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Key question; How much time/
How many days after lockdown did it start to shift?
Good old fashion Health Promotion and harm-minimisation - well done Marc
agree, love these graphics.
Loved the Prepster Social media mesages looking beyone sexual helath
Marc - did you save the insta live? love to see it
Ant Babajee | he/him
Some brilliant work, Marc. Well done!
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The Insta live is on the Grindr page
Great presentation Marc. Thank you
Bubbling reallly ‘began’ in NZ
Right; is sex ‘essential’/
As you are talking, Joao, I am thinking about the ways in which many governments have cancelled many rights-based protections for vulnerable adults during the pandemic. For example the current suspension of duties under the Care Act 2014 in the UK to protect vulnerable adults from neglect, abuse and the effects of ill health and addiction.
bubbling in NZ involved more than one household but they had lower infections
Catherine, that is indeed something that also worried me and that raises some serious questions to think about
Helen; New Zealand initially stood out as the exemplar of a putatively more creative and humane approach than that represented by the strict lockdowns seen in Ireland and Britain. But in fact, the New Zealand guidance conjured what could quite possibly be a relatively tiny bubble: ”Your household, the people you live with, is your bubble” (NZ Ministry of Health 2020). And: ”During the strictest phase of lockdown, most New Zealanders’ bubbles were synonymous with their households” (Olmstead 2020)
I’m sorry I didn’t include the network in your introduction John!
I thnk the AIDS allegory is crucial
It’s totally naive and dangerous
Yes, thank you for these questions
Well said, John...critical questions are essential and should not be interpreted as attack.
“the HIV chain is broken” — really?
Ant Babajee | he/him
Some really good food for thought, John. Thank you.
Thomas : from kiwis i know there that wasn't necessarily lived reality . Lower population density and a different idea of community perhaps and the jacinda factor of compassionate leadership. as we know in global health , polices and models cant be lifted and picked up out of context. Yet many would rather be in NZ right now.
Can we switch to viewing Charlie, not John?
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Thank you John!! Questions should always be asked. A critical friend is a friend indeed
Not sure what happened -sorry about that!
I think there’s something to be said about the history of those bigger and most established gay and sexual health charities and their relationship with the state, especially around practices of assimilation and homonormativity since the AIDS crisis. Whilst different in different countries, there was historically a blurring of those activist groups and the state itself since the 1980s in the US, UK, and Germany at least
Helen: yes absolutely. But it’s interesting to look at the official discoufrse
thomas - agreee
Joao- very interesting point re balance
Yes Thomas I agree…
PrEP access (for me at least) was easier... Instead of having to battle for an appointment at my clinic, they switched to postal testing and just picking up the meds. It was so much easier and quicker.
How much of that pressure was ‘genuine’
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@joao - a return to Epstein's Impure Science, and also Dennis Altman's work is perhaps useful in terms of what you are suggesting
Dude with Stay At Home as screen name is sending you his address and saying come over
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Responding to Joaos’s comment, I think this speaks to the political-economy of health promotion and the ways in which non-governmental organizations are not in fact independent - and ensure their messaging does not challenge the ideology of funding agencies.
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Link to Grindr insta live https://www.instagram.com/tv/CB34tAXHVck/
@sharif I would definitely agree with that!
I think we say publicly: lockdown included LOTS of sex
lots and lots of it
there was literally nothing else to do.
But also lots of shaming and virtue signalling
Staying at home as morally vitruous
If we start circulating the idea of people kept fucking, we can counter the shaming.
Charlie is totally right - the 3-month discourse and the ‘celebration’ of lockdown only served to re-draw boundaries between ‘good gays’ and ‘bad queers’
yes it was the usuall good gays versus bad gays stuff
Totally and all about self policing
Yes, “look at me - aren’t a good self-disciplining person”!
The idea that legallly mandated abstinence was a ‘once in a lifetime’ “opportunity” to ‘break the chain’ was… in a word… chilling.
Yes all of that
And had the sort of secondary effect of rescripting our response to AIDS. I wanted to read ‘How to Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic’ through a bullhorn in from of 56 Dean Street.
2008 paper by colleague at Sigma, Peter Keogh: How to be a Healthy Homo http://sigmaresearch.org.uk/reports/item/report2001b
I agree with the concept of ‘deplatforming sex’ - I also think we must bear in mind that this is only certain forms of sex
@Thomas - I’d have sold tickets to that public reading!
Keogh's paper provides a strong critique of the moralising discourse in much 'health promotion' in the UK during that era...so returning to earlier work will be of value...
@Sharif: front row same price as Madame X tour.
I notice the slippage to past tense in various places… was this all something that ‘happened’? or is it happening? just beginning?
well said Marc
The Only Fans platform is a really interesting case of how sex gets re-platformised in ways that are more in the interest of digital companies
Someone asked me about the question of tense. Is this in the past? Beginning? ‘When’ are we in the pandemic?
Yes Only Fans is getting a lot of bad press from industry performers
Yes I agree Kristian
Re OnlyFans etc, some of my friends definitely managed to swap to online work and made similar amounts of money, but they are now starting to see earnings dropping off (one friend told me her earnings had dropped 60% in the past week or so), but her regular work still hasn't started back up.
Yes absolutely, Jamie. Sophie Lewis was good on this.
@Thomas - I think this is a really good question because I think it points to the ‘phases’ of the pandemic and how the ‘exceptional crisis’ discourse (which was also used in the 1980s to an extent) is (unsurprisingly) unsustainable and that pandemics almost always outlive that discourse.
We defend sex.
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Im good love. Busy, busy
ABHRA SINGHA ROY
Tinder (and other apps) introduced PASSPORT to change location and lurk around/make connection with international people in this quarantined lifestyle. How has this facilitated or normalized virtual sexual acts?
Digital intimacy of course is no solution or alternative by people who don’t have access to tech for any number of reasons… and there’s still a lot of those people
The 'when' question is good @thomas - and, from the perspective of those of us in Leicester this week, there's no singular answer to that.
‘When’ for me originates in my experience in Dublin. The public basically gave up in May.
But this relates to specifici epidemiological circumstances as well.
(In Ireland we don’t have very much community transmission at all anywhere.)
I think this moment has exposed all kinds of tensions that were under the surface anyway that have to do with class and money and access
Yes thank you. The reason this crisis is what it is: killing public healthcare.
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The slut out in the woods is purely a scapegoat
But that circumstance is not unique to UK — defunding of public services is an experience common to many places.
Hello to everyone! About defunding the Public Health System: In México, PrEP deliver was suspended temporarily to those participating in the current protocol that is running right now, because of the Covid-19 crisis. Did something like this happen in the UK or in other countries in Europe?Because, from my point of view, it shows that if countries have not demonstrated to have strong health systems, PrEP is not gonna work as it should. For me, this argument is reinforced by the fact that we in México haven’t been able to guarantee HIV treatment for people living with HIV. Thanks!
Might ‘care’ be implicit? Enabling the vitality that sexuality represents might be innately ‘caring’? perhaps.
Absolutely, @Jamie. There is that issue of ignoring pandemic planning guidance. But there's probably an interesting piece of work to do to look at whether sex and sexuality is mentioned at all in global pandemic planning guidelines from WHO, World Bank etc.
nice one, Marc
That is interesting @Gavin. I have no idea. Need to look into this
marathon indeed not a sprint
Tiago Machado Costa
I was wondering if you could comment on how Jamie's comments on the lack of physicality and community in lockdown times can be a first step towards understanding the everyday of gay men in non-urban spaces. In smaller UK cities, those bars, parties, clubs, etc may not exist even in "normal" times, which make these exceptional impacts of pandemic times an "normal" circumstance for a lot of gay men out there.
I was going to ask exactly the same as Tiago
@Tiago - I’d definitely suggest checking out the work of Paul Driscoll-Evans on rural gay men.
That's an excellent question!!!
yes were not and have never been heterogeneous, all too often gay men reads as white gay middle class men
Yes. ‘Official Discourse” in Ireland was entirely for and about nuclear middle class households.
Can I ask the panel - what are their recommendations for providing intimacy to queer people in the COVID situation, whether in terms of supporting sex or alternative ways?
And it was profoundly and dangerously ignorant of the actual living conditions of working people, migrants, queers, poly- folk, and others.
Tiago Machado Costa
Hadn't come across that @Sharif, thank you!
I'm also interested in how urban spaces have shifted and what effect this has had. Areas which were previously fairly private public spaces suddenly became much busier. For example, the canals and parks in Birminghag had some previously fairly empty crusing spots, but during lockdown were suddenly full of more bored teenagers, families with dogs etc. Also more police presence. How does this sort of changing geography get communicated?
But that's the point, @Joap some of the infrastructures of gay life are more sparse in mid-sized regional cities, let alone smaller towns and rural areas, but they are not absent. However, I do think scale and population density does alter how apps etc function
Best part of lockdown for me Hannah: no cars on the streets!
Sexual health services in the ROI were mainly completely shut down.
@hannnah that’s a really interesting point to think about
Ireland’s national PrEP programme had only begun to get underway and was largely suspended, at least in terms of the clinical services. Some clinics were providing prescriptions (which could still be filled at community pharmacies for free under the programme) but no testing was done.
(Thank you andrew)
Many who had hoped to begin PrEP were unable to do so. One clinic has just begun enrolling new patients this week, and another has begun to see already-enrolled patients. The main clinic serving gay and bisexual men has yet to re-open.
Me and Jamie are involved in a grant bid to do some work on that kind of moralising
please can you out your microphone on to your mouth
follow Julie Marcus !
Completely agree Catherine!!
I think many discussion of COVID in the gay male community become allegories of HIV — inevitably. so what is ‘reckless’ now resignifies what was ‘reckless’ then… and I think this is partly due to a failure of historical imagination
David Myles, Chris Dietzel and I have been looking at hook-up app discourses about COVID - we’ve (of course) found that hetero apps like Tinder focus on abstinence as a means for romance and establishing long-term monogamous relationships. The biopolitical/moralizing messages from queer apps are more diverse but still very much a “distancing is sexy” theme - more analysis to come.
For classic texts: Berlant L and Warner M (1998) Sex in Public. Critical Inquiry 24(2): 547–566.
What do Gay Men Want? — Halperin — Key theorization.
I’ve got to go but if anyone has more resources relating to that moralising question you can find me @ClarkeJLewis on Twitter. Thanks all x
and Gayle Rubins “Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality”
On moralising: all those motherfuckers were hooking up too. Either that or they just don’t like sex.
It seems from the chat if we are unmuted maybe we might chat a bit louder
So the moralising is the usual thing: the good gays trying to disciipline the bad gays
(whilst organising sex parties in their well-equipped dungeons)
Do we only understand intimacy in human-centred and embodied forms? Is it possible, or even productive, to understand intimacy in non-human, collective forms? (e.g. human-machine intimacy, human-sex toy intimacy etc.)
Sorry, I’m chatty cathy at the moment: ‘Intimacy’ in English carries so much positive connotation. As does ‘care.’ To make these concepts do more work, we have to divest them of the implicit ‘positive affect’ they connote.
Intimacy is like ‘closeness’: to be ‘close’ is to be ‘caring’. These metaphors for sociality in English are the subject of Marilyn Strathern’s most recent book, Relations. (Incidentally)
Not so much a question but I’m seeing gay men in NYC who’ve had Covid, expressing a certain sense of freedom - of having passed over the threshold. This feels very similar to how some HIV positive folk have previously discussed the ‘freedom’ of no longer having to worry about infection. While I am ambivalent about the HIV/Covid Pandemic comparison, there does seem to be some ‘borrowed knowledge’ or borrowed ideas coming through here.
Sharif: yes I was just chatting about this.
There are examples of sexual subcultures who have still managed to operate and adapted in Zoom environments, successfully and continually. The SF Queernight Fund have hosted Zoom events to raise money for their local scene: https://sfqueernightlifefund.org/
Should this panel be named 'Pandemic Intimacies: gay men and intimacy in the time of coronavirus IN EUROPE?' since all the speakers are addressing the UK and European context?
Yes I think that’s an accurate reflection
Which potentially links with the guidelines changing to allow for "social bubbles"
I agree with H Bao: some comparative perspective would strengthen the already excellent discussion
Particularly: What happens in Hong Kong?
(as an example)
I’ve also been interested in queer dance parties during quarantine (not sex parties but likely leading to hookups?) like the Canadian-founded Club Quarantine. Broad question: How can we connect after this event to stay up-to-date on each other’s research?
it would really throw into stark contract the peculiarness of UK response
This is something that we could do again with a differently constituted panel
Stef I think Ingrid will have an email list as it was by invite
UK: but not a lot from Belfast. ;-)
Or Wales :P
Tremendous job done by Ingrid, Jamie and all panellists. It's been thought-provoking, at a time when perhaps more of us have a bit more brain room for thinking these days???
@Stef def intersting! could the organisers maybe collect and share twitter handles?
Isn’t there going to be a conference about masculinity and sex coming up in the uk?
many of us follow each other already
I would be super keen for a mailing list
I was referring to Joao’s conference
Community of pandemic folk? Into it tho
mailing list -yes
pandemic intimacy webinar *stans
Sounds great. Looking forward to future events!
Oh yes, my upcoming Zoom conference: http://porousmasculinities.exeter.ac.uk/conference :)
alvero - i hope so
Excellent webinar - agree with Catherine; great for some of us to have an opportunity to think a bit more broadly these days- thank you
Yes. For example: This is a great opportunity to learn about masturbation! Something we heard a fair bit about. lol
Superb reflections and presentations; many thanks!
I have a question
There is Joao’s event and also a Mascnet event that we have a CFP for here https://mascnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/BARCA-CFP-v3.pdf
The date will be moved to 2021 though
Question: What observations does the panel have regarding ‘digital risk’ as a concept or term in the discourse? So you’ll have a medical doctor saying, try camming!, but be careful you never know where your phone could end up!
So with ‘digital intimacy’ comes ‘digital risk’ — but the people who counsel us about this are… doctors.
I'm having connection issues so am going to sign off, thank you everyone for a really interesting afternoon.
its a great chance to look at health ans structural inequalities, i hope its taken up.
go on Marc!
im an optimistic cynic i agree it could go either way
I was astonished at how avidly people wanted to police each other.
Very well said Charlie
Drug users, people in recovery…
like charlie i have concerns. theres been push bac on the move to all online from medics and other PH people
yes totally charlie
Agree Charlie. 'Public health' has entirely neglected its roots in structural determinants of health.
Our services in Dublin were impacted.
HIv services have moved a lot on line but theyre still seeing people who need to be in person
yes exactly that happened to me charlies
it was more about the wider NHS challenges that impacted SH
Ant Babajee | he/him
Definitely postponing appointments - my bloods next week are just a phone discussion instead and bloods only if necessary
so, then how do we shift the political debate and campaigning away from the 'equalities' agenda and towards addressing more material and systemic inequalities and their intersections?
correct re: annual review
Thanks so much folk for the good talks!
Thanks for great talks!
Ant Babajee | he/him
A great discussion and presentation. Thank you so much all!
Thanks for hosting the event, really inreresting
Thanks to everyone who organized this - and for the great conversation and idea sharing. It has been inspiring.
Thank all for this great panel!
very useful and interesting thank you all
Thanks all for amazing talks and discussion!
Thanks, fantastic panel!
Thank you! Inspiring panel
Thanks so much!
Thank you for this wonderful discussion!
A very important panel.
Yes, thank you so much for arranging this.
Thanks everyone, great talks and geat questions!
Hope to hear from you all soon!!
So many people I wasn to hug!!!
This was so interesting, thanks everyone for the chat, and thanks to the organisers for pulling it together!
This was so great! Thanks everyone
We have to insist on keeping sex in public view.
Great, thanks everyone
really great event. thanks to the panel, to Ingrid for chairing,, but also great discussions in the chat
Thank you for the fantastic panel! And for chairing, Ingrid.
Brilliant panel and chat, thank you so much all!!
That in itself is a political act.
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Great conversation. Thanks everyone. Please follow me @marct_01
Yes thanks Ingrid
Thanks everyone for coming, and thanks to the panellists. It’s been an absolute pleasure!
Great hosting Ingrid!!!
And thanks for Ingrid for doing such a fab job!
Thanks very much, great discussion
Thanks, great discussion
Muchas gracias, saludos a todxs!
Cheers everyone. Such an important conference.