Police have warned gay men to be extra vigilant when meeting people online or through dating or hook-up apps after two guys were robbed at knifepoint in separate attacks in London.
In both cases the victims were left shaken up, though without serious physical injuries after arranging meets using the Grindr app. The guys they expected to meet turned out to be a gang of four men carrying knives.
Croydon Police says it is doing everything it can to find the gang, but in the meantime it has reminded gay men to always follow these tips:
- Always meet in a public place with lots of people around.
- Don't share personal details until you trust the person with whom you are communicating.
- If you decide to meet in person, let someone know where you are going and when you're likely to return.
- Plan your journey to and from the date in advance. If using a mini-cab, always pre-book.
- Drink responsibly and never leave your drink unattended.
- Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and working.
- If at any time you feel uncomfortable, leave the date - you are not obliged to stay.
Each article includes links to some of the best information on these topics, including from GMFA, the THT and other trusted sources.
You might also be interested in reading Douglas' personal blog on PrEP.
With Christmas approaching and families coming together, many gay men find themselves either alone, split from their boyfriends or in uncomfortable family situations.
If you feel the holiday season may become the catalyst for coming out remember our coming out guide and the advice of preparing yourself (and avoid doing it when drunk or angry).
It is worth remembering at this time our other family: the gay friends we have. Please, during this Christmas period, think of your gay friends who might be alone or not enjoying the season, and give them a message or call just to say thinking of you and see you soon. It will mean a lot and "we are family" after all.
For our friends that need to talk during this "festive" period, there are always people out there who will listen.
From a different angle remember Gaydar has a chat room; there will be lots of people there looking to chat.
The team would like to wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday season.