Boyz: The Adelaide social group for young gay and bi guys
CREATED ON // Wednesday, 06 August 2014 Author // Ron Hughes
The past four months have been a fantastic journey for Ben Yi, as he has taken over responsibility for coordinating Boyz, an Adelaide-based social group for young gay and bisexual guys.
Since its establishment in March 2014, Boyz has grown rapidly and now has more than 90 members registered on its meetup site.
Boyz was established as a clear and timely response to improve social connection between young men aged 18 - 30 in the gay and bi community in Adelaide. The group frequently meets to attend social events such as picnics, walks, movie nights and educational workshops, with group members including Adelaide-born residents as well as men from a diverse range of backgrounds.
“Surprisingly, a large number of our members come from overseas,” Yi said.
“This diversity has brought many interesting cultural perspectives to the group and has helped to create a more culturally diverse and safe environment.”
[Image] Boyz organiser Ben Yi.
Yi explained that as members from different ethnic backgrounds share their experiences from their own cultural perspectives, others feel the confidence to do the same.
“That is one of the highlights of our meetup events, watching the guys learn from each other’s experiences,” Yi said.
“One of our recent post-movie discussions particularly impressed me, with all the guys fully embracing a discussion of the storyline, exploring what it means to be same-sex attracted in the face of cultural and family conflicts. It was great to see everyone participating and supporting others to share their experiences.”
Recognising that technology has changed the way people communicate and interact, Yi has found that using the social media ‘meetup’ platform to connect with young men has been an effective approach.
“It’s important to provide a way for young people to meet up in our community and connect with each other to form real friendships, for social engagement and to offer community support from a wide range of tailored services and resources,” Yi said.
The group has enabled members to meet new like-minded friends, with many swapping details and connecting personally outside of the group. Guest speakers and educators are also often invited to attend meetups to present information about their services and network with members.
“While the aim of Boyz is to foster a fun, social environment for these guys, it’s also about pushing an underlying health message of well-being, community and connection,” Yi said.
“By varying the themes of each event, we’re also able to reach more young guys by appealing to their different interests. It’s a lot of fun and it’s also really rewarding to see these guys grow, gain confidence and increase their awareness about important issues.”
Pictured: Boyz co-ordinator Ben Yi (photo supplied)