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March 3, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Queer

Avoiding the post-Orientation blues, or; how to find our ‘community’

Kia Ora everyone! I hope Orientation week treated you well, whether you’re a returning student or otherwise. After a week of mayhem, it’s tempting to turn to the pressing task of academics, which some people would have you believe is the point of being at University, but I disagree. After all, what’s the point in attending all of your lectures if you can’t find any way to snap out of your post-ori lonely ihatemyhostel blues! Whilst the isolation of the major gigs being over is hard for most of us, it can be even harder for new queer students at the University, which is why this article’s gonna be a handy quide to where to find our “community”. Whatever your interpretation of community is, hopefully this wee rundown may help you find what you’re looking for.

UNIQ!!!
Your first port of call in tracking down some wicked fancy company should definitely be UniQ on campus. You can check ‘em out on www.uniq.wellington.net.nz, or e-mail any enquiries to uniq@vuwsa.org.nz. You can also just keep an eye out in the Salient notices, and for posters around campus, which’ll keep you informed of upcoming events.The current co-presidents, Laressa and Nathan, are both super-rad and you can expect to find super-friendly people at all of our events! UniQ organises the occasional dance party, fortnightly meetings (everything from tea parties, to pizza and movie nights, to BBQ’s), and is a really good place to meet up with other queer students. They can also hook ya up with safer sex information and supplies! Come along to the UniQ BBQ/IGM on Thursday March the 6th, 5pm, in the Mt Street Bar and Café.

Internet
If face-to-face contact is maybe not your thing right now, you can always get chatting to people via the internet. Gaynz.com is a super handy website, with news articles, gig guides for the queer community, discussion forums, and a dating section too. If you’re looking for internet hook-ups, you can also check out www.nzdating.com, another good way to meet people (platonically and otherwise..). If you’re hooking up on the internet, even if it’s just making friends, make sure you always consider your safety! http://www.gaywellington.org/index. htm is a handy website, dedicated specifically to being queer in Wellington. It is run by the Wellington Gay Welfare Group, and their website has links to School’s Out, and the Gay Helpline.

Wider Community
In the wider Wellington community, there are plenty of groups to get involved in. One of the more obvious first choices is the Aids Foundation, who are always open to new volunteers! They do a lot of good within the community, and the staff down there are super lovely. As well as this, there’s Schools’ Out, a support group for queer and questioning youth, aged between 13 and 21. E-mail schoolsout@gaywellington.org. On top of these organisations, there are plenty of other things to get involved in. The LILAC lesbian library, located on The Terrace, is a great resource for queer women. Check out http://www.lilac.wellington.net.nz/ for more information. Queer women will find plenty of information on Wellington events at http://wellington.lesbian.net.nz/events.html. For a list of general queer organisations in Wellington, GayNZ has an up-to-date and fairly complete list at http://www.gaynz.com/community/gay-wlg.php

Nightlife
With the closure of queer bar iMerst at the end of last year, Wellington is still waiting for a queer club to replace it. However, there is the recently opened S&M, on upper Cuba St, which is an intimate cocktail lounge and bar. There are also rumours flying that the iMerst venue is reopening on the 14th of March, so keep an eye out for that. As well as both of these explicitly queer clubs, there are many other queer-friendly bars around. Mercury, on Courtenay place, is always open into the wee hours of the morning, and as well as having delicious cocktails, is also often filled with queer kids and their friends. Another early-morning destination with a few queers is the trusty Blue Note, on upper Cuba St (practically opposite S&M). As well as featuring trustworthy karaoke, charming stuff, and a diverse and lively clientele, their drinks are not too expensive and they’re generally open till around 6am. Plus, they have fairylights leading to the bathroom, which I think is awesome.

Sexytimes
Last but not least, there are several ways for those of you looking for casual sex to score. As well as the aforementioned internet avenues, there are two Saunas (open only to men) located in Wellington. Club Wakefield and Checkmate are both sex-on-site venues, which both charge a $15 entry fee, and offer Saunas, spa pools, cruise areas, and TV rooms. Remember, with both internet hook-ups, and sex-on-site venues, nothing is more important than your safety! As well as practicing safe sex, you should always be careful to avoid dangerous situations. While this is not a complete rundown of fun stuff specifically for queer kids in Wellington, hopefully it’ll be a helpful introduction for you, and will help you enjoy your time here that little bit more. Make sure you get involved with UniQ, and I expect you all to introduce yourselves to me sometime. Heck, you may even get an invite to join my super-mega-cool-karaoke crew if you come up and say hi!

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