Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Men's coming out / questionning group starts again on 14/02/12

Newcomers, the support group for men who are coming out or questionning their sexuality, is taking a break over Christmas.

We're going to change the group's meeting times in 2012 to the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. The group will start up again on Tuesday 14th February from 6pm-7.30pm at Anvil House, Wakefield Street, Wellington.

Why should you come to Newcomers? Here's why!

- Each evening you'll hear a gay or bi man tell their life story. It's always interesting and there will always be something you can relate to
- It's a chance to meet other gay, bi or questionning men in a relaxed, non-bar environment
- Everything you say or hear is confidential
- Gay Wellington pays for free drink and nibbles!

If you'd like to know more or have any questions, email us at newcomers@gaywellington.org or phone helpline on 473 7878 (Sunday-Wednesday, 7.30pm-9.30pm).

Friday, December 16, 2011

LAGANZ

LAGANZ (the Lesbian and Gay Archives of NZ) invited Gay Wellington members to their end-of-year function, so yesterday I went along to it at the Mark Hutchins Gallery on Willis St. It was a good group of 20+ people and an interesting gallery! If you haven't heard of Laganz check out the Laganz web site (here). I've finally joined up as a 'friend of laganz' for $20...

Stu

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wellington Police District Media Release to the GLBTI community

Hi everyone. Here's a media release we received from the Wellington Police today.

13 December 2011

Wellington Police investigating the murder of 43 year old Phillip Cottrell wish to allay safety concerns raised by the GLBTI community.

Phillip Cottrell died on Sunday afternoon as a result of injuries sustained during an attack in Boulcott Street around 5:30am on Saturday morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller, officer in charge of the homicide operation says it appears Mr Cottrell was the victim of an unprovoked, random and vicious attack.

"We do not believe Mr Cottrell's sexual orientation was a factor in his death. Any member of the GLBTI community who has serious safety concerns or has any relevant information in relation to this investigation, should contact Wellington Police on (04) 381 2000 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

Police Diversity Liaison Officers are also available within the Wellington District. You can find contact details for these officers via the New Zealand Police website on the link below:

https://www.police.govt.nz/about/diversity-contacts

Detective Senior Sergeant Miller says Police are following a number of lines of enquiry and remain confident that those responsible for this cowardly attack on Mr Cottrell will be located and held accountable for their actions.

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Victoria Davis, Wellington Police District Communications Manager on 0274 373 020.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Co-Chair reflections on the month and the year

November was a busy month for WGWG. We had a field trip to Emperor's Bathhouse, ran a successful intake day, voted in Kura as our new co-chair, went live with a new website, switched to Kiwibank and sent Jo on a course in Auckland. It’s a bit harder to measure our impact on the GLBTI community for the month, but for the first time we put together some firm statistics. Have a look at the below article and if you have suggestions to better capture our impact on the community, share them. One idea so far is to supplement these sorts of numbers with some personal testimonials and surveys.

2011 has been an active year as a whole and the group's monthly newsletters make it easy to reflect back on some highlights. The strategic planning days at Strathene, the gay fair, welcoming so many new members, upgrading our website, and employing George and Kassie for School’s Out are some of the events which stand out for me. A big thank you to everyone who put in time and effort to make the year a success. You know who you are. Stu

November in Numbers

What did we do in November?

For the first time we asked all the group leaders to record the extent of our interactions with the Wellington GLBTI community in November. Here’s the result - a typical WGWG (Gay Wellington) month in numbers:

729 visitors to the Gay Wellington website
444 visitors to this blog page
10 new facebook friends joined WGWG
47 facebook posts and 109 comments
14 helpline calls
3 men came out at newcomers
8 women attended the lesbian drop-in
2 men with HIV made grant requests
17 school kids attended School’s Out, coming from 7 high schools. 35 youth are in email contact with School’s Out
1 homeless youth received financial support
19 youth came to Tranzform.

Tranzform Update

We are getting closer to the end of the year, a year of some change for Tranzform.

We have new facilitators and new people coming to the meetings, as well as some of those who have been with us a while.

The safe spaces policy has finished being developed in coordination with members, and we are now setting out to develop a system for collating complaints with the medical profession. There always seem to be a number of complaints and unless we do something about them we are the only ones who hear about it. So perhaps Tranzform can help to make some change too.

Many thanks to WGWG, your help keeps this group going. Dee

[You can find more information about Tranzform on the Gay Wellington Website]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sex Therapy: questions anyone?

Recently I had an opportunity to attend a sex therapy course at Auckland University. The facilitator Ally Waite is one of the directors of Sex Therapy NZ.

I found the material and presentation to be quite inclusive and not overly heterosexual. (Most matters of sexuality are universal). Different frameworks were explored for addressing and assessing sexual issues or relationship concerns such as erectile or ejaculation problems, loss of interest in sex, avoiding sex, lack of closeness in a relationship, and ‘falling out of love.’ Other issues covered were sexual addiction problems including internet sex, at risk sexual behaviours, atypical sexual practices, orgasm difficulties, pain during sex and wanting to cease destructive behaviours within the context of relationship. Questions about sexual orientations were also a hot topic.

As a therapist in the Queer Community I thought it would be helpful to set up a “Sex questions and answers” column around issues of sex and sexuality in our newsletter and in a magazine relevant to the queer community – to be confirmed - so keep a watch for Dr Jodie in the near future. If you have any questions that you would like covered in such a column please send them in to drjodie@gmail.com which can be answered in this forum.

PS your real name does not have to be shown with your question ie confidentiality will be assured.

Jo

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Welcome new volunteers :-)

Yesterday Gay Wellington held a training session for new volunteers. Seven newbies joined seven members for a day which started at 10am and finished around 4pm. That's committment!

Everyone shared their coming out story which, in a group situation, can be a very powerful thing to do. Coming out stories are always unique, but the common threads are easy to see. We also talked about topics like HIV, homophobia and suicide and got involved with some roleplays. On top of that, we learned more about Gay Wellington - its history, purpose, activities and values, as well as the database we use.

A big thumbs up to everyone for making this one of the most interesting intake days we've had. Thanks also to Bill and Ted for running the day, and to Butlers Chocolates for contributing some of your delicious products.

If you missed the intake day but you think you might like to get involved, you can send us an email (helpline@gaywellington.org) or give us a call any time (ph.473 7878). You don't have to wait until the next intake day to start helping out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fieldtrip to the Emperor’s Bathhouse

Early Saturday morning on Guy Fawkes day a group of Gay Wellingtonians took up an invitation to visit the Emperor’s Bathhouse for a tour. The objective was to make sure helpliners know a bit more about Wellington facilities when callers quiz us on the details. The tour was especially popular for our female members, whose curiosity about a gay men’s sauna got the better of them.

Our friendly tour guide was Maico, Emperor’s Brazilian owner who has been in Wellington for about six years. Maico opened Emperor’s in January 2011 to provide more options for gay locals and tourists to the capital.

Once our eyes adjusted to the dim light we were shown the range of facilities in the two story building that Maico converted from a warehouse. We were impressed with the opulent d├ęcor and layout, though it was hard for any of us to imagine what the atmosphere would be like at full capacity with 380 gay men wandering the mazes and filling the bars, saunas and steam rooms.

After seeing the sights, we sat in the comfortable bar area and asked Maico what really goes on in a gay men’s sauna. We were particularly interested to know what rules his customers have to follow and what advice he’d give a first timer who had never been to a venue like this before.

Rule number one is to be prepared to strip out of your clothes and wear a towel. Some first timers tend to keep their clothes on for the first hour or so, but after that the pressure is on for you to put your clothes in a locker like everyone else.

If you’re glued to your cellphone you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to store that in the locker. Apparently it’s common for business customers to hold on to their phones. But don’t think about taking any pictures unless you really want to annoy people.

Rule number two is to relax. If people like you they like you, if they don’t they don’t. Many guys aren’t there to talk, so you’ll need to read their body language and eye contact. On the other hand, some use the venue as a sauna/club and don’t come for sex at all. Whatever you do, you’ll get the most value for your money if you enjoy the venue and the safe environment.

Rule number three - don’t expect any of the five staff to be responsible for matchmaking – that’s not their job. But if you are a newbie, make a point of talking to the staff at the bar to get a good idea of the place and how it works. Then you’ll get the most out of your visit. After all, it’s their job to make you as comfortable as possible.


Maico gave us a lot of facts and figures about the bathhouse and his clientele. Few of us were surprised that married men use the venue during the working week, or that there’s a fairly even split between Asians and Caucasians, or that there is a wide range in the age of customers. Maico confirmed that the place gets busier at weekends and when events like the Rugby World Cup are on. Although Emperor’s doesn’t have a lesbian night, it does have a range of regular activities including (straight) swingers’ parties and bondage nights. And on December 3rd they are planning to have a one-off night for people of any persuasion in the GLBTI queer community. In early 2012 Maico is planning to open his bar as a separate club with another entrance, which will no doubt bring in a wider range of people.

Maico generously spent an hour and a half of his time giving us the tour and answering questions. He didn’t let us off easily though, picking on a few of us to find out what our own experiences in saunas had been like in the past.

We finally said good-bye and left the cozy warmth of the bathhouse not long before Maico opened Emperor’s doors to his Saturday customers. It was an insightful morning and we came away with a better understanding of the role gay saunas play in the community. A good time was had by all.

Our Website News

If you've checked out Gay Wellington's website lately you will have noticed some changes. The new design is already well underway and soon we'll be updating the content. Please have a look and send us any suggestions and comments to make it more interesting, useful and user friendly. Is there anything you'd like to have on the site that isn't there at the moment?

All comments are welcome. If you have any local GLBTI photos you think could be posted on our site - we're interested in them as well!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Come out at Newcomers

Today we had the 2-weekly meeting of gay men's coming out group, Newcomers.

The evening went really well and a rich and interesting personal coming out story was shared with a group of about 6 guys. One of the newcomers said it was the first time he'd ever heard someone else's coming out story, so it was a really powerful time for him. Thanks to everyone for coming along.

If you'd like to join us, the next meeting will be on Wednesday 16th November from 6pm to 7.30pm. We talk about people's stories and coming out issues, as well as what's on in the community. Email us at newcomers@gaywellington.org or give us a call on 473-7878.

Monday, October 31, 2011

George's School's Out Report

School's Out has just come back from the holiday break. We had some really good sharing stories at the Kapiti group and some refreshing games at the Wellington group to take the edge off having to be back at school.

Over the break we met up at Central Park for a picnic, played on the flying foxes and ate a tonne of hummus. Heaps of lovely people came along from the Legalise Love march that was on the same day, as well as a group from Tranzform.

Ch-ch-ch-ch- changes:

We got an 18-25 group going successfully, this group will meet up fortnightly for social times.

We are using an agony aunt box, in which people can anonymously put questions about stuff. Did you know we use 'cold toast' as a word to indicate when a topic of conversation is bad buzzing us out? It's quite useful sometimes :)

Kassie and I are now employed! To do stuff for School's Out! We are both very thrilled to be doing part time roles and you will undoubtedly hear heaps more from us in future. We will be supporting the work of our wonderful volunteers and consolidating and growing the program in the area.

Don't forget you can contact us to find out info, or if you're a young person and want to come along to our groups or events, just text or call 0277639793 or send us an email on queer_schools_out@hotmail.com.

Cheers,

George

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Come to the next Newcomers meeting!

Newcomers is a confidential support group for guys coming out. We meet every second Wednesday from 6pm to 7.30pm. The next meeting is this coming Wednesday 2 November. We talk about people's stories and coming out issues, as well as what's on in the community. If you or someone you know is interested in coming along, email us at newcomers@gaywellington.org or give us a call on 473-7878.

Here's what one of the 19 October attendees said after the meeting:

“The meeting was definately worth coming to. Being able to talk to others in a non-bar setting makes a lot of difference I think! Some of what was said made me laugh hard, and some of what was said was slightly disturbing, but that was the point of the whole meeting, right! I’ll definately make an effort to come to the next meeting.”

Lesbian drop-in

Here's an update from Jo about the monthly lesbian drop-in, which is a group for any women new to the queer scene in Wellington:

Several of us went to see the Italian movie Sea Purple in October and then met for a drink afterwards to discuss some of the delicious parts of the scenery ...haha :-)

There will be a change in day for the next few Drop-Ins - they will be the first Wednesday of the month. Usually we'll meet at Blondinis cafe/bar at the Embassy Theatre. Find out more by phoning Helpline on 473 7878 or emailing me at jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com.

I want to thank funders of our group and members of WGWG for supporting me to go on a course next month. I will present my learnings upon return. Peace, Jo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gays of the Hutt (GOTH)

GOTH (Gays of the Hutt) is a gay mens social group that meets regularly in the Hutt for pot luck dinners. It has been running successfuly for well over 10 years.

The group gets together on the second Saturday of each month from 7.30pm-10pm (from February-November). The attendees tend to be in the more mature age group (35 plus) and numbers vary from about 7-15 people each month.

GOTH welcomes men from Wellington city, Upper Hutt and further afield.

Contact GOTH by phoning the Wellington Gay & Lesbian helpline on 473 7878 or emailing helpline@gaywellington.org (provide your contact details so GOTH can phone you back).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Join Us!

Gay Wellington is holding its next volunteer training day on Saturday 19th November 2011 from 9.30am to around 4pm.

If you'd like to get involved and give something back to the community call us on 473-7878 or email helpline@gaywellington.org. You'll be joining a group of over 30 volunteers with a wide range of age and experience.

You choose what you want to do, from taking helpline phone calls to assisting with groups like School's Out, Newcomers, the Lesbian Drop-In and the Cuthbert HIV Grants Committee. You can also help out with day-to-day tasks like fundraising, promotion or social activities.

It's an excellent way for you to develop new skills in life, find out what's going on, and meet new people.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

News from our October meeting

About 17 of the Gay Wellington folk met on Tuesday evening and talked about our database, the national database work being done by gayline, and changes we'll be making to our website. Here's some of the news:

- Our next new volunteer intake day will be Saturday 19th November - phone or email us if you'd like to join
- Mike Nolan won the contract to upgrade our website. A big thanks to everyone else who offered to help, we really appreciated it
- We continue to provide financial support to a homeless GLBTI youth
- George resigned as co-chair now that she's a School's Out employee, and Sara asked for time out as secretary while she finishes her studies
- Sara, Kassie and Liam got voted in as new members
- Our finance committee meets next Tuesday. Money ideas and donations always welcome!
- On the horizon we're planning a Xmas do in December and we're aiming for a helpline training day with invitations to OutlineNZ in February.

Whew - it was a busy night!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

School’s Out appointments to support Wellington queer youth

School’s Out has been actively supporting Wellington queer youth for over a decade, under the umbrella of Wellington Gay Welfare Group (Gay Wellington), a registered charity.

Gay Wellington is pleased to announce the successful applicants for our new part-time School’s Out positions.

Kassie Hartendorp has been appointed to the position of Facilitation Coordinator. In this role Kassie will train and work alongside volunteers, facilitating support and social groups for queer youth in the Wellington region. Kassie has been volunteering for School’s Out as a facilitator over the past year. She has strong organisational skills and experience working with youth in one-on-one and group situations.

George Mapplebeck has been appointed to the position of Program Leader. In this role George will work to grow the School’s Out programme, liaise with school counsellors, principals and other queer youth agencies, run workshops and manage the administration of School’s Out. George has been a Gay Wellington co-chair for the last year and has been actively involved with both Gay Wellington and School’s Out as a volunteer.

These two appointments are for a 12 month period, beginning in mid October 2011. It is the first time we have appointed two people into the roles.

Both Kassie and George will be guided by the three core principles of School’s Out:

For youth by youth – aiming to incorporate youth direction in all activities
Empowerment – building leadership skills and confidence among queer youth
Inclusion – involving everyone in projects and reducing discriminatory barriers to access

It would not be possible to employ Kassie and George without the support of our funders. We’d particularly like to thank the Wellington City Council and The Second AsiaPacific Outgames Legacy Fund for helping get these appointments off the ground. We welcome any new funders to contact us and help to provide ongoing financial support for School’s Out.

We hope the Wellington GLBTI community, along with the current School’s Out members and volunteers, are as excited about the new leadership team and the future of School’s Out as we are. Congratulations Kassie and George.

Stu
Co-chair, Gay Wellington

Contact us: helpline@gaywellington.org
Phone/text School’s Out: 027 763 9793

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lesbian drop in - discounted movie tickets in Oct!

Hi everyone

Our Next Drop-In group will meet Thursday Oct 6th, 6pm - 7:30 at Blondinis (The Embassy Cafe).

Near the end of October a group of us will be going to see the Italian Film Sea Purple (on Thursday Oct 27th). This film that looks particularly interesting – check it out at the italian film fest (and the link below).

We will purchase tickets at a reduced price to offer drop-in folks. Let Jo know if you are interseted in joining us - jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com

Jo

Here's the link to Sea Purple

Introduction from new WGWG Co-Chair

Hi everyone

I’ve been a member of WGWG for about 11 years and the treasurer for the last 7. I’m looking forward to taking on the new role as 2011/2012 co-chair.

This is guaranteed to be an eventful year for the group. The growth of School’s Out under the wing of two new employees and a strong team of volunteers is going to make a big difference to many teenagers’ lives and is a key focus area for WGWG. Taking helpline calls is another activity that many of us are passionate about, so the partnership with OutlineNZ and the move to take national calls from early 2012 needs to be managed well.

It’s a credit to all of our members that the number of activities under the WGWG umbrella has continued to grow. The diversity in our experience and interests makes WGWG as a whole much more than the sum of its parts. So let’s value each other’s contribution, build in some fun social activities and increase the support we give to the GLBTI community in 2011/2012.

Stu

PS we're always looking for new members, so if you're interested in joining a group of about 40 local GLBTI volunteers, send us an email or give us a call.

Tranzform

Tranzform meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Numbers fluctuate but there are between 8-14 people at the meetings. The group has been running along quite smoothly, gaining another regular member and having an original member start coming back to us, both rather delightful.

We have implemented a question / discussion box, where members can anonymously ask questions or give prompts for conversations they would like to have. It’s good for those who aren’t ready to ask questions directly yet, or just for the fun of steering the group into conversations which wouldn’t occur normally.

We have also been working on a formalized version of our safe space policy, which should be ready to put into action soon and effectively documents our current practice.

Call or text us on 022 105 0774 if you are interested in coming along. Dominique ~Tranzform~

School's Out Employee Update

Hi everyone.

Eleven people applied for the School’s Out Facilitation Co-Ordinator and Project Leader roles that we advertised last month. Every applicant was impressive. Carl, Brendan and I have just completed the interviews and will make offers to successful applicants next week. A big thanks to everyone who applied – if you didn’t get the job we hope you’ll continue (or start) being involved as a passionate volunteer.

Stu

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Newcomers is back - starting on 19 October 2011

Newcomers is a confidential support group for guys coming out who are too old for School's Out (ie guys who are in their early 20s and over). It's also a place where gay men new to Wellington can get to know people.

The group has been in hibernation for a while, but we're re-launching it again starting on Wednesday 19 October from 6pm to 7.30pm. Depending on the level of interest, we're planning to meet at the same time every second Wednesday up until Christmas.

If you're interested in coming along, check out the Newcomers webpage and send us an email or give us a call.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AGM update

Hi everyone. Yesterday Gay Wellington held its Annual General Meeting. There were about 20 folk present which was a really good turn-out.

George presented an impressive annual report as co-chair and I presented the financial report which, for the first time in several years, showed a modest surplus. Both will be posted on our website shortly.

We had a few officer changes. I have joined George as co-chair, Chris has taken up the treasurer role, and Sara is the new secretary. We all gave a big thanks to Greg for his outstanding work as secretary over the last few years.

If you'd like to join the group don't hesitate to contact us any time. We're anticipating a final intake training session sometime in November. And if you're already a member you're always welcome to put your name down for one of the various committees.

Regards

Stu

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Queer Youth Community Development Opportunities

Gay Wellington (Wellington Gay Welfare Group) is seeking applicants for two fixed term, part time positions. These positions are both 15 hours a week for a period of 12 months. The successful applicants will be working to further the development and successful management of Gay Wellington's School's Out initiative, a programme for queer youth in the Wellington Region.

School's Out has been active in the Wellington area for many years. This initiative is successful through the generous support of our many volunteers and committed funders. School's Out is committed to increasing the mental and physical health and wellbeing of queer young people, developing a dynamic and resilient community of self confident young people through the regular social and support groups throughout the region. In addition, School's Out works to create safe and welcoming environments for queer youth by offering gender and sexuality diversity programmes in schools, workplaces and in communities.

It is envisaged that the successful applicants will start work in October 2011.


Program Leader

Gay Wellington is looking for a dynamic, team-playing organisational whiz with a high level of initiative and a belief in the work of our organisation.

The successful applicant to this role will administer the running of the School's Out programme, support the work of the Facilitation Coordinator and volunteers, make funding applications, keep accurate records and write reports, raise the profile of School's Out in the community and develop strong networks, as well as grow the scope of the programme and contribute to its long term focus.

This person will have a broad understanding of issues affecting queer youth, interpersonal and leadership ability, strong communication skills, organisational ability and an aptitude with email and Office applications, and the ability to work well in a team.

For a position description, click here.

Applicants should send their CV and cover letter by email with the subject line with 'Program Leader' and your name to secretary@gaywellington.org

Applications close at 5pm, Friday 16th September.


Facilitation Coordinator

Gay Wellington is seeking an energetic, resourceful person who can facilitate groups of young queer people in the Greater Wellington region. The critical elements of this role are the day-to-day running of School's Out group meetings around the Wellington region, working closely with School's Out volunteers and ensuring volunteers have access to training and resources, and working with schools to create diversity groups and offer gender and sexuality diversity training.

This person will have experience in working with young people and an awareness of ethical standards in youth work, a high level of group facilitation skills, reliability and initiative, and strong interpersonal skills. It is important that the applicant has a nuanced and complex understanding of the issues faced by young queer people of all different identities and backgrounds.

For a position description, click here.

Applicants should send their CV and cover letter by email with the subject line with 'Facilitation Coordinator' and your name to secretary@gaywellington.org

Applications close at 5pm, Friday 16th September.

What's happening at Gay Wellington: George's Update

Our August business meeting was postponed due to SNOW! Pretty weird and exciting stuff for about 2 hours, and then just a nuisance as it stood in the way of people getting to and from meetings. So we'll have lots to deal with at the AGM in September.

However, some things still got done, even though the other co-chair Chris is still away on holiday. Ross was amazing in getting together some important applications for funding from the Outgames Legacy fund. Thanks to everyone who helped getting that submission together, as Ross put it, it made Ben Hur look like a minor effort.

The job descriptions have been finalised and are going ahead for the new School's Out community workers.

Greg and I met with Vaughan Meneses the manager of Outline, where we discussed progress towards sharing some of our services. It is likely that we will be sharing the Outline phones with Auckland perhaps as soon as early next year.

We also had a meeting with the acting chair of Gayline Wellington, an organisation that is doing major work on creating a centralised database for use by Gay Wellington and Outline. They are also very keen to help out with some of School's Out's 'one-off' expenses. As you may recall they very generously paid travel and registration costs for quite a few School's Out people to go up to Auckland earlier in the year for the Kazam hui. We are looking forward to continuing this collaboration in the next while.

George
Gay Wellington Co-Chair

Lesbian Drop-In

The Lesbian Drop In continues to meet on the 1st Thursday of the month. Our next meeting is Sept 1st at Blondinis cafe, the Embassy. We would love to see you there between 6pm and 7:30pm. It’s a friendly inclusive and welcoming bunch of women.

You are welcome to email me ahead of time for more details. Peace, Jo
jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com

Mike's School's Out Report

School's Out has (as always) been going very well this month. Recently we've had talks on coming out, stereotyping and rules. Stereotyping was fun, we asked the youth to draw pictures of certain stereotypes with amazing (and often hilarious) results. The pictures are great and will be put up on my wall at some point.

We also had a rule-making session wherein we asked the youth for some rules that they thought appropriate to increase safety.

Tomorrow we have Anny and Toni coming in to talk to us about the That's So Gay theatre project (more on this later!) Also, us facilitators have been busy with planning term schedules and meetings and all sorts of things.

Has been a great month and I can't wait for September. -Mike-

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Co-Chair Update: Donate and help make a difference

Winter is a hard time of year for a lot of people. Not only are people cold, but they are often lonely as well. Wellington Gay & Lesbian Helpline offers them someone to talk to and, hopefully, make things a bit easier.

School's Out has offered support and social times for young queer kids even over the holiday break, it has been really fun. Tranzform has also been going well, with a great regular group and lots of fantastic plans about the direction of the group. Gay Wellington has also given grants to transgendered youth that have been in strife over winter. As dire as things get sometimes, it is great to be part of a group that is making a real difference to people's lives. This is why so many of us give up our time and volunteer.

You can help. Donations to Gay Wellington mean we can make more of a difference in your community. You can make a donation by either sending us a cheque or making a deposit directly into our bank account:

Bank account details:
Account Name: Wellington Gay Welfare Group Inc.
Branch: ANZ Manners Street, Wellington
Account Number: 01 - 0517 - 0127100 - 00

Our charity registration number is CC29680. Information about us, including our annual financial details, is publicly available on the Charities Commission website.

Contact us by phone on (04) 473 7878 or email if you would like more information.

Tranzform

Tranzform is a support group for Trans/Gender Queer/Gender Non-conforming youth, and by youth we mean under 30’s. My name is Dominique and I am co-facilitator of Tranzform. With Griffin I organise the twice monthly meetings for our group.

In this past month Griffin and myself have begun the process of revamping Tranzform and the way it is managed/run plus how we promote the group. This includes consulting with the lovely members of Tranzform to see what changes they would like to see made, figuring out how the group can best serve its members, and writing a new Tranzform mission statement to give us direction in moving forward.

Tranzform is lucky to be supported by WGWG, without this support our meetings may not even be able to take place. The WGWG has kindly voted to continue supporting the group, help in the production of promotional materials which currently are rather lacking, and even procuring a mobile phone to be used as the contact point for Tranzform. Many Thanks.

Until next time
Dominique
x

Monday, July 25, 2011

An inspiring WGWG meeting...

If you are one of the 20 people who came to WGWG’s July training and business meeting it will probably be one that you remember for a while. And not just because it lasted until after 9pm! (which was a record, by the way).

The School’s Out leaders – Cassie, Stephen, Kim, Jason, Mike, Brendan and George – gave us all an excellent update. After that we had a passionate discussion about how to respond to a new GLBT youth group investigating whether to set up in Wellington. Then we talked about two GLBT teenagers who have approached School’s Out after being forced to leave home by their parents. Apart from finding them accommodation and supporting them emotionally, we unanimously agreed to provide money to help them financially over the next two weeks.

WGWG exists to promote the welfare of the GLBT community, primarily in the Wellington region. The July meeting was a sharp demonstration of how our group can make Wellington a better place. It was inspiring. Stu

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monthly School's Out Report

We’ve had a fantastic month for School's Out. There were lots of new people and some great discussions on relationships and family stuff which was really eye opening. This week we had the Rev. Margaret Mayman come and talk to the Wellington central group about sexuality and religion, it was brilliant!

The Kapiti group played some games and just hung out this week and we are planning future discussions about sex, relationships and body image. The School's Out team is going to have a chat with a designer to make business cards for when we go along to conferences and huis and are out and about in the schools.

We have a really lovely group of people at School’s Out. We are all wonderfully different but we all get on so well and have a welcoming and fun time! George

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If you missed the Intake Day you can still join us!

We had a great recruitment training day yesterday. 11 people put their names forward to be new volunteers - a record number for mid-year. Seven managed to come along to Anvil House and Bill got everyone to tell their stories. Stories were a highlight for me - everyone's was emotional, a unique journey, but always with some common points we could all understand and relate to.

Carl led an insightful discussion about HIV and I ran the systems overview again. A big thanks to Butlers Chocolates for donating prizes for the quiz & congrats go to Sonja for beating Sara and Hector by just 5 seconds! Ted's behind the scenes work made sure it all ran smoothly and it was good to see some of the helpliners turn up during the day.

Don't forget that if you or someone you know wants to volunteer they don't have to wait until the next intake day in October/November. Email Helpline and you can pick up a role straight away. The next meeting at 6pm on Tuesday 19th July will be a good chance to meet everyone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

School's Out Report from Mike & the crew

Hi everyone! School's Out has been steadily chugging along with a decent core of youth, some semi-regulars and some newbies. We've been having fun times lately with game days, guest speakers and Brendan even held a workshop on drag!

A fair few School's Out members were represented at the Queer the Night march on Thursday evening and they all had a fantastic time.

Outside of actual meetings, the facilitators have been super busy with school visits, meetings with potential guest speakers, Kazam fundraising and Kazam itself. We have a wonderful month ahead and I'm sure we're all very excited (I know I am!) Hope everyone is well. -Mike and the School's Out crew-

News from Gay Wellington's Co-Chairs

We recently had a meeting with John Mayes and Russell Bates from Gayline. Gayline agreed to pay $1,200 to sponsor School’s Out youth registration fees and other expenses for last weekend’s Kazam – National Youth Hui in Auckland.

Our discussions with Gayline also touched on the idea of moving into a long term regular but “one-off events” type of funding relationship with Gayline (who are in turn funded from the Rule Foundation). This is a promising opportunity to develop a new relationship and work together with this organisation to achieve good things for our community.

As part the Kazam Hui Chris’ household also hosted seven Q-Youth (www.q-youth.org) for two nights. They were in transit to and from Nelson to Kazam in Auckland.

We are both looking forward to meeting all the new trainees at the upcoming training day. It's always good to have new people - we usually end up learning as much as we teach at trainings so it should be really fun. George & Chris

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lesbian Drop-In Update

Our Drop-in Group has been meeting at Blondinis recently and so far it has proved to be a warm and friendly space with a few new women coming each time. Several of us have met up for Out Take films, and I have to say there was an improvement in quality this year - a Big Thank You to the organisers.

The Wellington Gay/Lesbian choir is up and running – it also meets on Thursday evenings at the St Marys Church hall on Boulcoutt St.

Our next Drop-In is July 7th at Blondinis. I will be away for the August 4th meeting but I am sure there will be others to make sure it happens.
Stay warm - winter is on its way.
Jo

Monday, May 30, 2011

Want to help make a difference with Queer Support in the Capital?

The Wellington Gay Welfare Group has been has been providing telephone support in Wellington for over 30 years. We are the facilitators of School's Out queer youth group for school aged teens. Coming out support groups for men, women and trans are well established in Newcomers, Lesbian Drop-in Centre and TRANZform meetings. Have an itch to be involved and helping to give something back to others?

WGWG is planning to hold its next volunteer training on Saturday 25th June 2011. Ring the Helpline to express your interest (04) 473-7878 or email helpline@gaywellington.org giving your name and contact details and we will get back to you to arrange a preliminary meeting over coffee to discuss options.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Volunteer!

You don't have to be Mr Gay Wellington to join Gay Wellington. Our next volunteer intake day will be on 25 June. You can be a phone volunteer, or help in a whole variety of other ways. And yes, we want women as well as men!

Send us an email or give us a call, we'd love to have you on board.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

George's latest School's Out Report

We've just started back with Term 2! Over the holidays we had a wonderful DVD day and went 10 pin bowling. I hear Brendan and Mike did quite well at the bowling.

We have lots of things planned for this term, we've even planned as far as next holidays!

We're organising a training day for our facilitators and for other diversity groups in the region for this Saturday the 7th of May, which i am looking forward to cos Rainbow Youth are coming down to help us all learn about facilitation and also it will be great to share with other lovely queer and trans groups!

George

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Newcomers - it's back!

Newcomers is getting going again after a hiatus of over half a year. We’ve had a number of enquiries and we think there are enough to start a sustainable group.

Newcomers is for any queer or gay men (or men who think they might be) and who would benefit from group discussion about sexuality, homophobia and coming out…. And it is also a way to start making social connections.

This is not merely a group for guys coming out, but also for guys new to Wellington, guys who have not fitted into the scene yet, and for guys who may have been out for a while and have plenty of gay friends, but who feel they would like to talk with a bunch of other guys about what life is like for us.

Participants will first chat with one of the facilitators to break the ice and to discuss expectations for the group. Meetings will be twice a month on Wednesday evenings. If you or anyone you know are interested, phone Bill Logan on 385 1916.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Link to UniQ

UniQ is the New Zealand group for queer tertiary students, run by students for students. While every group is independent from each other, we all share similar goals, take part in national campaigns, and meet once a year for the national UniQ conference.

UniQ Victoria is open to any tertiary student in Wellington. We hold regular meetings at Victoria University’s Kelburn campus. These feature any number of activities, from movie nights to guest speakers to discussions on queer-related current events. This year, the Executive will focus on holding frequent, informal, gatherings, as well as the annual Traffic Light Party at Club Ivy. We’re also planning on working closely with queer groups and venues (such as WGWG) to promote an inclusive “queer community” feeling.

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact us at uniqvictoria@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Next Lesbian Drop-In: 5 May 2011

Hi women out there
The next Lesbian Drop-in Group will meet at Blondinis Bar
upstairs at the Embassy theatre. 6:30pm Thursday, May 5th.
For more info email jo at Jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

School bullying & Blake Skjellerup

There are a lot of really good youtube clips that talk about school bullying. But this home grown version from Blake Skjellerup is a stand-out. I like his statement about making it better 'right now' - you don't have to wait until you leave school.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's Coming Up...

Here's some things to watch out for:

April Speakers for Members & Friends...
Jerad and Liz will contact Galaxies to see if they can be speakers at our meeting on 19th April. Chris is arranging wine and nibbles!

Next Intake Day for new Helpline & Gay Wellington Volunteers...
We’re expecting the next intake to be in May. Watch this space.

KAZAM! National Youth Hui
Over Queen’s Birthday Weekend on June 3rd-6th Rainbow Youth is running a National Youth Hui in Auckland for takataapui, queer and trans young people (27 or under) from across the country.

Buzzing after Out in the Square...

We're all still buzzing after a great day at Out in the Square. We had brilliant weather and lots of people came to our stall. The pink School’s Out t-shirts were a real success, volunteers did a great job and to top it all off we made a record profit of $937.

Out in the Square was part of our March publicity splurge, with promohomos (our publicity team) organising a range of publicity for Gay Wellington and School’s Out. Ian checked the web statistics and we had 969 website visits in March, with 610 being unique visitors. That’s the most we’ve ever had in a month.

The challenge for us is to translate good publicity into positive action for the queer Wellington community. Let’s make sure we can fill the helpline rosters, resurrect Newcomers to help meet the needs of gay men, and change our website to create a positive experience for Wellington queers. There’s much more we can do!

Chris' Co-Chair Update for April

Wasn’t it great to have the Outgames here in Wellington! I haven’t been to so many parties in just one week for years... and with a house full of Outgames friends and guests... what a week.

Thanks to all of you who were at the last meeting. We have a lot happening besides answering the telephone helpline. The national 0800 number discussions with Auckland are progressing well and we are also looking into our own group structure. We will soon be considering if moving to a ‘Board’ management structure with more closely allocated roles may be the way to go... freeing up our monthly meetings which we will then have the option to turn into more of an open public forum with invited speakers - with the Board and each work group meeting as needed.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone who helped with the Out in the Square sausage sizzle and info stall. It was fun, we were seen, and we also raised lots of dosh!

Newcomers Update

We’d like to resurrect Newcomers, which was put into recess last June. In March 90 people visited our Newcomers webpage and we get 1-3 emails a month asking about a support or social group for men who are gay. The most recent example was from a first year University student who wants to gain connections and make new friends in Wellington. Contact Bill to help out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mike's School's Out Report!

Hey guys, Mike here!
School’s Out has been going really well lately with a huge influx of newbies who seem to be really fitting in and enjoying themselves. One of the new boys said to me that he loved the “welcome environment” and said “I finally feel like I belong.” Those are direct quotes!

We recently had Dominique from Tranzform in to talk to us about trans stuff and the youth were quite interested and asked great questions.

We had Ruth from Like Minds who talked to us about a film competition. We’re considering making a film and entering which should be fun. We also went over the terms included in the queer umbrella.

Kassie and I have also started visiting school assemblies and we seem to be getting a good response from the students.

We’ve also been busy planning a facilitator training session on May 7th with the help of Rainbow Youth. Rainbow Youth (with the help of the amazing people at Outline) have been good enough to send someone down from Auckland just for us. Good to see other places offering us support.

If you’re interested in helping out or if you want more details, then e-mail queer_schools_out@hotmail.com All in all it’s been a fantastic month and we’re all looking forward to see what April has in store!

-Mike and the School’s Out team-

Monday, March 14, 2011

Born This Way Blog

I came across this blog which makes compelling reading! The stories of growing up LGBTQ and making it though to adulthood out and proud are great to hear.

"Born This Way" Blog
borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com
A photo/essay project for gay adults (of all genders) to submit childhood pictures and stories (roughly ages 2 to 12), reflecting memories & early beginnings of their innate LGBTQ selves. Nurture allows what nature endows. It's their nature, their truth!

Note from Chris our co-chair

This note is from Chris, our co-chair:
Many thanks to everyone who was part of the Strathean planning weekend. I enjoyed the whole experience and think we did good work looking at what we are doing and how we could work differently. It was great to have Vaughan come down from Auckland and hear how we could get more inv...olved with the national queer helpline 0800 phone service.

I was left with the feeling that he saw us with a different culture and way of operating than Auckland, but as a strong skilled group of people that could be part of a new national queer helpline, each group maintaining independence.

The next month is going to be busy with Outgames… lets make sure we give ourselves visibility during the week. Make sure you come to our annual fundraiser sausage sizzle - part of Out in the Square is in two weeks time (Sat 12th).

Big hugs to you Brendan – sorry it happened and here’s hoping you mend physically and emotionally… the hardest bit I suspect… soon.

Note from a School's Out attendee

“I was once a 17 year old that felt that I had to solve all my problems by myself. Then about half a year ago, I showed up to School’s Out, not knowing what to expect. When I was there I discovered not only did I find a group of people that I could relate to a...nd find support in, but I discovered a group of friends so unique, that I had to come back. School’s Out isn't just a place I go to for help but, it's a place I go to for friendship.

When there, I can be myself. I don't have to hide anything and I don't feel judged in a negative way. That's why I go to School’s Out.” Keith

Brendan

Early on Sunday 27th February WGWG member and Schools Out co-ordinator Brendan was bashed on his way home from S&Ms and required hospitalisation.

Brendan is out of hospital now. When I checked in with Brendan on Monday he said "I'm doing fine all things considered, I'm not in too much pain and have had quite a steady... flow of visitors and plenty of messages on FaceBook."

At a time when everyone in Wellington is watching the horrible stories unfold in Christchurch, it’s hard to understand this act of unprovoked violence in our own city. Sometimes we take the safety of our city streets for granted. We shouldn’t. Violence can come from many different sources.

Back in July two of Wellington’s Diversity Liaison Officers from the Police talked to us about their role dealing with bulling and homophobia. If you know anyone who has had a similar experience to Brendan, encourage them to contact a DLO. They’re there to help.

Monthly co-chair update from George

Here's the monthly co-chair update from George:
At the February meeting we discussed many of the things that were 'blue-skyed' in the planning sessions at Strathean.

There was some lengthy discussion about the proposal to work closer with OUTLine. We provisionally agreed to pursue the idea and Chris and I have been maki...ng some headway. We are scheduled to meet with Vaughan Meneses during the Human Rights conference mid-March.

We are looking forward to another fantastic Out in the Square, and Cruz is this year's no. 1 sausage-sizzle organising guy. If you enjoy sausages, (meat or vegetarian), or you just want to catch up and say hi, make sure you come over to the Gay Wellington stand! We will have amazing t-shirts for everyone helping on the day as well. George

"Mates & Lovers"

Gay Wellington is proud to help financially support "Mates & Lovers" at Downstage from Tuesday 8th March to Saturday 12th March. Look out for our ad in their programme. Hopefully we'll see you there!
MATES & LOVERS 2011
www.youtube.com
Fabulous Arts Aotearoa New Zealand Presents Mates & Lovers The untold stories of our brothers, sons and fathers Wellington 8 -- 12 March 2011 Downstage Dunedin 22 -- 26 March 2011 Fortune Theatre Based on Montana Book Award Winner Mates & Lovers: A history of gay New Zealand by Chris Br

Earthquake news

OUTLineNZ and GABA set up a database of glbt-friendly accommodation for people affected by the earthquake. If you want to volunteer accommodation, check out the below link.
GayNZ.com Glbt-friendly accommodation for quake victims
www.gaynz.com

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The latest from Schools Out

This week at School's Out we played Psychiatrist. One of the secret rules was that if you answered a question looking at someone the same sex as you you had to lie, and if you were looking at the opposite sex you had to tell the truth. It took ages for them to guess it! We also played Mafia - once with a Harry Potter plotline, and once where we were all Simpsons characters.

We have a big list of topics and speakers and activities that the School's Out kids want us to organise for the year, and with a little bit of planning and persistence we should have some good fun times!

If you'd like to come along to School's Out, just text 027 7639793 and we'll give you more details. Don't forget there is also a School's Out facebook page.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Schools Out 2011

Brendan Goudswaard finished his paid contract as the Schools Out Coordinator in January.

Gay Wellington would like to thank him for keeping the group going successfully in 2010 and we wish him well. Although fortunately he will continue to have an ongoing involvement with Schools Out in 2011.

We have lots of plans for the group when the school term starts, including funding for a fresh advertising campaign. So keep an eye out!

Schools Out can be contacted by texting/calling 027 763 9793 or by email at queer_schools_out@hotmail.com

What's coming through the helpline?

We keept the helpline available for 16 days over December/January.

Just under half the calls were received from females.

Topics ranged from relationships, transgender issues, accommodation, referrals to gay-friendly groups, and straight men confused with feelings of same sex attraction.

Greetings from George, our Co-Chair

The planning days were a great success this month! We had extrememly positive and productive discussions about the future of Gay Wellington for a whole day and a half. We got to stay at the very peaceful Strathean just out of Otaki.

Thanks to our guests, Vaughan and Jeremy, as well as to everyone who came along for making it such a nice time.

I am feeling pumped about all the plans we have for the year and I am also filled with love and respect for all those involved. Good one!

George

January 2011 Planning Days

There were 13 of us at the Strathean planning days last weekend. We were joined by Vaughan Meneses from OUTLine and Jeremy Baker who helped faciliate the Saturday.

The venue and weather were brilliant and we came up with plenty of new ideas. We will put these ideas up at the February business meeting so everyone can agree on the way forward.

Underlying these ideas was the premise that we will continue to focus on three main groups - youth, people who are confused / coming out, and the local GLBT community.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lesbian Drop-In Update

Happy New Year!

Some of us attended the 1st Velvet Club show and one of our members, Hazel, was a fab performer. There is another lesbian event at the Velvet Club for valentine's Day. Hopefully we will get another good crowd out.

The Amazon Softball Team is having a good season and remains undefeated. There are a few teams signed up and practicing for the Out Games Lawn Bowls on Wednesday evenings in Kilbirnie.

Our next Drop-In is February 2nd. This clashes with the Bowls but hey, can't do it all!

Cheers

Jo

[Lesbian Drop-Ins are held on the first Wednesday of each month. For more details contact Jo at jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com]