Bringing Adelaide Guys Together: MAN-TAG
Adelaide’s monthly MAN-TAG event has just turned three years old and it’s growing by the month. Ron Hughes spoke to coordinator Steven Moran about the event’s success.
“Yes it's an amazing milestone for something that started as a way for a few friends to catch up at the pub to what it is today with 300 plus gay men attending,” says MAN-TAG coordinator Steven Moran enthusiastically.
“The idea of MAN-TAG was started by Garry Morrison in 2011 who was – and still is – passionate about building our GLBTI community and create inclusive spaces where men can connect.
“The aim of MANTAG is creating different friendly pub spaces around Adelaide for gay/bi men to meet and socialise. It's a simple concept but one that gets guys together in a relaxed atmosphere. Gay men are a diverse bunch and having a different venue each month offers opportunities to try new places and show Adelaide that gay men exist beyond one or two venues or when Mardi Gras is on TV!”
At the moment, organising the events is a one-man show with Moran organising the events each month, maintaining the social media presence and managing the email database.
“I'm looking at reinvigorating a group of guys that are keen to assist,” Moran admits. “MANTAG is 100 per cent volunteer operated; we make no money from it and it's all done in free time, so anyone keen to help is more than welcome in whatever way they can: jump on the Facebook page, send me a message and we’ll see what we can do!”
Venues suggestions for MAN-TAG often come by word of mouth, although increasingly venues are beginning to approach Moran to hold the event because they’ve heard of the great crowd. Still, Moran personally vets every venue, meeting with the managers and so forth, to make sure they are gay-friendly.
“To date I have had very minimal issues with venues. If I think there is even a doubt that they will not be accepting or have issues with us arriving en masse then I won't hold the event at the venue.
“I have zero tolerance for venues having issues with gay men. It's 2014 and if they cannot handle us in their pubs then we have plenty of other places that are more than happy to have us fill their pub. Their loss in the end, as the MAN-TAG crowd is one of the friendliest in Adelaide and knows how to have a good time!”
Moran has ideas about expanding into other events in addition to the monthly get-togethers. “Dinner events for the foodies out there, film nights, winery tours, coastal events,” he muses. “But at its core our monthly pub meets will happen no matter what! No way would we stop our regular catch ups!
“Like many cities and gay scenes around the world, the advent of social media and mobile apps have meant it's now easier to meet other gay men than it ever was. That being said, I believe it's crucial that we connect beyond the scrolling of screens and news feeds and meet in person without the need to know height, weight and what position you are in bed in the first 30 seconds!” Moran says.
“Physical spaces where we can meet without fear of judgement and just be able to be who we are in our fabulousness, is now more possible with increased mainstream acceptance of being gay. However, we have a way to go in Adelaide at times, so if MAN-TAG can run events that are what the gay male community wants, and has a secondary effect of making the GLBTI presence more visible in our city, then I'm all for that!”
Moran enjoys receiving feedback on the regular events and welcomes it wholeheartedly.
“I want to hear from people what they like, don't like or would like to do,” he says. “I'm dictated by what the gay community wants and if I can help make it happen I will do my absolute best.
“I am extremely passionate, vocal and supportive of the GLBTI community in Adelaide and want to see it connect in ways that it wants to connect and that are meaningful. I'm regularly told by people in Adelaide that we don't have a gay male community here any more and I couldn't disagree more. With so many gay men attending the MAN-TAG events there is a gay male community, however it's about creating diverse spaces we can all attend and be who we are in our many forms.
“Communities are made up of individuals connecting with a common voice and we need to ensure we keep our voice heard, look after each other and, hell, we need to have fun at the end of the day!”
[Top Image]:Steve Moran. Photo: Mike Rigby of MJR Photographic Art