We know you’re out there, because our community is everywhere! Sometimes we’re just a little less visible and hard to find. We caught up with Eba and Dan, two members of Southland Gay and Lesbian Support (SGnLs), who have come on board this year to make our Southern-most family more visible and vibrant.
“SGnLs has been going since about 2004,” says Eba. “There was a brief period around 2007 where the group dissolved, but it’s been back together a few years now. I’ve been part of it for almost a year, meeting up with the sometimes transient group of ten or more people. “
The group has gone from being just a group that catches up for drinks, to a support group that is looking to start things like PFLAG and youth groups in the area. “We’ve even met up with MP Kevin Hague who has given us lots of ideas about how to get things going in the area. We also talked about same-sex marriage and gay adoption – we wanted to find out how long it would take.”
Dan moved to Southland earlier this year and found the area to be starkly different to the GLBT hubbub of Auckland City.
“We have a gay-friendly bar here but there’s no particular bar just for us. The community is definitely not as visible – people just live a bit more quietly. There are lots of lesbian couples down here though, I know that much!”
One of SGnLs goals is to put together a youth group for GLBT kids. Currently there are no GLBT groups or gay/straight alliances in any Southland schools, so SGnLs is looking to put something together once the bell rings.
“We’re looking to get a group of GLBT youth together outside of school so that they know there are others out there like them,” says Eba. “It would be great to have groups sorted out during school, but in the absence of that, we want to give kids a place to get together and just hang out.”
The idea of running a PFLAG is also starting to take off, with one parent already keen to get the movement up and running. “We know there is a group of people out there in the community with an interest in the group,” says Dan. “We have lots of people who are just watching us – they don’t so much get involved or help with organising. We’ve had a lot of feedback from people who are following us – we just need people to get on board with the group and be active.”
If joining Southland Gay and Lesbian Support sounds like something you can get behind, find the group on Facebook, or email email@example.com. The group would love to hear from you!