TV, the reality is that someone who’s drunk or high enough to be intoxicated cannot consent to sex. That said, people often drink before having sex or meet already drunk at a club before hooking up. The line where someone has had ‘too much to drink’ is hard to pinpoint and often depends on the situation. Use common sense and be communicative, whether that be through verbal or non-verbal gestures. When in doubt, it’s okay to retreat to your friends, or go home to re-evaluate. 
  • Giving consent can feel awkward. When someone is asking for consent, it can sometimes feel awkward to say yes or no. If we find ourselves freezing up when someone is asking for our consent, go with your gut and you can consider saying something like “maybe another time” or “nah, I really like what we’re doing now”. These responses tell the person you are with what you are enjoying, and helps you avoid something you aren’t sure about. 
  • There’s a lot of different options when it comes to sex. We’re a diverse community and there are many different forms of intimacy that we can have with one another, from cuddling or sex using our hands and mouths, to penetrative sex and BDSM or fetish play! If we are not into a specific kind of sex that a partner is, we can try other options, or decide that we aren’t a sexual match with that person.
  • Some people don’t want to have sex! It’s possible that someone isn’t in the mood for sex, or they may simply not be interested in sex at all. If someone doesn’t want to have sex, it doesn’t necessarily mean they like you or not, and whether they want to stop interacting with you altogether. Someone stating they don’t want to have sex means exactly that. And someone asking for space or to postpone may or may not want to have sex in the future. Listening and practicing respect goes a long way toward building strong connections with partners. 


Within our communities, many of us have expectations about our potential sexual partners, and when and what they may disclose to us. At the same time, many of us also have information about ourselves we may want to share sometimes, and may not want to share at other times. We get to decide whether or not we want to disclose specific information, and we may make different decisions at different points in our encounters or on different days

Disclosure is always our choice, and can be very personal. There are also situations where disclosure may not be relevant. We also know that some of us may be concerned about how our partners might react to some parts of our bodies or experiences. 

Two common topics that can come up around disclosure are about body parts and gender, and our HIV status, although there are also other things we may want to communicate to our partners before and during sex. When disclosing information about ourselves that may come up during sex, we may decide to or not to disclose at different points when navigating sex. It is always our choice whether to share this information or not.

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For example, when we meet people in venues where we are going to have sex right away (think cruising, bathhouses, and spaces with dark rooms), we often have different choices available than when we are meeting people online. In online spaces, we may choose to share some information as part of our profiles or at any point when we are chatting, as well as during any in-person or online encounters we may eventually have. 

Those of us who are trans may decide to or not to disclose our trans status at different points while navigating sex. Some trans folks disclose prior to hooking up (whether in dark or back rooms, or anywhere else!) others once it becomes relevant in the sexual encounter, others may not disclose at all. Some trans folks disclose to sexual partners online, before any in-person interactions. As trans people, we get to make our own decisions: we do not owe anyone a disclosure.

In some specific settings, like bathhouses, dark or back rooms, people may not expect trans people to be there, and we may be made to feel unwelcome, or people may react negatively whether or not we disclose. With all this in mind, we get to decide for ourselves how or if we want to disclose.

In addition, some people in our communities expect us to disclose our HIV status, even if they do not ask about it, and even though there are a lot of sexual health strategies we can use to prevent transmitting HIV. One reason why people may expect us to disclose our HIV status is the legal obligation to disclose our HIV status before penetrative sex in specific circumstances. At HIM, we oppose the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure: it puts responsibility on people living with HIV that in reality, all of us share. Also, the law does not do anything to stop HIV and adds stigma to living with HIV which is harmful to many of us individually and to our communities generally. Even though this legal duty to disclose exists, it is not the same as a community or personal duty to do so. Many of us consider our HIV status to be private medical information and that doesn’t need to change during sex. We can choose the risk of facing legal action, and the risks of sharing our HIV status for ourselves.

When a partner chooses to disclose parts of their experience or identities to us, there are lots of affirming, sex-positive ways we can respond. We may want to learn more about situations and types of sex that are new to us before a sexual encounter, and we may want to do so through a resource like More Than Sex before asking our partners and community members to educate us.

Going Out – Queer Bars, Clubs, Parties, and Dark Rooms

Bars, clubs, and events have long played an important role in building queer communities. 

For example, some see the modern gay liberation movement as having started at the Stonewall Riot which was in response to police raiding the Stonewall queer bar. The Stonewall Riot was led by a diverse group of the most marginalized queer community members including Black, Latino, trans women, butch lesbians, sex workers, and homeless youth who sparked a new era of queer advocacy.

Even to this day, in cities big and small, bars are still places of refuge and acceptance for many of us.

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While some queer bars and parties are open to all community members, others will cater to people of certain groups or subcultures. 

Some bars and bathhouses are designed around a particular fetish or kink, and others are designed to draw in an audience based on the person’s age, body type, or interest in leather. some of these may technically be open to anyone, they may feel unwelcome to people not belonging to those groups. 

As broader society has issues of exclusion and discrimination, so does our community. There are now a number of events and spaces tailored to people who have and often continue to face discrimination in gay or queer spaces, such as people of colour, and non-binary and trans people.

Going out to queer spaces and having fun is important to many of us. That said, these spaces are not always set up to meet our needs or make us feel safe.

Bars, clubs, and events can be loud, crowded, and overwhelming. Though everyone attending is probably looking for a good time, our ideas of a good time can be very different. Some events are more openly sexual, where consent may not be followed in ways that work for us. Unwelcome touching and groping are common experiences among many who have gone out. That does not make it okay, but it is common. Moving someone’s hand away from us, or turning our bodies away from the person is a non-verbal way to show that we’re not interested. 

Drinking and drug use is also often part of these spaces, often with alcohol sold in the venue itself. These are also settings where someone may try to spike our drink, whether to have sex with us, take our stuff, or physically assault us. Some of us have had experiences where we come to realize our drink was spiked for what seems like no reason at all: this can be a confusing and disturbing experience where we’re left wondering “why”. While these are possibilities, we can take care of each other by keeping an eye on each other’s drinks to prevent this. If we see someone getting drinks for someone who looks like they’ve already had enough, we can check in with that person, or consider checking in with their friends or the bar staff or security. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the friends we arrived with and not to leave our drinks unattended.

Some venues have a ‘dark room’ or ‘back room’, space that’s usually dimly lit or entirely dark where people are openly having various kinds of sex. Many dark or back rooms are inside a bar or venue where the rest of the space is not necessarily sexual. We may go into these rooms with someone we meet in the main part of the bar, or we may enter on our own and cruise once in the back room. 

These spaces can be freeing for many of us. On the other hand, some of us may not find these spaces enjoyable. We can decide whether or not these spaces are fun for us – and this may vary at different points in our lives.

Those of us who are trans and non-binary may explore and enjoy these spaces like our cis peers. Disclosure can be challenging in a non-verbal and explicitly sexual space, and so some trans people may choose to disclose before entering these spaces, if they are bringing someone in with them. Others may choose to disclose once it becomes relevant in the sexual encounter, and others may not disclose at all. 

Disclosure of trans status can come with some safety concerns if we are not sure if the space we are in is welcoming to bodies that are not perceived as cis and male, or if we are not sure how this will be received by our partner(s). As trans people, we get to make our own decisions about our bodies: we do not owe anyone a disclosure. There are many factors that might come into choosing to disclose, or not, and when – whether we are in a dark room or backroom, or anywhere else.

Also note that consent in dark rooms or other explicitly sexual spaces can be communicated differently, including many non-verbal cues.


Drinking and Using Drugs

For many of us, drinking alcohol or using drugs (for example, cocaine, crystal meth, MDMA, ketamine, or GHB) is part of nights out. Drinking and drug use can lower our inhibitions and allow us to have more fun going out. At the same time, it can be difficult to figure out the right amount for us, or know how to navigate people around us who are drinking or using drugs. 

We don’t have to drink or use drugs in order to have a good time at a club or bar. There are lots of us who are sober or take a night off of drinking but enjoy the social (and physical) fun that can come with a night out.

Having too much to drink or getting too high can immediately affect our health in different ways. We may black out, get alcohol poisoning, or overdose. Although bar staff are not supposed to serve people who appear to have had too much to drink, they may not pay close attention or be able to get a good sense of that in party spaces. Also, if someone else is buying our drinks, they may never see. Drug use can also impact the way our bodies respond to alcohol

Drinking and using drugs impacts how we navigate sex and especially consent. By law, we cannot give consent if we are drunk or our drink has been spiked. In reality, many of us navigate sex with partners while drinking or using drugs. For some of us, alcohol and drugs can make sex feel better, and some of us prefer sober sex.


Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is unfortunately something that happens in bars, clubs, and dark rooms even within our communities. It is never our fault if we experience sexual assault, and sexual assault can happen whether we are sober, drunk, or high. If someone’s drink has been spiked, they are being drugged and assaulted. Many people don’t understand this, and others don’t care. 

Many of us visit or move to a city and are disappointed that there aren’t as many gay or queer spaces as we thought. Wider social acceptance and technological advances have changed the face of queer neighbourhoods and have led many queer bars and events that used to be there to close down. Still, they remain central to many of us as environments where we can celebrate our sexuality.



  • Go out with friends that you know and trust. Make sure you have each other’s phone numbers or have a plan to regroup and check-in later in the night. Try not to lose track of each other and let each other know if you’re leaving with someone, going into a back room, heading home, or to another party. Keep an eye on the friends we arrived with and their drinks throughout the night. 
  • Drinking can make a night more fun and is a powerful ‘social lubricant’, but too much can cause all kinds of problems. Overdoing it won’t only make the next day painful, it can also ruin your night if you lose your wallet,  phone, or dinner all over the cutie you were dancing with. Pace yourself, and try to stay hydrated by drinking water between alcoholic drinks.
  • Be mindful of how we treat each other when going out. Everyone has a right to their body and their own fun, and that may not align with what we want to do to have fun. ‘No’ and rejection needs to be respected and both given and accepted graciously. Everyone has the right to be there and have their own good time.

Seeking Sex Online – Sexual Networking Apps and Websites

Technology and smartphones have revolutionized the way that we’re able to find sex online. From Nexopia and Craigslist to Manhunt and Grindr, finding sex online has become easier and more popular. Finding a hook-up in the past might have meant getting up and putting ourselves together to hit the bar, the bathhouse, or the cruising trail, and now it can be done without ever leaving our bed. 

Although some of us enjoy how convenient it is to find a hook-up online, some of us avoid these online spaces for any number of reasons.

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Interacting online may encourage ‘app-hole’ behaviour. This is when people are rude, disrespectful, and even racist and bullying in ways that they wouldn’t be in person. Many of us forget that there’s someone behind the profile pic we’re interacting with. They are people who can be hurt by our words and treatment. 

Discriminatory and racist behaviour is so common on apps that some people have started seeing it as normal. Acceptance of those of us who are trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming varies widely, and we may need similar navigation strategies that we use in our every day lives offline. We need to really think before we type and send rude or discriminatory messages. 

Profiles that dismiss whole sections of our communities based on race, body type, ability, HIV status, gender expression, or trans status are not only hurtful, they’re also based on the assumption that all members of that specific group look or are the same: this is not true. Fetishizing people for those same reasons can also be destructive, especially if we don’t treat or relate to other people as members of our community but as sexual objects. This does not mean we need to meet or engage with people we are not interested in. It does mean that we are mindful not to degrade other members of our communities just because we’re not interested in them, and that we interrogate where our “preferences” come from and how we go about expressing them.

When arranging to meet someone in person, treat any potential hook up the way we would meeting any other stranger.

Consider meeting in a public place, or telling someone we trust what we’re up to. Talking to someone online and meeting them in person can be very different experiences, for better or worse. Many of us have hot and satisfying sex with strangers we meet online, and with time we can find a routine for cruising online that helps us stay safer and satisfied.


  • Be upfront about your sexual preferences: There are so many different ways to have sex, from activities to positions to preferred HIV and STI-prevention tools, to whether we like to have sex sober or not, that it’s important that everyone’s on the same page. 
  • Think of having your first meeting with someone you know only from an app in a public place. This can reduce the pressure and make it easier to leave if you have second thoughts or it doesn’t feel right. 
  • Consider setting up a plan with a friend where you agree to text each other to check in at a certain time. If you do end up going to someone’s place, or have them come over, it’s a good idea to let a friend know where you are going and who you’re with, so that they can check in later. You might also discuss what you want our friend to do if they cannot reach us, whether that is coming to where you last were, or calling someone else.
  • The photos you receive are not necessarily what you will see in real life. Pictures can be edited and even creative lighting and angling can result in an image very different from reality. Sometimes, the picture isn’t of the person we’re chatting with at all. 
  • Don’t feel pressured to stay if it doesn’t feel right or wasn’t what you were expecting. Chatting with someone on an app and in person can be very different, and we always have the right to take away consent or stop interacting with someone. It may feel awkward to get up and go, but it’s probably a better option than having sex we don’t want to have. 
  • Bring condoms and lube if you plan on using them. Don’t assume the other person will have or bring some! Bringing our own also means we’ll have the stuff that works best for our body.

Cruising and Bathhouses

Cruising can refer to finding a hook up anywhere, whether by making intense eye contact with someone walking down the street, at a bathhouse, or at a cruising spot. There are many places that over time become known as cruising spots in our communities. These can be parks, public washrooms, highway rest areas, or other places where someone can loiter, remain anonymous, and have sex. 

Long before queer people could find a hook up online, many of us would cruise or go to bathhouses to find sexual partners. Bathhouses are saunas designed to provide a space where people from our communities can cruise. Bathhouses often cater especially and sometimes exclusively to cis men seeking sexual experiences with each other.

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Cruising in public and in bathhouses usually result in the same thing: quick, anonymous sex. However, there are many differences between bathhouses and cruising areas. 

Perhaps the biggest difference is that in a bathhouse we wear nothing more than a towel, while cruising elsewhere will likely be fully clothed. Many bathhouses are often divided into a maze of rooms, halls, saunas, showers, porn lounges, and other common areas with specialized equipment. Some bathhouses have kink and fetish events and equipment.

Cruising areas in parks will often be divided between an outer area where people meet and cruise, and an inner more secluded area where we go to have sex.

Cruising areas that are public washrooms may be more anonymous, although this is not always the case. In bathroom settings, cruising may start at the urinal, or in a stall by placing our foot close to, or even under, the stall divider. If the person in the neighbouring stall taps their foot, and we can tap back to indicate our interest. From there, we may have sex beneath the dividers between stalls, through ‘glory holes’ in the dividers, or by entering the same stall as the other person.

No matter where we’re cruising, physical gestures and eye contact are important ways to communicate interest or decline someone else’s, often more so than verbal communication. Eye contact is the most basic: making and keeping eye contact or returning it communicates interest. Ignoring it, breaking it or looking away are ways of rejecting that interest. 

Cruising can happen even by making contact while walking down the street, and looking back to the other person once we’ve passed each other. If they also look back, we can stop to see where it goes. Further interest is communicated by nodding the head, smiling, gesturing toward a more private place.

In a bathhouse or cruising ground, further interest is often communicated by rubbing oneself or gesturing to a more secluded area. In a bathhouse, laying on a bed in a room or cubicle with the door open is often an invitation for sex. Invitations for sex in other cruising spaces include standing near or walking slowly within the inner area of a park where people are having sex.

Remember that consent is often communicated non-verbally in these spaces.

People may communicate interest by touching or rubbing us, which may feel violating if unexpected, unwelcome, or if we’re uninterested. We can communicate our refusal by moving or removing their hand, turning our body away, looking away, or saying ‘no’. If we’re not comfortable with this type of non-verbal communication and level of forward sexuality, these spaces may be challenging for us to navigate.

For those of us who are trans, cruising spaces can be exciting, challenging, and affirming – this can lead to mixed experiences, as well as outright negative or fulfilling positive ones. 

Some trans men and non binary people may seek out sex in cruising spaces like our cis peers. These experiences can be enjoyable and fulfilling, but can also pose challenges if we are new to this type of space or if the space is unwelcoming to bodies that are not perceived to be cis and male. Disclosure can be tricky in a non-verbal space, it is like learning a new language. If, when, what, and how to disclose is personal and up to the individual. As trans people, we get to make our own decisions about our bodies and when we disclose or not: we do not owe anyone a disclosure. 

Some bathhouses have policies that explicitly exclude everyone except cis men, some are inclusive of all men including trans men, but no other genders, like non-binary people, and some only allow us to enter on certain days (there are sometimes trans-specific events or days, or all gender days). Some also have vague policies or no official policy. And some are explicitly inclusive of trans folks. Regardless of the policies, if we are allowed in, we may or may not be welcomed by all who are there – we may find some people there to be curious in a way that is not affirming or we may experience rejection. We can also have positive experiences that leave us feeling affirmed and satisfied.

Cruising areas don’t have explicit policies, but cultural norms and expectations may be that everyone in the space are cis men. Depending on what sexual activities we are interested in, like giving a blowjob, we may find that being clothed is perfectly fine and can make it easier to find sex without having to disclose. We may want to cruise with a friend so that we feel safer in these areas.

The exclusion of trans and non-binary people from sexual spaces, such as bathhouses and cruising spaces, can contribute to isolation and stress which can have a negative effect on our overall well being. 

Though bathhouses in Canada are no longer raided by police as they were even less that 20 years ago, having sex in completely public places is still illegal, and local law enforcement like police, bylaw officers, or park staff may interfere. These encounters with law enforcement are impacted by many factors, including our gender, race, and Indigeneity- even though they shouldn’t be. There can be additional challenges for trans and non-binary people when interacting with police, the legal system, and jail related to our identification documents, gender, and/or bodies. 


  • If going to a public cruising spot, consider going with a friend. The two of you can split up to have your fun, but if something doesn’t feel right or goes wrong you know that someone you trust is nearby.
  • If going to a public cruising spot, consider letting someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. This way, someone knows where we are in case something goes wrong. 
  • Most bathhouses will have condoms and lube available, but often do not have a wide selection. Some, including those in Vancouver, will regularly have nurses available to answer questions and even give free and anonymous HIV and STI testing. Public cruising spots won’t have any condoms and lube available, so bring some with you if that’s your preferred prevention method. 
  • Being aware of your surroundings, like any time you’re out doing an activity in public, is important to contributing to a fun and safe time cruising. Be mindful of where and how you’re cruising and with whom, and if you may be in sight of non-cruisers who could bring your cruising to the attention of local law enforcement. Also respect the environment and the people who use or have to maintain it and clean up after yourself! There’s no excuse for leaving a cruising sight covered in used condoms, empty lube packets, or tissues! Bring a plastic baggy to put them in.
  • There’s lots of information online about where public cruising spots are, when they are busiest, and other important details. 


Poppers have been part of queer sex and socializing since the 70s. They are an alkyl nitrite liquid that usually come packaged in small glass bottles. Some types include amyl, butyl, or isopropyl nitrite. Some of us like the short head rush it gives us on the dance floor, but poppers are more popularly used during sex. 

Poppers are used by placing the open bottle near our nostril and inhaling, often covering the other nostril. Using poppers causes a sudden increase in blood flow and relaxes our muscles including those in the anus. This makes bottoming a more pleasant experience for some of us. 

Poppers are still popular among our community. 

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Poppers were historically sold in sex shops under a variety of different names. In 2013, the federal government began enforcing a 30-year law that effectively banned the distribution and sale of poppers in Canada.

A justification was never publicly given, but it may have had to do with Health Canada’s suggestion about potential risks associated with poppers use. Some researchers don’t believe the evidence backs Health Canada’s warning

There is evidence that the ban didn’t work: nearly 30% of respondents of the Sex Now 2019 survey reported having used poppers in the past 6 months.

Worse, there is some evidence that the ban has made poppers more harmful. Since the ban, people have had to rely on black-market poppers sold online or in-person that are not always produced correctly and can result in worse side effects than poppers before the ban. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these newer poppers may be causing central vision blindness and intensifying headaches.


  • Poppers are meant to be sniffed, not tasted or swallowed. Poppers are strong chemical liquids that can be fatal if swallowed. The liquid can also cause burns on mucous membranes, like the edge of the nostril.
  • Be mindful when mixing. Like with all substances, you will want to be careful with what else you take while using poppers. Poppers don’t go with erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra or Cialis: this pairing can cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to fainting, stroke, heart attack, or death. 
  • Know what you’re using. If someone offers you poppers during sex, it’s okay for you to ask them where they got them from and what they are made of. You may want to stay away from black-market poppers and stick to ones that were purchased in other places legally and brought to Canada.
  • Keep them fresh: some research suggests that older poppers that have been open a few weeks or more can cause more side effects than newer or freshly opened bottles. 
  • Remember your sexual health tools! Part of the fun of poppers is that they relax our inhibitions. You may want to dive right into the fun, but don’t forget to use your preferred sexual health tools.

Drug Use

Our community has lots of different perspectives on drug use. While many of us use drugs in recreational ways that feel good, there are also many of us who choose sobriety or navigate addiction or substance use disorders. Whether we are using or not, drug use is often part of our queer world.

Queer communities as a whole have higher rates of drug use compared to our straight and cis counterparts. This may be because much of our community activity has historically happened in bars and clubs, where drug use is common. But another important factor is how we experience stress and marginalization differently from our straight and cis peers.

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Why Do We Use Drugs?

Quite simply, many of us use recreational drugs because they help us feel good. Some of us use drugs because it helps relieve our stress or anxiety, making it easier for us to socialize. Others use it because it helps us have the kind of sex we most enjoy. Some of us use it because we feel isolated, lonely or bored. 

Some of us also use drugs as a means of escape, or coping with the world around us. Being queer and non-binary and of many other intersecting identities in a world that can still be very stigmatizing can result in trauma. Though it may not heal that pain, even briefly escaping with drugs may be all we want in that moment.

Many of us also use drugs during sex. For some of us, we consciously or subconsciously use drugs during sex because we live in a society where our sex and sexuality is often considered disgusting and shameful. It’s natural to want to feel more relaxed and less “in our heads” when having the kinds of sex that we enjoy. Using drugs during, especially crystal meth, is sometimes called PNP (party and play).


Party and Play (PNP)/Chemsex

Using drugs to enhance sex is known as ‘party and play’ (‘PNP’) and ‘chemsex’, especially when using crystal meth. For many people, crystal meth is super energizing and can make us feel self-confident, excited, and horny. It can also keep us awake for many, many hours and change our sleep patterns. 

Other drugs that are used separately or together when party and playing are cocaine, G (GHB), and/or K (ketamine) and others (MDMA, etc.).

Some of us PNP here and there without it having a negative impact on our lives. Some of us try PNP but find that we don’t enjoy it. Some of us PNP to begin with and after a while find that sex without drugs just doesn’t do it for us any more, and sometimes we have a hard time separating sex and drugs. Some of us never try PNP at all.

HIM also offers programs that offer other ways for us to explore how to have the sex we want.


Is My Drug Use a Problem?

Regardless of how we approach our drug use, it’s important to check in with ourselves and our communities frequently. Where to draw the line between drug use and addiction (also called substance use disorder) can be a complicated and personal question. While drug use can seem like a normal part of life, it can also be a destructive and problematic health problem. 

We might want to consider whether or not we are concerned about how much or how often we’re using, or if we’re missing out on other parts of our life because we’re using. 

We might ask ourselves questions like: is my drug use having a negative impact on my life? Are other people telling me that my drug use is a problem? Sometimes these are questions only we can answer, but we may also need the help and support of people in our communities, community leaders/elders or health care professionals.


How Does HIM Support People Who Use Drugs?

HIM takes what’s known as a harm reduction approach to drug use. We understand the complexities of drug use in our communities and try to reduce the potential harms that drug use can cause. 

Get in touch with us about our counselling and coaching services and see how we can support us in making decisions around drug use.

Want a non-judgmental information resource on some of the more popular drugs used in our communities and ways we can be smart when using? Check out HIM’s The High Life resource.


  • Don’t use alone if you’re taking a drug that can result in an overdose. 
  • Start slow and don’t mix. Drugs often take time to take effect. Taking small doses and working your way up is a good way of making sure you don’t take too much. Use your party drug before alcohol, so you’re in a more sober state of mind when using.
  • Check in with yourself and with friends, especially when using drugs, but also when sober. How are you feeling? How’s your or their drug use affecting your relationships?
  • Use safer resources. There are numerous resources in British Columbia that can help make sure your and your friends’ drug use is as safe as possible: access new supplies at harm reduction centres, help prevent fentanyl overdose by getting naloxone trained, or get your drugs checked for purity and fentanyl contamination at drug checking sites.
  • Don’t judge, after all the two drugs that result in the greatest number of annual deaths every year are legal and easily accessible: alcohol and tobacco.
  • Carry a naloxone kit for yourself, your friends, and your community. Naloxone is a medication and can quickly reverse the sometimes deadly effects of opioids like heroin, methadone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and morphine. Some of these drugs, like fentanyl, are sometimes found mixed into other drugs, so we may not know if we are consuming opioids unintentionally. It is a good idea to have a naloxone kit, even if we are using drugs that aren’t opioids. You can get a life-saving naloxone kit for free from over 1,000 different sites, including HIM.


Douching is a way to clean the inside of our anus or front hole/vagina. Because body parts (like our anus and front holes/vaginas) and body functions (like pooping) are stigmatized, douching has not received the attention it deserves. 

Douching our front hole/vagina, especially with over the counter products, is not recommended. We can think of our front hole/vagina as a self-cleaning oven. The only washing it may need from us is water to rinse the outside part of our genitals – not the inside. Discharge and some odors from our front hole/vagina is a natural part of how our bodies work, and these may change over time, especially if we take hormones. Douching, especially with products, can lead to health complications such as rashes and irritation on our genitals, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and vulvodynia as it washes away natural fluids and lubrication that help keep this area of the body healthy. 

We do not have to douche to bottom for anal sex. Whether or not we douche, traces of poop can be a part of anal sex. However, for many of us, preparing to bottom for anal sex involves douching. For some, douching can be unpleasant and make us feel stressed preparing for sex, while for others it reduces stress and help us relax (which can be very important for enjoyable anal sex especially). Whether and how thoroughly we decide to douche is up to us. 

Especially if we like to douche before anal sex, it’s important to remember to try to limit how often we douche to as little as possible since douching can irritate our anus which can make it easier to acquire STIs, including HIV in some situations. Tips on douching and how to minimize its negative impacts on our bodies are below!

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Some people have strong preferences when it comes to douching before sex. It can be helpful to get on the same page with our partners about our practices and expectations. It can be difficult to discuss how we clean our ass, or how clean we like the anus to be. The more we talk openly about this with our partners, the easier talking about douching and “ass play” will become. What makes us and our partners comfortable is more important than social pressure that often exists around douching.

Douching can interfere with the natural fluids and lubrication in the anus and irritate the inner lining, making it easier for us to get small tears and cuts, called fissures, and can make it easier to acquire STIs, including HIV in some situations. Keep an eye out for irritation, tears, and cuts, and consider limiting how often we douche to avoid these.

If we do decide to douche, there are many details to keep in mind. 

We may want to use a specialized tool. This tool is also called a douche (or sometimes an enema). There are different shapes and sizes of douches, from bulb douches bought at sex shops, to repurposed baby nasal aspirator, to a hose and nozzle installed onto the shower. What we prefer will depend on many factors and how often we douche. Choosing a douche or other tool option that’s easy to clean and sanitize is also recommended. 

Be sure to lubricate the nozzle of any douche we use. The nozzle is the stem that we insert into our anus. Lubricating the nozzle reduces the chance of tearing the anus. Tears may cause bleeding or make sex uncomfortable. Tears also make HIV and Hep C transmission easier, as they can provide an entry point to the bloodstream for HIV. Loosening ourselves up with a bit of finger play before douching can make it easier to insert a douche. We can also simply press the end of the nozzle against our anus instead of inserting it, often the water pressure will be enough for water to enter our anus without really inserting the nozzle.

Never use any liquid other than water or a saline solution when anal douching. This includes soap of any kind. The inner lining of the rectum is very sensitive, and liquids other than water and saline solutions can irritate or weaken it. 

Use lukewarm water. Water that’s either too hot or too cold can irritate or burn the skin inside our anuses. This skin is much more delicate than our external skin and can’t handle cold or hot water as well.

The amount of water that we insert is also important. The amount from common bulb-douche or baby nasal aspirator is often a good amount for each separate insertion of water. If we use a shower attached hose with a constant flow, keep the pressure low so it rises only about 5 or 6 inches if we point the nozzle upward, as it’s harder to tell how much water we have actually inserted. The amount of water we insert can also affect how deep up in us it gets, which may cause an awkward mess if that water is released during sex. Releasing water during sex can also happen if we douche using only a recommended amount of water, though it’s not as common. A smaller rinse out with a bulb-douche is generally adequate for anal play with a penis, prosthetic, fingers, or smaller sex toy. For deeper types of anal play, like fisting or using larger/longer toys, a larger volume of water may be used, although this will significantly lengthen the amount of time we are douching. 

Once we have inserted the water into our anus we will need to get it out (usually into the toilet as we would when pooping or in the shower). Some of us like jumping up and down a few times. Others like to keep it inside for several minutes to give it a good swish around. Especially if we haven’t douched much before that may be difficult, and we may feel that we need to get it out immediately. 

How ‘clean’ we wish our ass (the anus and rectum) to be is a personal question that only we can answer. 

Some of us will insert and expel water several times until it runs clear, while for others once is enough. The reality is that our ass is our ass, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to ensure that sticking a penis, prosthetic, or sex toy in it won’t dislodge something. To some degree, poop is an inevitable part of “ass play”. 

If you decide to douche before sex, try and do it a couple of hours before penetration. Water may become trapped further up the anus and will take time to be released and expelled. 

Less (often) is more. Though douching may help us feel more comfortable, it’s important not to overdo it. Health care providers recommend that we not douche more than once a day, and ideally no more than two or three times a week. Otherwise, the constant irritation can interfere with the inner lining of the anus and rectum and make it easier for it to tear and experience other health issues. 


  • Eat a diet rich in fibre and drink lots of water. Having a healthy amount of fibre and water in our diets will help our bowel movements pass more easily and leave less residue. 
  • Douching does not protect against STIs. There are urban legends that say that douching can prevent STIs, HIV, and pregnancy. This is not true: in fact, douching may make it easier for STIs to get in our bodies. Douching of any kind is for hygiene and comfort, it’s still important to find our preferred sexual health strategies.
  • Insert a sex toy or butt plug into your anus before douching to see if you really need to douche. Many times our anus has only a limited amount of poop or residue, meaning that douching may not be necessary. Douching may actually reach further up than necessary, moving poop from the sigmoid colon down and making our anus seem ‘dirtier’ than it was. Inserting a sex toy to see what comes out is one way to lower stress about mishaps without going to the trouble of douching.
  • Douching our front hole/vagina, especially with over the counter products, is not recommended. Douching, especially with products, can lead to health complications such as rashes and irritation on our genitals, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and vulvodynia
  • One douche per body part: If we decide to douche our front hole/vagina (not recommended), it’s important we use a different douche from the one we use for our anus. 
  • Poop shows up and it’s no one’s ‘fault’. We may not always like it, but “shitty dick”, body part, prosthetic, or sex toy is part of anal sex. To those of us bottoming, we have done nothing wrong if poop shows up, and have nothing to be ashamed of. To those of us who top, it’s unfair of us to expect that the body part meant to evacuate poop from the body will never have poop in it. Be nice, wipe it off, and laugh it off. We can’t play in the mud and not expect to get a little bit dirty!
  • Lay down a towel before getting to business. If we are concerned about staining your bed, couch, or carpet, lay down a towel before starting anal play and especially penetration. This will give all partners some peace of mind and make clean up much easier if poop does come out during sex.


As nearly any member of our communities knows from personal experience, our world is one that still oppresses and discriminates. Unfortunately, oppression and discrimination is not only directed at queer communities, but exists within them.

Just because we’re not straight and/or not cis doesn’t mean we can’t discriminate too.

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As queer people we are extremely likely to experience discrimination. Discrimination in this case means whenever any person, business, group or system decides that we are allowed access, participation, freedom, or rights. Discrimination serves people in power to protect and hoard their power.  Some of the largest movements for queer rights have emerged from resistance and rage against these oppressive systems. 

Inside our own communities, we might experience discriminations differently. Perhaps discrimination shows up in the ways that we talk about other people, who we have sex with, how we communicate online, or who we do or do not welcome into our social groups. Discrimination within our communities are particularly hurtful because we are using discrimination to reduce someone else’s access to community. Many have experienced discrimination, and many continue to discriminate harmfully within our communities. 

People of colour, Black folks, Two-Spirit folks,  trans men and women, non-binary folks, sex workers, cis women, and Indigenous people experience unique and elevated forms of discrimination and violence. There are times when a person lives with multiple intersecting identities and may experience additional discimination based on any one of those identities. This means that in addition to being queer, a person might also experience racism, or other forms of violence based on who they are and how they express themselves. 

This issue was so significant that Black Female scholar named Kimberlé Crenshaw created a lens to understand how power comes, collides and where it interlocks and interacts (Columbia Law, 2018).   Crenshaw conceptualized intersectionality in response to a series of court cases in the US that didn’t properly account for employment discimination faced by Black women. These cases did not consider that Black women would face multi-layered discrimination compared to women who aren’t Black, or Black people who aren’t women. Crenshaw has been a trailblazer for civil rights and Black informed policy in the US. We invite you to learn more from Crenshaw herself

Structural oppression is a term that essentially means: the oppression of certain people for others to hold control on a large scale. It also means that society is structured in ways that prevent members of certain groups from being able to access resources. 

Structural oppression is often enforced by governments, religious institutions, and lawmakers.

It has taken many forms: outlawing sex between people of the same gender and publically shaming those who did, regulated kidnapping and sale of Black African peoples as slaves and systems of segregation against enslaved persons’ descendants, the theft of Indigenous peoples’ lands and policies of Indigenous genocide, denial of legal independence to women, among many, many others. When we start to oppress people within our own communities, we’re participating in structural oppression and are helping to keep it alive, and it’s a major problem.

Some prominent structural oppressions include:

Ableism: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people with disabilities or favouring people who don’t have disabilities.

Classism: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people based on social or economic class.

Colonization: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against peoples who are First Nations, Innu, Metis, or any other preferred word to describe a land’s Indigenous population.

Fatphobia: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people who are larger or considered ‘fat’ and ‘overweight’.

Femmephobia: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against anyone perceived as femme, feminine, or effeminate regardless of gender.

Homophobia: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or other sexual orientation other than heterosexual.

Misogyny: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against women for their gender. A particular kind of misogyny against Black women is sometimes referred to as misogynoir. A particular kind of misogyny against trans women is transmisogyny. 

Racism: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people for their race or ethnicity. Particular historical racism against Black people can be referred to as anti-black racism.

Transphobia: Oppression, discrimination, prejudice, or hostility against people who are trans, non-binary, and gender variant.

Erasure: Erasing or ignoring people is more or less the same as being actively violent or discriminatory. By erasing and ignoring people in our work, and social groups we help structural oppression stay strong. 

Those of us who belong to some of the groups favoured by society (particularly those of use who are male, white, wealthier, masculine, and able-bodied) have a particular obligation to educate ourselves on issues of structural oppression and work toward addressing them. 

We need to understand how our behaviour can affect people who have faced a lifetime of oppression, and whose families may have faced generations of oppression. 

We probably know how it feels to be rejected for not being straight or cis. We can also imagine how it would feel to make it through that rejection only to be made feel unwelcome and discriminated against from people who are not straight or cis and we hoped would know better. 

What may seem like expressing a ‘sexual preference’ on an app like Grindr or Tinder is hurtful and often plays into advancing structural oppression to people who deserve our respect and mutual kindness.

If we are being hurt by oppression, we might like to speak to a counsellor who can support us through this. Much work remains, but through listening, committing to learning, committing to changing behaviours, and community organizing we can make a more inclusive community where everyone can feel safe and included. 


  • Being a member of one group that faces oppression and discrimination does not mean that we understand how oppression and discrimination affects all kinds of people. For example, being queer or non-binary does not mean that we understand how it feels to face racism, or that we cannot be racist. Oppression expresses itself in different ways and experiencing one oppression isn’t necessarily comparable to experiencing another. 
  • It’s inevitable that those of us with some kind of privilege will at some point oppress someone through our words or actions, even if we didn’t mean to. In these cases, our intentions don’t matter: even if we didn’t mean to hurt someone because of ignorance does not excuse it. Structures of oppression also act on those that they privilege to keep us unaware of how we’re privileged and how we can affect others. What matters is being accountable for our actions, words and being aware of our privileges. We can improve the community by listening when people give us feedback, not taking it personally and committing to changing the behaviour. 
  • Respect someone having the strength to call out your prejudiced or oppressive behaviour by not arguing and focusing on listening and understanding. When being told how our words or actions are affecting another person, it’s not our position to judge whether their feelings are valid. It takes far more strength of character to listen to each other and try and change our behaviour for the better than to close ourselves off and insist on being right and blameless.

Outness and Coming Out

“Coming out” usually means telling others about our queer sexual and romantic lives. It’s often seen as a right of passage for queer men, non-binary people, and queer people in general. It can seem like we’re expected to come out sometime in our teens and late adolescence, and change our lives based on out and proud identities. 

In reality, we know that being out is not so simple, and being out is not right for everyone. Deciding whether and how to come out is an ongoing process that will come up throughout our lives in different ways. 

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“Being out” can depend on how safe we feel by the people we’re surrounded by, where we are, and what the consequences may be. 

Some of us will never doubt that we’ll be loved and accepted by those closest to us. Some of us may live with great fear and be happily surprised. Some of us may not be so lucky and may risk being harmed, or cut-off from our family and culture. That’s why it’s important that we remember that not everyone can or wants to be out to anyone or everyone. 

For those of us who can be out, our first times coming out can be complicated. 

We might be afraid of being ‘outed’, or having someone tell others about our sexuality without our consent. Don’t forget that many people have come before us and have managed many creative ways to live their queer lives. These people can share wisdom and experiences that can help with our current struggle. Consider connecting with supportive queer communities online in forums, down the street in a discussion group, or over the phone on a helpline. Having doubt and fear about coming out, and what it means for us is natural and so it can help to get in touch with HIM and see what supports are available.

Ultimately, outness is complicated and different for everyone. That’s why HIM launched OutsideIN in the summer of 2020: to help unpack what outness means to different people, resources for those of us who are less out, and ways to support each other no matter how out we are.

For those of us who are both queer, and non-binary, trans, or Two-Spirit, coming out can mean different things at different times. For some of us, coming out as non-binary, trans, or Two-Spirit involves asking our friends, family, and/or coworkers to call us by a different name or pronouns; some of us may not change these either. 

Some of us seek out gender affirming medical care, take hormones, and/or have surgeries, and some of us do not – these are personal decisions and we don’t need to discuss them with others if we don’t want to. We might seek out online groups or local support groups to connect with others who share similar experiences to us. 

Those of us who are trans, non-binary, or gender diverse may be out about our sexuality, but not our gender identity, history, or medical aspects of our transition. Or we may be out about our gender, but not about our sexuality. One may or may not be related to the other, we may come out about one identity, and at a later time, come out in another way. There is no one path to discovering our identities and coming out, if coming out is something that we want to do.

Just as there is no one way to be gay, bi, or queer, there is no one way or right way to be non-binary, trans, or Two-Spirit.


  • There’s no right time or need to come out to another person. Try not to feel rushed, embarrassed, or ashamed. Just as it may have taken time for us to accept who we are ourselves it will take time to be ready to let people into our queer lives, and that’s perfectly fine. 
  • If you can, be strategic about who you might tell first. Some people close to you may already know, and may drop hints that they will be supportive when you feel strong and comfortable enough to share and disclose. With the internet we can now connect to people near and far who will be there for us in our moments of elation as in those of despair. Build a support network of people that you can depend on to be there for you, whether to celebrate or provide support in case things don’t go as planned.
  • Understand that not everyone will be supportive, or will not be supportive immediately. Some people will need time to process what you tell them, and may not know how to react in the moment, or may react badly. It can hurt, and we need to prepare for that. If we really are important to them they will face their own prejudice and hopefully accept us for who we are.
  • The internet is an incredible source of support and resources. Whether other people’s stories, forums dedicated to people supporting people who are less out or are coming out for the first time, or information on local organizations, almost regardless of what we’re looking for we will be able to find it. 

Sex Work

Sex work is work, and requires a specific skill set just like any other profession. Sex work involves so many different skills, and can include marketing and branding, photography and photo editing, administration, customer service, and negotiation— to name only a few! 

Sex workers are valuable members of our queer communities, and although sex workers have paved the way for queer rights, sex workers are too often some of the most stigmatized members of our communties.

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We may be surprised to find out that sex work doesn’t just mean having sex with people for money. 

Sex work can also include having sex with people for drugs, gifts, housing, and other goods. 

Sex work can also include go-go dancing and stripping, camming (performing on web cam shows), selling video or pics, selling used underwear, fetish work, romantic companionship, and other activities that do not involve having sex with a client. 

There are many reasons a person might do sex work, and some of them may be surprising.

Some of us do sex work because employers will not hire us because of our disability, gender, or immigration status. Some of us like the ability to work for ourselves and set our own hours, are drawn to the work because it meets our personal values and desire for sexual expression, or want access to drugs we can’t otherwise find or afford. We might also use sex work as a way of finding and connecting with other queer people, especially in street-involved communities. 

Every sex worker’s story is unique. 

Just as we may have many reasons for doing sex work, there are many reasons a person might hire a sex worker. 

We might want companionship because we’re lonely, or experience something that feels “taboo” or novel, to have sex with someone non-judgemental and sex-positive, to explore our sexuality while staying safely in the closet, to discover new kinks, to have sexual release with a professional, or because of stigma we experience when trying to find sexual partners. For example, we may choose to hire a sex worker if we’re disabled and stigma prevents people from being willing to have sex with us. 

Clients of sex workers often face stigma and shame, which can put sex workers in danger. 

While there is no criminal law against selling sex, there are criminal laws against purchasing sex. To hide from shame and criminalization, clients will sometimes hide their identity when hiring a sex worker. This secrecy puts sex workers in danger because it limits their options for pre-screening clients. We can all do better to address sex work stigma in our communities to better protect the safety of sex workers. 

Being an ally is an active process of unlearning and challenging stigma. 

We can be allies to sex workers in our communities by avoiding stigmatizing language and jokes, help others understand that sex work is not the same as sex trafficking, and becoming involved politically to challenge laws like Bill C-36 that put sex workers in danger. HIM practices allyship by supporting the decriminalization of all penalties associated with adult sex work.

HIM offers numerous programs if we’re a sex worker and are interested in finding some support.

Check out Transitions, a self-exploration program to develop skills, explore interests and passions, develop skills and pursue education, or explore other industries of work. We can also check out, HUSTLE, an education and advocacy program. 


  • Be respectful of boundaries if you’re hiring or know a sex worker. Avoid asking for their “real name” or questions that are disrespectful or compromising. 
  • Sex workers are business people. Don’t haggle once you’ve agreed on a rate. Doing so is exploitative of the vulnerability faced by sex workers. 
  • Consent is needed! You pay for a sex worker’s time, not ownership of their body. Just as with any sexual experiences, all parties must consent. 
  • Stop the stigma. Using stigmatizing language (eg: hookers, whores, prostitutes), or speaking about sex workers negatively contributes to the marginalization, stigma, and violence sex workers may experience. We can practice allyship by offering information and reminding them that sex workers are a part of our community.

Kink and Fetish

The ways that we express our sexuality and sexual interests are as diverse as we are. Some of our sexual preferences are seen as kinks or fetishes: sexual behaviours that are considered “unconventional”. While they’re important aspects of queer sex, kink and fetish are often misunderstood by those of us who don’t participate in them. 

Though kinks and fetishes are technically different, the two terms are often used interchangeably. 

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What makes something a kink or fetish is sometimes hard to figure out. 

More common kinks include enjoying or preferring sexual play that involves “gear”: leather, harnesses, jockstraps, sportswear, uniforms, and more. 

Or, certain sexual activities: domination & submission, role-play (teacher/student, locker-room), sucking on toes, and feeding or being fed (whether that be food, urine, or other substances). 

Or, enjoying sex in certain settings like: “dungeons”, dark rooms, outdoors, or in other public or semi-public spaces.

Kink and fetishes have long been part of our communities and are increasingly gaining wider acceptance. They have also represented a way that queer people resisted being told which sex was “good” and which sex was “bad”. 

Many of us have a biased image of what fetish may mean without having any personal experience. Many of us assume that those who practice fetishes and have kinky sex are somehow “wrong”, “weird” or even mentally ill. Sound familiar? 

This is the same language used to marginalize queer sexualities. The reality is that fetishes are often perfectly natural and healthy expressions of a person’s sexuality, and certainly nothing deserving judgement. 

Those of us who enjoy kink and fetishes consider ourselves part of one or more kink communities. 

These communities are often tight-knit and social gatherings and play parties tend to centre the importance of consent and open communication between partners. Belonging to one kink community does not mean that we don’t have an interest in other kinks.


  • Keep an open mind. If we are new to kinks and fetishes, we may be surprised that some of your friends are into kinks or fetishes. Not only that, but we may develop an interest in kink and fetish as we spend more time with other queer people!
  • Kink or fetish spaces may not be gay or queer spaces or accepting of trans people. Though many may operate on open or ‘pansexual’ principles others will not, whether being exclusively gay, straight, or cisgender. Be sure to ask before making assumptions about how accepting of us a space or event will be. 
  • Online resources are a good way we can learn about kink and fetish communities. Read up on how to practice kink in ways that work for you before experimenting with something new to protect yourself and your partner(s). Most bigger cities have local groups that hold events. Though it may be intimidating, people involved in organizing these groups and events are often very happy to help orient new members to the local scene. You can also Get Kinky with HIM at our kink education series multiple times a year!