It is always disturbing to read or hear about someone, somewhere taking their own life because things in life have become so unbearable. It is even more so when the person concerned is “one of our own” – that is, someone either in the gay community, or even closer to home, someone in our Brotherhood.

Depression, non-acceptance because of sexuality, financial hardship and peer pressure are just some of the triggers for people to end their lives due to the inability to cope that so often accompanies these situations. The thing is, help is at hand, and support from within our own ranks can often be the difference between love and loss.

As a Naturopath and one who has studied in Counselling Psychology, I find myself in a good position to see what is often going on. It also gives me the opportunity, where people wish it, to discuss things, and help them to deal with the issues at hand. This not to say that I become “mother confessor” – far from it. But very often, just discussing issues of the time and lending a willing ear can mean a whole lot to the person concerned.

I guess what I am getting at is this: the first tenet of a good counsellor is to be a good listener, and believe me, I am a good listener. So often, during discussions about particular issues, the answer is right there in what is being said. It is never, nor has it ever been, the role of a counsellor to tell a person what they should do. We can only make a range of suggestions as to what may help in order to deal with a particular situation. It is also imperative that whatever is told to a counsellor stays with the counsellor.

So, here’s the deal. If anyone in our leather, denim, uniform or kink community has an issue or issues they wish to discuss with a view to resolution, then by all means, bend my ear. Part of what we are about in BootCo is looking our for each other, and being supportive of each other too. As a minority group, it is essential that we are there for our fellow members – it’s part of what Brotherhood is all about.

We have a great bunch of guys in our club who clearly enjoy each others’ company. This is amply demonstrated by the continued success of our pub nights, workshops and events. So, let’s make it even better by being supportive as well.

Do feel free to seek me out – I’m the old fart who is usually on the door with Nathan for the first couple of hours on our pub nights, and yes, I’ve been around the block a few times! I look forward to catching up with more of you in the coming months, even if it’s just to say “Hi”.

See you at Wrestle in a couple of weeks.