About this website
Exasperated by questionable and unrewarding Internet search results, we’re a group of gay men who wanted health, life, and well-being stuff in one place. So, we got off our arses to build an independent free-access website that joins up the dots of our needs: a hub to further support and information.
MEN R US is an encyclopaedic life manual, and our take on what it is to be gay today. It’s not perfect, it’s sometimes messy, but it’s ours! We also wanted content that isn’t dumbed-down, drained of humour, or edited to within an inch of its life. And we really didn’t want ads, pop-ups, and banners.
The funding has only gone so far which is why content is more London-centric though this is starting to change, and we are including more LGBT+ content.
Some of us are living with HIV and/ or HCV (Hepatitis C) so, above all, this is our narrative and our story.Back to top
MEN R US is written and edited by gay men, all volunteers, with additional content (used with permission) from a wide range of organisations and community groups in fields of health, health promotion, sexual health, HIV prevention, substance use, and the LGBT community.Back to top
Q: When did it start?
A: Developing the project proper started in 2011, writing in 2012, while funding was secured in 2014. MENRUS.CO.UK was built in 2015 and launched on 1st November.
Q: What did it cost?
A: £10,000 initially grant for a bespoke website built in WordPress, and a computer (2014) and a second £10,000 grant (2016) is allowing us to develop the website (2016/ 2017).
Q: How big are you?
MEN R US is made up of seven key sections: YOU, MEN, BODY, SEX, STIs, DRUGS and MORE with 224,425 words (20/11/20). Checked and corrected monthly, the website contains just over 12,049 hyperlinks. We aim to have no more than .2% broken links at any one time (thanks to Tom). At an average reading speed (250-300 words/ minute) it will take you about 13 hours to read MEN R US in one go – without clicking the links or watching any of the films. The website has doubled in size since 2015, with MORE added in 2018.
Q: Why is the website so London focused?
A: The funding has only gone so far and it’s our home. More funding and we’ll go further afield.
Q: Who funds you?
A: Running costs are met by a core grants from MAC AIDS (2017-2020), and the project receives voluntary donations which are invaluable.
Q: Are you a charity?
A: No. MEN R US is part of the Gay Men’s Health Collective (GMHC) which is a company limited by guarantee and community interest company. GMHC is working towards becoming a charity.
Q: Where are you based?
A: We don’t have a street office as such. However, based in central London we work from each others’ homes when we need to – we’re friendly that way. We also work out of the Release office in Aldgate two days a week.
Q: Who writes, runs and updates the site?
A: Volunteers, though we think of ourselves as informed gay men, certainly not experts. If we need help we go get it. Overall, GMHC operates its three projects with 77 hours/ week (approx).
Q: What happens if something is wrong or I’d like to see something added?
A: Let us know and see what we can do. MEN R US is not perfect, it’s part of our charm.
Q: How can I help?
A: Email us. We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help write, edit, update and proof.
Last updated: 20/11/20Back to top
A glimpse into our world
If you’d like a glimpse of what makes us tick and smile then watch this selection of short films. Enjoy!The Arrow | Damian Siqueiros | 25 Aug 2016 | 4m 43s
Understanding | Washington Reader Award 2016 | 2m 59s
The Language of Love | Kim Ho | 11 Apr 2013 | 9m 28s
Panti’s Noble Call | The Abbey Theatre | 2 Feb 2014 | 10m 47s
Ronni and I | Guy Shalem | 26 Mar 2013 | 20m 56s
Generations HIV | Ryan, 1972, (#548) | 31 May 2015 | 2m 13s
Open Mic | Adam Tyree | 30 Jan 2019 | 16m 27s
Together | Three Flying Piglets | 2015 | 2m 54s
Get It On | Durex | 25 May 2009 | 30s
Young Love | Eli Lieb | 10 Jul 2013 | 3m48s
Tea and Consent | Thames Valley Police | 16 Nov 2015 | 2m 46s
Be Carefree, Not Careless | WEEKDAY x RFSU | 20 Oct 2014 | 2m 7s
Ormie the Pig | Arc Productions | 31 Oct 2013 | 3m58s
Alchemy | Three Flying Piglets | 13 Oct 2013 | 1m 46s
London in 1927 & 2013 | Simon Smith | 30 Dec 2013 | 6m 2s
Couple Caught By Mother | Unnatural Acts | 20 May 2014 | 2m 35s
The Gay Men Project | Kevin Truong | 10 Nov 2014 | 7m 07s
And the Band Played On | Final Scene | HBO | 8 Feb 2009 | 4m 27s
Alien Song | Victor Navone | 24 Apr 2007 | 1m Back to top
Walter Walrus artwork
No hesitation in giving a shout out to WW, a London residing freelance queer artist. A gifted illustrator in his own right, WW also has the rare knack of visualising the impossible into a slick elegant relatable comic book-style format.
A founding GMHC volunteer, WW has been instrumental in defining the style and tone for our extensive work on chemsex, and safer chemsex booklet, particularly (seven editions over five years).Safer Chemsex Booklet | PDF | 2020
He is also a keen cyclist and storyteller, dog person and disco fanatic, and collects short shorts in his downtime. GMHC doesn’t hesitate to support WW in his work and we urge you to use him (terms and conditions apply).
Contact him via Instagram or our contact page.Walter Walrus @wwoflgbt Back to top
Acknowledgements and thanks
Huge thanks to the volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours researching, writing, editing and proofing content. Special thanks to Creative Conceptions, Exchange Supplies, Global Drug Survey, Gay Men Fighting AIDS, NAM Aidsmap, National AIDS Trust, Release, Slate, Wikipedia, Work In Process, and Men’s Sexual Health which sadly closed in early 2014.Back to top
Illustrating this website has been challenging on a shoestring budget. The majority of photographs (including diagrams and illustrations) are paid for from 123RF royalty-free stock photos. Many of the photographs of naked men (eg: SEX and STIs) are sourced from Butch Dixon and UK Naked Men who kindly gave us permission to use photographs from film shoots.
Other sources are acknowledged accordingly. Please let us know if we have credited incorrectly. It will be the sin of omission rather than any attempt on the part of MEN R US to defraud or pass off. No assumptions should be made about the sexuality, HIV status or views of individuals or organisations featured on MEN R US.Back to top
Press and Media
PLAY SAFER (DRUG USE) CAMPAIGN
Linked to information, guidance and support pages, a series of eight 30-second film messages aim to inform gay and bi men about some of the risks associated with recreational drug use and chemsex. In particular, the use of ‘G’ to spike drinks and lubricant, understanding the police do attend with ambulances accidental overdoses callouts and knowing how to hook-up more safely.
Information, guidance and support
Information, guidance, and support can be found under key headings, links to related content:
- What safer drug use and harm reduction looks like
- Using GHB and GBL, including spiking drinks and lubricants
- Calling 999, ambulance callouts, and the police
- Sex and consent, and safer hook-ups
- Sexual health, and safer chemsex
- Drug, alcohol, and chemsex, support services
Though ‘G’ is used recreationally facilitate and enhance sex, there are ongoing concerns about its use in spiking drinks and lubricants. Spiking is when alcohol or drugs are added to a person’s drink without their knowledge with the intention of sexual assault or rape. This is against the background of the convictions of Stephen Port, Gerald Matovu and Brandon Dunbar for murder, and Reynhard Sinaga for multiple rapes; and there are reported cases of sexual assaults combined with other crimes, including theft and burglary: UK ramping up its efforts to tackle a wave of chemsex crimes; Buzzfeed, 12/03/20.
“Play Safer is a valuable tool to help and inform some younger friends of mine experimenting on the gay scene in London (yes even in a pandemic). Boys will be boys and I don’t always have a structured approach or the patience to enumerate all the common sense advice I have picked up over the years to navigate gay life. My memory is not what it once was and I hate nagging. MENRUS.CO.UK is my ultimate cheat sheet.” LO, London
“Frank, easy to read, and packed full of practical information. The guys writing this have taken time to research something which ‘does what it says on the tin’. Anyone looking for help should find it here.” MS, Uxbridge
“Found some of the legal information; regarding processes with the police and ambulance, really interesting and something about I had no knowledge of before. Play Safer is a mine of hugely useful information.” CB, Watford
“Who hasn’t hooked up without telling anyone? Who hasn’t accepted a drink or drugs without knowing what you’re taking from someone you don’t really know? Just tell a mate you’ve got lucky, know when and what your taking, and set yourself limits. It’s a start. I’ve volunteered for this campaign and none of this makes for comfortable reading. But its goal is simple: ensure gay and bi men play safer and don’t become statistics.” JD, London
“The LGBT+ Advisory Group welcomes the ‘Play Safer’ campaign. We have been concerned about the developments in the use of ‘G’ to spike drinks and lubricant to incapacitate victims. Whereas the media has raised the profile of these issues, this campaign will give much needed practical and useful harm reduction advice to our community.” LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group
Films made by volunteers, for gay men by gay men. Hyperlinks to Three Flying Piglets at Vimeo (opens in new tab):
Spiking drinks and lubricant with ‘G’ | “Spike” | 30s
Overdoses, ambulance call-outs and the police | “Just saying” | 32s
The difference between GBL and GHB | “Why it matters” | 34s
Safer hook-ups | “What could possibly go wrong?” | 46s
Safer hook-ups | “He knows” | 42s
Measuring ‘G’ correctly | “The drop” | 30s
Safer drug use | “Out of this world” | 32s
Accepting ‘G’ from strangers | “Sweets from strangers” | 24s
Sex and consent | “Are you OK with what happened last night?” | 1m
About play safer
Devised by gay men with direct knowledge and experience of recreational drug use, problematic drug use, withdrawal, and recovery. This campaign is a follow-up to our “G Aware: Our Lives Depend On It” campaign (February 2020).Back to top
“G AWARE: OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT” CAMPAIGN
On St Valentine’s Day 2020, the Gay Men’s Health Collective (GMHC) is releasing four 30-second film messages on social media to raise awareness of the potential dangers associated with “G”, particularly the risk of “spiked” drinks and lubricants used in sexual assaults.
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and GBL (gamma-Butyrolactone) are known collectively known as “G”. They are used recreationally and consensually to facilitate and enhance sex. “Spiking” is when alcohol or drugs are added to someone’s drink without their knowledge with the intention of sexual assault or rape. Most recently, G has been added to lubricants for sex.
There is concern in the press and media, and by the police, about the evolving use of G for spiking. There are reported cases of sexual assaults combined with other crimes, including theft and burglary. This is against the background of many personal accounts, and the convictions of Stephen Port and Gerald Matovu for murder, and Reynhard Sinaga for multiple rapes.
These 30-second film messages aim to encourage users and non-users alike to be aware of the dangers and reduce the risk of drug harms. Believed to be the first in the UK, the campaign has been created by gay men with direct knowledge and experience of recreational drug use; and problematic drug use, withdrawal, and recovery. Other organisations have welcomed the campaign and this work:
“This campaign is long overdue, very welcome and resonates with our priorities. We hope this campaign will give much needed practical and useful advice to our community which is often overlooked, or our issues trivialised.” LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group.
“The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recognises that crime in a Chemsex context is not an isolated issue of sexual offending or substance misuse. Chemsex related vulnerability and offending are considerably under-reported, levels of complexity are vast, and the overwhelming nature of the scene can negatively impact on many aspects of a participant’s life. The MPS LGBT+ Advisory Group have described Chemsex as the ‘crisis of our time’ for LGBT+ communities and we know there have been more than 60 fatal overdoses linked to GHB / GBL in London alone.
From a policing perspective, crime in a Chemsex context can incorporate elements of sexual offending, vulnerability, substance misuse, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and mental ill-health.
The MPS and the National Prison and Probation Service have established the London Chemsex Working Group (LCWG) with the aims of reducing harm and vulnerability relating to Chemsex, raising awareness amongst professionals of Chemsex in order to increase identification of Chemsex cases, encouraging information sharing between agencies to identify and safeguard those whom are vulnerable and to enhance the strategic coordination at a London level when responding to Chemsex incidents whilst promoting a public health response to Chemsex related issues.”
DCS Helen Lyons (MPS Lead Responsible Officer for Sexual Violence), Metropolitan Police Service
“GMHC is an innovative organisation of driven and enthusiastic volunteers, who succeed over and over again in tackling the complex chemsex phenomenon with the right tone of voice, always finding a balance between a humorous and serious non-judgemental approach. Mainline’s chemsex team absolutely supports this taboo-breaking campaign.”
Mainline Chemsex Team, Amsterdam, Netherlands
“Currently HMPPS in London have over 100 men convicted of chemsex related crimes and assessed as high risk of harm and high risk of re-offending On average there are 2-3 new cases appearing before the courts each month. This is regarded as an underestimate due to identifying features of the chemsex context not always being identified in the early stages of the criminal justice process.”
Stephen Morris, Chemsex & Crime Lead, HM Prison & Probation Service (SOTU London Division) Please note: this quote was supplied and added to this page after the media release date.
“I am charmed by GMHC and their work. The love and attention they show toward people engaged in chemsex has been highlighted at the 3rd European Chemsex Forum in Paris. I encourage you to share their tools with those who may benefit.”
Ben Collins, International HIV Partnerships, the European Chemsex Forum Secretariat
GMHC volunteers have developed these messages to actively engage gay men in chemsex harm reduction; a response, in part, to what they believe is a lack of up-to-date content by some organisation websites with safer chemsex information. This is based on two recent reviews which found virtually no mention of drink or lubricant spiking.
“We actively encourage our colleagues and partners in the chemsex field to review and update their safer chemsex information, ensuring gay men are provided with consistent harm reduction, signposting, advice and support”. Patriic Gayle, GMHC
The videos will be promoted through social media, and include signposting to safer drug use information and support at www.menrus.co.uk
Campaign film messages
Safer chemsex harm reduction messages
To reduce the risks of using G and mindful of potential drug harms GMHC recommends:
- Measure, check and drink your own doses of G and don’t leave drinks unattended
- If you come back to a drink later throw it away, wait an hour before dosing again, starting slowly
- Take a supply of your own lubricant if playing with a partner(s) for the first time
- Ensure consent is given freely and safe words are agreed
- Seek help if you think you’ve been a victim of spiking/ sexual assault/ robbery
Further information and resourcesAbout and using G | MENRUS.CO.UK
Safer chemsex | MENRUS.CO.UK Sex Drugs and Murder | Dispatches | Channel 4 | 8 September 2019
A warning has been issued that rapists are mixing the drug GHB with lubricant | Patrick Strudwick | BuzzFeed UK LGBT | 8 Sep 2019 Reynhard Sinaga | Wikipedia
Reynhard Sinaga: Attorney general to review rapist’s’ sentence | BBC News | 15 Jan 2020
Detectives investigate new allegations against rapist Reynhard Sinaga | The Guardian | 10 Jan 2020 Stephen Port | Wikipedia
Stephen Port: The killer the police missed | BBC News
Serial killer Stephen Port receives whole-life prison sentence | The Guardian | 25 Nov 2016 Gerald Matovu (mentioned under Eric Michels) | Wikipedia
Serial killer’s dealer jailed for Grindr murder | BBC News | 11 Sep 2019
Serial killer’s drug dealer jailed for actor’s murder | The Guardian | 11 Sep 2019
Exasperated by questionable and unrewarding Internet search results, we’re a group of volunteer gay men who want health, life, and well-being stuff in one place. www.menrus.co.uk is an independent free-access gay men’s health website that joins up the dots of our needs and a hub for further support and information.
It’s our take on what it is to be gay today. It’s not perfect, it’s sometimes messy, but it’s ours! www.menrus.co.uk is part of the GMHC which also makes films on gay men’s health issues and films for our allies and the wider LGBT+ community and produces safer chemsex packs to reduce the transmission of blood-borne infections and other drug harms.
Email firstname.lastname@example.orgBack to top
Intention for the purpose
MEN R US is intended for the purposes of information, education, satire, and amusement, namely gay men’s health, health promotion, well-being, and the prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) transmission. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental, or not. Batteries not included. No other warranty expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. May be too intense for some viewers. For recreational use only. Please remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Browsing constitutes acceptance of agreement our terms. Men may be slippery when wet. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. Parental discretion is advised. Although robust enough for general use, adventures into the esoteric periphery may reveal unexpected quirks. Not available in stores. May cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Not designed or intended for use in online control of aircraft, air traffic, aircraft navigation or aircraft communications; or in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility. May contain traces of various seeds and nuts.Back to top
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by MEN R US, part of the Gay Men’s Health Collective, and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
Particularly, no assumptions should be made about the sexuality, HIV and/ or sexual health status or views of individuals, individuals represented in pictures and/ photographs, or organisations featured on this website.
In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.
Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of MEN R US, part of the Gay Men’s Health Collective. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, MEN R US, part of the Gay Men’s Health Collective takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.Back to top
If you like what we do, and have a few pounds to spare, please donate by clicking the link below which will redirect you to the Gay Men’s Health Collective which manages this website.
Your payment receipt will read: GMHC.
If volunteers are online we often reply within a few hours; if not, within 2 days. This may seem a long time but GMHC relies on our spunky volunteers who do not monitor the inbox 24/ 7. We offer them enticements but they just demand more treats.
We are not interested in article placement, advertisements, SEO optimisation, third party content – so will not reply to these messages.GMHC, 61 Mansell Street, London E1 8AN
Admin: 07791 867885 (Mon-Fri, 10-4) Back to top