LGBTQ+ rights groups and health centers are honoring the pioneering work of British activist and health professional David Stuart who reportedly coined the term “chemsex.”
On Wednesday, London’s 56 Dean Street, an LGBTQ+ sexual health clinic, announced Stuart’s death.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of our colleague and friend David Stuart,” the group said on social media. “He has been pioneering in his work and has dedicated his time as an advocate, activist, support worker, campaigner, lecturer, and researcher. David is known and respected internationally for his tireless work with gay, bi and queer communities which he did with passion, empathy and kindness.”
The organization added: “His work with our patients has undoubtedly saved many lives and his loss immeasurable.”
On his website, Stuart, who was also a writer and poet, said that at one point “I found myself sober’ish, with a criminal record for drug dealing, a considerable accumulation of traumas, and with a fire in my belly that drove me to raise awareness about chemsex; but the fire in my belly was bigger, broader than chemsex, and it took me down several paths.”
Chemsex (short for chemical sex) is when someone purposefully takes drugs — usually something like GHB or crystal meth — to fuel sex.
U.K. organizations and activists released statements honoring Stuart for his groundbreaking work bringing awareness to the issues and harm that stem from chemsex.
“We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of David Stuart, a titan in the field of sexual health. David's pioneering work around chemsex made a huge difference to the lives of countless people,” wrote the National AIDS Trust.
“Heartbroken that David Stuart from 56 Dean street has died,” wrote Matthew Todd, who is the author of the book Straight Jacket: Overcoming Society’s Legacy of Gay Shame and a former editor of British LGBTQ+ magazine Attitude. “He was responsible for us confronting the issue of chemsex and was a true superhero of the LGBTQ community. Dedicated his life to trying to reduce harm. Truly saved countless lives. Goodbye darling man.”