Sunday, May 27, 2012

20 ways to meet gay guys in Wellington

We often get contacted by guys who are coming out or are new to Wellington and they have no idea how to meet other gay guys socially.  When we start to run through a list of options, usually they're really suprised.  Here's a list of 20 ideas I've put together and sent to a couple of guys recently.  Tell us what you think - what's missing that you'd recommend?

20 things a gay man in Wellington can do to meet other guys socially...

1.Drop in at the S&M bar on Cuba Street. They're friendly and there are free newspapers and pamphlets that tell you what's going on. If you feel awkward with nothing to do, come to one of their camp bingo (bingay) evenings on Wednesday and have some fun.

2. Go to Pink Ink. The gay men's book group that meets monthly to discuss and share books and DVDs. Contact, mobile: 027 274 4200

3. Try bowling. Sundays, 5pm at Strike, 399 Hutt Road, Lower Hutt. Playing 3 games of tenpin in teams of 2. Cost is only $20pp. email:

4. Sing with the gay and lesbian choir, the Glamaphones. Rehearsals are on Thursdays 6.30 - 8.30, at St Mary's Hall in Boulcott Street, 50m up the road from the church. Contact Jo Calascione or Jan Suckling

5. Learn how to dance. DANSSINZ classes for Wellington Gay and Lesbian dancers and friends are held at Thistle Hall, located on the corner Arthur Street & Cuba Street, upstairs (enter through Arthur Street side). Payment is by koha/donation. No partner is necessary. Sunday Nights. 7-9 pm

6. Chill out at a cafe. Abode Cafe, 28 Cornwall Street, Lower Hutt's only out and proud gay owned and operated cafe!

7. Get fit running. Frontrunners is an inclusive running group for the Capital’s gay and lesbian runners. They meet outside the Freyberg Pool on Oriental Parade on Sundays at 9am.

8. GOTH. It's not what you may think. Gays Of The Hutt is a gay mens social group that meets in the Hutt for pot luck dinners. The group's meetings are on the second Saturday of each month from 7.30pm-10pm (from February-November). The attendee numbers vary from about 7-15 people each month. Contact GOTH by phoning the gay helpline on 473 7878.

9. Pack condoms. The NZAF Āwhina Centre is based on Willis Street in central Wellington. Our one constant opportunity is condom packing. One evening every week we have a dedicated team of volunteers who gather at our main centres to pack condoms. We distribute around 30-40,000 condoms each month - that's a lot of condoms! We would love your help to pack them.

10. Swim. Different Strokes is a group of mixed ability swimmers who swim together for fitness, fun and friendship. All ability levels, male and female swimmers are welcome. Coached swimming training sessions every Monday at 7:00pm; uncoached training sessions every Thursday night at 7:00pm and social swim sessions every Sunday at 5:00pm during winter daylight saving times and at 6:00pm during summer. Address: Freyberg Pool, 139 Oriental Parade, Wellington. (Thursday and Sunday). WRAC, 63 Kilbirnie Crescent, Kilbirnie.(Monday).  Email: Different Strokes Website:

11. Hear a coming out story (or tell yours). Newcomers is a group run by Gay Wellington where guys meet every second Tuesday from 6pm to 7.30pm to share their coming out story or hear others talk about their lives. Great to do if you're coming out, but if you've already been there you can still come and help other guys by telling your story. Phone the gay helpline on 473 7878.

12. Cycle. Yes, Wellington does have a gay men's cycling group. The guys cycle for an hour most Saturday mornings and have coffee afterwards. Phone the gay helpline on 473 7878.

13. Get political. The Queer Avengers is a group fighting homophobia and transphobia, in Wellington and further afield. They meet every Thursday and they like rainbow balaclavas and unicorns. Contact them by email at: thequeeravengers AT gmail DOT com.

14. Volunteer. Gay Wellington runs a helpline, coming out groups, School's Out, a HIV/AIDS grant fund and much more. They have monthly guest speakers from the community as well as monthly social events. Phone the gay helpline on 473 7878. If this isn't your thing, have a look round for other volunteer groups to join. Gayline is another group of volunteers working to help others who are gay or are exploring their sexuality by maintaining a database of what's on. Check out

15. Become a social fruit. Social Fruits is a social group for young LGBT people 18-30 years. Contact Ellen on 027 5499542 or email for more details.

16. Are you a gay or bi dad? Gay Dads is a friendly social group for gay dads and their partners. The group meets monthly (usually at weekends) for a pot luck meal and drink. This is a social group and they normally meet in someone's house. email

17. Take a trip out of town. The Kapiti Rainbow Club is a social group for men in the Kapiti and Horowhenua areas. Monthly gatherings, email There's also Rural Blokes, a social group for gay men in the Wairarapa that organises social events. email

18. Network. Rainbow Wellington is a group representing the interests of, and organising social functions and activities for, the local GLBTI community. They hold regular events and publish a very good newsletter. It costs $40 to be a member. Email or check out their website which is always up-to-date and quicker than email:

19. Walk on the wild side. Wellington has two gay saunas - Checkmate at 15 Tory Street and The Emperor's Bathhouse on 5 Wigan Street.

20. Admire the flora. Join the Wellington Rainbow Gardening Group. email

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Co-chair soapbox

April was a busy month for Gay Wellington. Our total number of members and new volunteers has hit a record high of 45 people after the recent intake day, so a warm welcome to all the new folk! It’s great to have you on board to help promote the welfare of all those in the Wellington region who identify with the queer communities. We often receive good feedback about the work we do - it's great to make a difference.  For example check out our blog for the feedback we received in April about Newcomers, our coming out group for men.

When the Wellington lesbian couple publicly denounced the discrimination they felt at a public bar last week, homophobia was on the minds of many people in our community. Homophobia isn’t acceptable and it’s Gay Wellington's job to reinforce the validity and acceptability of gayness. As the events unfolded in front of the media we didn’t release a statement as groups like Queer Avengers have done (they did a good job though, well done guys). However we want the community to know that all of the Gay Wellington subgroups and volunteers are here to give personal support to people facing homophobia. That's one of the reasons why the Wellington helpline, School's Out, Tranzform, and the coming out groups for men and women exist!

In future we may become more proactive with the media – that’s something we’ll discuss more as a group. The upcoming planned survey about what the Wellington GLBTI community expects from us will help us plan our future role in the community. If you are willing to help out with the survey project, let us know.

Finally, one of the many highlights of the month was when a group of 18 Gay Wellington volunteers went to That’s So Gay at BATS. Most of us shared a dinner afterwards - a fabulous night out and a good way to socialise with fellow volunteers. Thanks Jo and Marc for putting time aside to make these social events happen.  And thanks to everyone who worked on the production of That's So Gay - it was brilliant!

If you're reading this and you'd like to join our group of diverse volunteers, don't hesitate to call helpline on 473 7878 or email us at

Stu & Kura

Updates from School's Out and Helpline


Things have quietened down for School's Out in April, but we've still been involved in exciting activities for our holidays including a successful trip to the zoo, and a games day at Zeal. A number of our youth have also been involved in the Toi Whakaari production, That's So Gay which is a collection of true stories which reflect the lives of our queer youth. The show sold out over three nights, and we hope that everyone managed to get a chance to see this awesome performance!

School's Out would also like to thank all of its wonderful volunteers. The role of a facilitator can take up a lot of time, as well as be emotionally demanding, and we appreciate the effort that each of our volunteers (including those behind the scenes) put into making this a strong and supportive organisation for youth.
Lastly, if you know of anyone between the ages of 14-18 who is queer or questioning, don't forget to let them know about us, and pass on our number: 0277 639 793. Kassie

We were available for 15/18 days in April, took 7 calls (3 male, 4 female) and spoke for 2hrs. The callers were a mix of people who recently moved to Wellington or who were coming out.

That's the lowest number of monthly calls in ages.  What happened in April?  If you would like information about the local GLBTI community, want a referral to another group or just want to chat about what's going on in your life, give us a call.  We've got a diverse group of volunteers ready to say hello from Sunday through to Wednesday, 7.30pm-9.30pm.  Phone 04 473 7878.

Newcomers - is it any good?

A Newcomer recently wrote this testimonial about us (thanks Logan): "Being a gay man thinking of coming out, I joined Newcomers hoping to hear about the stories of others and how they found the whole coming out process. I have always been able to relate, in some way, to the stories shared by other members of the group and have been amazed by how much some members have gone through – it really puts my own reservations about coming out into perspective. I also like the informal and ‘no drama’ nature of the meetings as well as the support and honest advice the group provides. I have been going to Newcomers for about three months now and would recommend it to anyone who is keen to give it a go." The next Newcomers meeting is Tuesday 8th of May and we meet every second Tuesday (from 6pm-7.30pm). Email or phone helpline if you'd like more information.