Can We Have a Games Night?

graemeOIPLast month as soon as the March edition of OUTinPerth hit the streets my partner and I headed to the airport for an overseas holiday which began with a ten day stay in New York City.

One afternoon, upon exiting my favourite NYC music store Other Music, we saw a giant billboard on the back of a truck avertising the annual LGBT Business Expo. Never passing up an opportunity to meet several hundred queer people in one go, on Sunday morning I forced myself to get up early and walk across to a giant exhibition cente on the west side of Manhatten.

Inside there were hundreds of stalls. Think of our yearly Fairday but on steroids. I walked around the room and met people from NYC Pride, Brooklyn Pride, Upstate New York Pride and a dozen other Pride groups. I talked to people from community centres from Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, New Jersey and White Plains. It struck me that these community groups had an amazing diversity of services.

There were the things you’d expect, phone counselling, peer support groups, PFLAG meetings and business networking. But they also had weekly jigsaw puzzle solving groups, board game nights, movie nights, drumming groups, sci-fi clubs, book clubs, philosiphy workshops, sessions to help people write resumes and monthly book clubs. At the White Plains centre they have a program to make sure that people aren’t on their own during holidays, at Brooklyn’s youth centre they have one night where everyone gets together for a good home cooked meal.

Naturally big cities have big populations and this allows them to have many more things but here in Perth why don’t we have more events that don’t involve alcohol? Why don’t we have more events that are on week nights away from the clubs and pubs? Maybe if we had more opportunities to meet up and interact we would rebuild our sense of community. Like a chicken and egg conundrum, which comes first – the community to build the events or the events to build a community?


Graeme Watson
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