BAMMER47: When I met Stu Fenton at a Fire Island pool party in August 1999, he didn’t divulge much about his life. But, when we reconnected in 2019, he opened up and I couldn’t help but be impressed with the path he’s taken.
Stu was raised by stern, but loving, parents. They were quite critical and validation was non-existent at home. He tried college, but it didn’t stick, then acting, and finally fitness instruction. He fell in love with a guy who was a male escort. Partly to assuage his own jealousy, he let his partner introduce him to the world of hustling, too. They became a “power couple” on the Sydney gay scene, two hot gay men available to others for sex, at a price.
Then, they broke up and his world collapsed. It led to a cycle of increasing drugs, sex, and the search for external validation. He escaped to NYC for several months in 1999 and that’s when we met on Fire Island.
Stu was working then as a bartender at Splash Disco and a model for Colt Studios, a purveyor of glossy male porn magazines, where he was known as “Dick Huge” (Stu told me that Jim French, the noted photographer of erotic male nudes and founder of Colt, had a wicked sense of humor. When he assigned that alias to Stu, he was being droll, but he wasn't exaggerating either.).
Over the next few years, Stu slid into addiction (crystal meth and GHB) with multiple psychotic breaks, overdoses, and emergency room visits. Finally, in 2003, he returned to Melbourne and entered rehab. It took more than a year, but he achieved sobriety.
Stu went back to university, got his masters degree in Gestalt therapy and graduate diploma in counseling, before opening his own private practice, mostly counseling LGBTQ patients with sex and drug addiction issues. For 2 years just before COVID struck, he managed the LGBTQ ward at a luxury rehab facility in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and traveled the world speaking at conferences on chemsex addiction.
Stu left that job and was on sabbatical in the US last March when COVID struck and forced him to fly back to Melbourne. He's working with LGBTQ sex and drug addicts in Australia now, but plans to relocate to Europe when conditions permit.
You can listen to the two interviews I conducted with Stu in Thailand via Skype here in the podcast section.