© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Covid's rainbow connection

Carmina Blewett
rainbow v2.connection
With the nation in lockdown, Qtopia are finding the rainbow connection via online alternatives  Nicolás Maggi

Canterbury's social support network for the LGBTQA+ community is finding ways around continual connection and supporting wellbeing throughout national lockdown measures.

Qtopia, a non-profit organisation in Christchurch which promotes rainbow inclusion, says lockdown measures are coming as a challenge, but it is taking the hurdle as an opportunity for strengthened connection. 

Executive Director, Alice Andersen, believes it is important for the community to keep active and spread the word of their services.

"We're always thinking about ways we can better connect to youth, rainbow young people, or the rainbow community who don't know Qtopia exists - that the support is available to them - so it's really important to us that we're connecting with as many folks as possible who are also helping us to share the message." 

Twice-weekly "cuppa tea and a yarn" sessions with professional aunties are some of the social initiatives the group is offering, as well as weekly movie nights and daily wellbeing content on social media channels.

Communication among the 500-strong members is something Andersen hopes to keep alive especially during the lockdown period with "a lot of young people in environments that don't affirm them."  

Carmina Blewett


"What we have done is really try to think about all of the ways we can make sure we're ensuring like a community connection - all the ways we can still be there for the community that we're here to serve... We’ve had over 200 people engage in these services since the beginning of the rāhui," Andersen says.   

Andersen hopes to see kindness and hope shared online, and says we're all doing our part towards a safer Aotearoa.

"Hang in there, babies! We're doing so good... I think we can be really proud of the efforts we're making right now." 

Qtopia's content and services can be reached via Instagram and Facebook @qtopianz.