Chatrooms for young guys into guys
What is this service?
This service provides a safe online space for young guys into guys (GiG) to chat and learn about their sexuality and wellbeing. It is funded by Public Health England as part of their HIV Prevention Innovation Fund.
Our chatrooms are safely facilitated by trained youth workers. We say guys into guys because we know that some boys and young men do not want to describe themselves as gay or bisexual.
Is this for me?
You need to be a boy or young man aged between 11 and 19 and live in Medway or Kent. You also need to be attracted to other boys and young men.
- Talk to other young guys into guys
- Discuss attraction and relationships
- Learn how to stay safe and connected
- Find out what you need to know about sex
- Share and explore your experiences
- Feel more confident and comfortable about your sexuality
- Improve your wellbeing and self-esteem
- Learn about sexual health and HIV
Join our chatrooms
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0208 305 5004 or text 07811440694 if you'd like to join our chatrooms. You can refer yourself or be referred by someone who works with you (like a youth worker). We'll need to arrange a meeting in person first, so we can make sure the chatrooms are a safe space. Under 13s will need permission from a parent or carer.
You'll join an online chatroom with a small group of other young guys into guys. There will be separate chatrooms for 11 and 12 year olds, 13 to 15 year olds and 16 to 19 year olds. The discussion will be guided by METRO staff. You'll learn about attraction, relationships, coming out, staying safe, sexual health and HIV. The sessions will last for about an hour as part of a programme of 3 sessions.
Why we do it
Every young person deserves the chance to learn about sexuality in a safe and supportive way.
Young guys into guys can often feel isolated when they are exploring their new sexual feelings. Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in schools is often inadequate. They can face prejudice and discrimination at school and from their families and communities. If they don't have a safe space to explore their sexuality, they can turn to online dating apps and pornography, which has risks for their health and wellbeing. Young men who have sex with men are at higher risk of HIV and STIs, less likely to seek help for mental health issues and among a group who are most likely to end their own life.
Some people live a long way from their nearest youth group, can't manage the cost of travelling or experience anxiety when meeting new people in person. We also know that dating and hook-up apps are particularly common among gay and bisexual men. We want to provide an alternative online space – one that is safely facilitated by trained youth workers.
Our online chatrooms give young guys into guys the chance to safely learn and explore their sexuality.
How we make a difference
We will be running this service as a series of three chatroom slots, for a group of up to eight boys and young men at a time. We aim to reach up to 90 young guys into guys before the end of 2019.
We aim to improve how young guys into guys feel about themselves and their sexuality. We'll also teach about life with HIV, transmission and prevention. We will track our impact by comparing the knowledge and attitudes of participants before and after their involvement in the chatrooms. This evaluation will be collated and presented at an end-of-year event where we will showcase what we've learnt from this project.
There aren't currently any online chatrooms for this age group in the UK that are dealing with these key sex and relationship issues. We know young guys into guys can be nervous, fearful of being outed and geographically or socially isolated, which makes it important that we reach as many people as we can.