Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome Andre, Gelo & Sarah - 3 New Volunteers


Hi everyone. I've recently taken on the job as a coordinator for Newcomers group and am really enjoying it so far!

I am a part time student at Weltec studying towards a Bachelor of Counselling, so coordinating this group feeds my interest of therapeutic work in a group setting, making this a great learning opportunity. Being part of this group also has allowed me to meet and connect to the gay community here in Wellington which is really great as well!

From Christchurch originally, I've been in Wellington for 4 years now. I'm really enjoying my lifestyle here in this still-new city. Recently my boyfriend and I bought our first home together, so life is exciting, rich, and full at the moment.

The Newcomers group is really proving to be a supportive and enjoyable place for the participants to explore what 'coming out' is all about, for themselves and for others in the group.

If you are interested about the Newcomers group, find out more by clicking on the link to the group on the left side on the Gay Wellington homepage, and to make contact, either email: newcomers@gaywellington.org or phone Gay Helpline: (04) 473 7878

See you around Wellington.

Mabuhay! I’m Gelo Camaya from Manila, Philippines. I’ve been in New Zealand for 6 months now and looking for LGBT groups where I can partake in. I was very glad that WGWG was the first link that I stumbled on when I Googled it. I am working as a Test Analyst in one of the leading IT companies in the world.
At a very young age, I was already exposed to various discrimination issues against LGBTs in my community. With these happening, I have decided to be involved in the LGBT community in the Philippines. Some groups that I have worked with are: Ladlad Partylist (The National LGBT Political Organization), OneBacardi (Gay Youth Organization), Task Force Pride Philippines (Organizing committee of the annual Manila LGBT Pride March) and Youth Voices Count (MSM and TG youth group in South East Asia and the Pacific). Aside from being an LGBT advocate, I also do volunteer work for HIV/AIDS awareness and causes.
Being involved in WGWG is a new opportunity for me to continue working for my passion. This is also a great venue for me to learn and experience new LGBT situations, and share stories of struggles and successes of LGBTs in the Philippines and some countries in South East Asia.
During my free time, if I have any, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, playing board games, watching movies, travelling to new places and splurging in shopping.
I’m looking forward to a memorable and a fabulous time with WGWG.

Hi all. I'm Sarah. I joined WGWG earlier this year after coming along as a guest speaker one night to talk about the union movement. At the meeting I thought, “These people are cool and very inclusive and they want to make a positive difference in our community. Where do I sign up?”
I shifted to Wellington in February 2011, originally from Auckland. I was a member of OUTline there and attended a training course with Stu and Jo a few years ago. I love living in Wellington my new home and in my downtime I enjoy exploring the many little villages and beautiful walks.
I see life as a big adventure. I have worked in many different jobs and lost count of the number of different places I have lived. One of my friends called me ‘the wandering Jew’ as I am often on the move.
I see myself as Queer Femme and proud. I feel very lucky in having friends and partners who have a variety of different genders and identities. These relationships have enriched my life and my perspectives.
Workwise, I originally trained as a video-editor, worked in television (Hunter S Thompson was right about the media, it is a long shallow trench where good men (sic) die like dogs!) played music and made a short dance film - a collaboration with a choreographer. I changed direction in my 30s and returned to study so that I could focus on two of my big passions, environmental sustainability and community development. Since then I have worked in local government and the community sector in various roles.
I have three nephews who are my little stars and I love them to the moon and back and some.
When I get a chance I enjoy travel - to anywhere! My favourite trip was to Mexico and Cuba. I have been a big fan of Cuban Salsa and Spanish ever since, and am forever trying to learn both. I also love writing and films of any kind so if anyone wants to be part of a writers group or film-buffs club or especially if you are a lead on the dance floor, let me know!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

NZ Prostitutes Collective talks to Gay Wellington

There were 22 of us at Gay Wellington's monthly meeting on July 17th (from 6pm to 7pm).

Calum from the NZ Prostitutes Collective was the guest speaker. He managed to keep us entertained for an hour by presenting facts and figures and answering an avalanche of questions.

We learnt that prostitution was decriminalised in NZ in 2003 and our laws are now some of the most liberal in the world. Based on a 2007 survey, 85% of NZ prostitutes are female, 9% are male and 6% are trans. The most usual age is 20-24, then 18-19, then 25-29 and then 30+. About 83% are indoor and 17% are outdoor workers. In Wellington there are about 32 prostitutes who are regularly on the streets.

We even learnt the difference between BOOBS and SOOBS (Big Owner Operator Brothels and Small Owner Operated Brothels). According to the survey, earning money is the most common reason for taking up prostitution. A high proportion of male prostitutes also give sexual experimentation as a reason.

The research didn't provide any information about clients. Though we know some people who think they may be same-sex attracted do become clients to help figure out their own sexuality.

And a final thought in case you're thinking of taking this up as a secondary job - you need to be very self-confident. If you're not, sex work probably isn't for you.

Check out the NZPC website if you want to know more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A community discussion on supporting young queer people in the Kapiti Area

School’s Out invites you to:

A community discussion on supporting young queer people in the Kapiti Area.

We\'d like to do more things to sustain and nurture queer and trans youth in Kapiti and we are asking you - the people who live and work and study in the area - for your opinions about how this should happen. What School’s Out really needs is a support network in place that can make young people feel safer, better supported, and connected with their community. We want to work with the Kapiti community to set goals of what we all want to achieve in the region in the future.

When: 25th July at 5 30pm

Where: Kapiti Youth Support, 15 Tutanekai St, Paraparaumu

School\'s Out Aims to:

·         Create a strong sustainable School’s Out group in the area, with more young people involved in making a safe and supportive meeting space for queer and transgendered youth
·         Have as much participation from the Kapiti community and youth in the area as possible
·         Make a stronger support network in the area by fostering closer connections with the queer community in the area
·         Build links with high schools and community groups in the area.
·         Support anti-bullying and diversity awareness initiatives, seeking to work with schools to create safe environments for all students, and to create a feeling of safety and acceptance, with support from straight students
·         Train facilitators locally to run meetings for this group and keeping strong communication with the centre.
·         Build mentoring links between diversity group leaders in Kapiti schools and School’s Out facilitators and develop queer youth leadership capacity.
·         Get together more local sources of funding to sustain this group.

Feel free to contact us on the info below if you have any queries in regards to this event.

School\'s Out - Queer Youth Organisation
e:  queer_schools_out@hotmail.com
m:             0277 639 793    
a:  PO Box 11-372, Wellington
w:  http://www.gaywellington.org/index.php/schools-out

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Welcome Kyaw - a new volunteer

Hi everyone, Kyaw here.

I am originally from Yangon/Rangoon, Myanmar/Burma. My parents (and I) moved to New Zealand about 6 years ago. I studied Pharmacy at University of Otago, Dunedin before moving up to Masterton in December of last year. I am current completing my Pharmacy Internship.

I identify myself as gender-fluid and bisexual. I started coming out in my late teens before my arrival in New Zealand and can confidently say I have completed that.

I decided to become a trainee Gay Wellington helpliner as Auckland based OUTLINE was a great help in continuation of my coming out process after my arrival in New Zealand. In hindsight, I am glad my coming out had bits from both Burmese and Kiwi LGBTI narratives.

In addition to above listed activities and a few others, I maintain my own weblog with occasional to regular posts (depending on my other tasks) mainly featuring one of these: flags, Asia-Pacific countries (broadly defined), and my thoughts on a variety current affairs/issues including those of the ‘rainbow’ colour.


Latest news from promohomos, helpline & coming out support groups


Hi Everyone, just an update from Promohomos.

At the last meeting we had a chance to speak about who we are and what we do for the group. Basically Promohomos is the promotional arm of Gay Wellington with members who dedicate time (the best that we can) in finding ways to let people know we are here. So far our projects include Website maintenance, advertising with DOMPOST and identifying ways to promote Gay Wellington. Next on our list is to finalise what our official logo is, sort some flyers and posters for School's Out, Tranzform and Gay Wellington. If you are keen to join the group just let us know and we are more than happy to welcome new members.

I addition to this, I have met up with Andy Derleth in Auckland. He is the reigning Mr. Gay World 2012. He offered to help in promoting us during his interviews and appearances and asked to have an overview of what we do and who we are. During the meeting I provided him some information on the different activities that we do and gave him some flyers too. I am very happy with my catch up with Andy as it is always a good experience to meet people who are passionate about fighting homophobia. Alexis


We were available for 12/16 days in June, took 5 calls (4 male, 1 female) and spoke for 1hr. It was an unusually quiet month!

Lesbian drop-in

The next Lesbian Drop-In group meets Thursday July 5th at Blondinis cafe - upstairs at the Embassy Theatre. Look for our rainbow sign on a table. We're a friendly lot and all women are welcome. Email first if you would like to know more - jo.morrison.nz@gmail.com


We had two meetings in June and two compelling and emotional stories. How can any male coming out resist coming to this group? Stu

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dee & Stu - co-chair headlines

Our new co-chair

Hi, how are you? I’m so glad we have this opportunity to talk! My name is Dominique DeWitt, or Dee. I’m a Performance Artist who has recently completed my B.F.A. (Hons), in fact, you may perchance see my smiling face about town on the posters for the upcoming July Dr. Sketchy. I’m also a facilitator for the Wellington trans youth group ‘Tranzform’, a volunteer position that I have had the pleasure to be in for the past two years. But the reason I’m writing what you are now reading is that I’m the new co-chair of this fine group; the Wellington Gay Welfare Group. As far as I know - or anyone else at WGWG that I’ve spoken to knows - I am the very first trans co-chair that WGWG has ever had, and I am honoured to have been voted in to such a position.

Unfortunately there has always been some animosity about how included the ‘T’ of 'LGBT' has been within queer spaces and institutions. At times transgender inclusion has seemed a rather token gesture, being lip-service only. The problem of trans inclusion - and here I’m using trans as a term to encompass anyone who identifies as a gender different from that which they were assigned at birth- generally arises due to the differences in the issues faced by trans people, as opposed to those shared by much of the wider queer community. Although there is undoubtedly significant overlap, it sometimes feels like there is a huge chasm between the views and needs of the trans community and those of the rest of the 'LGB'. I hope that as co-chair of the WGWG, I will be able to work towards a better involvement of the trans minority in the larger 'LGB' majority, developing mutual respect and furthering our understanding of the issues we face as a community, as groups within this community, and as individuals. In this way I hope to enable the WGWG to continue it’s awesome support of a diverse and fabulous LGBT community in which everyone can feel involved and welcomed!


Strategy… and Melbourne

As we end another financial year and welcome a new co-chair, what should our group’s strategic priorities be? Here’s what I’d put on the shortlist:

1. School's Out future direction, funding and renewing employee contracts in October 2012

2. Helpline - taking Outline calls and using the Gayline national database

3. Undertaking a community survey to help determine our future five-year direction as a group

4. Deciding whether we change our management structure so every group is run in a more professional way

5. Improving our own promotion and community interaction.

And why, you ask, is Melbourne in the heading? The Australian Charities Commission offered me a 4-month contract from 1 August through to December so I will be heading across the Tasman soon. The July WGWG meeting will be my last as co-chair, which shouldn’t be a problem as the AGM is in August. If I don’t see you in July, I’ll see you at WGWG’s Xmas do! PS You’re welcome to visit.