16:07 . Since I have a big apartment I often organize parties at my place. as I figured it would be nice to create a safe space for my friends to talk, party and be the way they want – a space of sociability different from bars or nightclubs. I love doing this because it creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and openness, however this also means that I sometimes witness people go to extremes. Fortunately I have never seen an overdose happen but I have seen people being victims of their own limits. Why not talk more openly about sexual health? We need to get rid of stigmas and above all get rid of taboos. I hate this hypocrisy that displays our society. The use of drugs during, before or after sexual intercourse is a phenomenon present in both heterosexual and LGBT communities, whether we want to admit it or not. Of course, drug use is illegal, that is a fact but we cannot prevent people from taking drugs if they want to. The issue is that most campaigns and activist movements tell you that ‘you should not take drugs’ and ‘you should not have unprotected sex’ – but at the end of the day people will always do what they want. They may even be incited to go for what is forbidden.
That is why I believe informing people is so important : it allows them to have control over their own health, to know their limits and to be responsible. I believe in prevention by information and this is an aspect still missing from our system, because it is a system that prohibits more than it prevents.
Over the long term, after seeing people putting themselves at risk in my own home, I decided to start volunteering for grassroots movements that inform people on sexually transmitted diseases or problems that can notably be drug-related, or resulting from drug abuse. We work mostly on fighting AIDS and other STDs, but today the movement is broadening itself a bit.
Why can’t society educate us more about this? It is still so difficult and taboo to talk about sexuality, let alone talk about drugs, so when you combine the two topics you find yourself at the pinnacle of this ‘taboo world’ we live in. The reality is that we will never live in a world where such parties do not exist, we will never live in a world where drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex no longer exist. This is why I deem it way more useful to convey messages of prevention. We correct matters where society has its shortcomings. The system does have its shortcomings. There is constant progress, I admit that – but sometimes we are actually all confronted with inertia. It is important for all of us to develop a critical mind – sometimes the taboos we have on things that affect our health, ultimately prevent the communication of prevention and therefore damage our health. So I really wish for these taboos to disappear. Because once they do, once we are all able to cultivate a critical spirit and go beyong the hypocrisy of our system – then we can truly start imagining a better society.
Radoslav works as an accredited parliamentary assistant at the European Parliament. He volunteers for an initiative dealing with information around sexually transmitted diseases. He also, recently ran as an independent for the local elections in Belgium, as part of Plan B – an initiative bringing different parties and citizen movements, proposing an alternative to politics.