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Former British soldier and LGBT activist James Wharton reveals chemsex struggle

By Will Stroude

Back in 2012, Lance Corporal James Wharton made history when he appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine with his then civil partner to call for the immediate introduction of equal marriage.

Now, the former British solider, LGBT activist and author of Out in the Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier is set to chronicle a much darker chapter in his life – and one that affects the gay community as a whole.

After leaving the army and finding himself readjusting to single life in London, James was sucked into the drug-fuelled underbelly fo the capital’s LGBT scene, soon becoming addicted to partying and the phenomenon known as ‘chemsex’.

James is set to open up about his own experiences in his second book, Something for the Weekend: Life in the Chemsex Underworld, which explore the motivating factors that led him to the culture, as well as the reality of drug-fuelled, weekend-long parties and sex sessions known as ‘chillouts’.

“Now is the right time for me, personally, to talk about my own struggles with drugs and chemsex,” James tells Attitude. “But beyond that, I believe we all, as an entire community, need to talk more openly about drug use, and understand what it is that drives people to chemsex.”

He continues: “More than half of gay men have used drugs in our lifetimes, I think we need to stop and think about that for a second, and have an non-judgemental discussion about why that is.

“Chemsex is not a flash in the pan, it’s now embedded into the fabric of modern day gay culture. My book will look at it compassionately, and tell the stories – including my own – of people who have lived it.”

Iain Dale, Managing Director of of Biteback Publishing said: “I’m delighted to be publishing James’s new book, especially after the enormous success of his debut, Out in the Army, which Biteback published a couple of years ago.

“Since then, James has become something of an icon among the gay community, and in this brave book he describes the true secret lives of many men in the nation’s capital. It’s an important story that needs to be told and will surprise many!”

Something for the Weekend will be published in July 2017.

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