You've Got A Friend In Me

By Rich
How Global Gay Village gives you permission to connect

We’ve all been there. At some point, we’ve all had the thought it would be great to meet some new people, maybe even other LGBT+ people, but the big question is how. When we think about going to new types of events it can conjure up visions of not knowing anyone and being kind of awkward like going back to our first day of school. But here’s the reality - when you put yourself out there, fantastic things can happen and here at Global Gay Village we’re determined to make sure they do. From our online platform to our local events, we’ve got a secret weapon up our sleeve that is intended to make meeting new people easier and more fun for you. We’ve even built it into our core principles and we call it “permission to connect.” We’ve found it’s like the secret sauce that gets people chatting and group energy moving.

When I was a young gayling all of 21 years old, I started one of my favourite jobs of all time. I got hired to work at the local chamber of commerce selling memberships to businesses and not-for-profits. Now this may not sound like the sexiest job in the world but I loved it and looking back I can see why. It was all about people. From morning until night, I would be surrounded by hundreds of people and the next connection was never more than a handshake away.

We held hundreds of events every year but there was something special about those events I’ve never seen replicated in quite the same way. The organisation had a standing policy that if you came to one of their events, you were agreeing to being open to connecting with new people. In other words, they gave explicit permission to network and connect at every event they held. This may not seem like a big deal but as I saw over the next 3.5 years while working there, it really was a game changer for a huge number of people.

Going to events you’ve never been to before can be intimidating. People tend to think there’s a bit of stranger danger and if they strike up conversation that the person may not want to talk to them and there is that initial fear of possible rejection. The organisation I worked for had figured this out which is why they gave everyone permission to walk up to a stranger and say hello for the first time. As it turns out, most people love connecting but it can be easy to feel nervous to walk up to someone you don’t know and strike up conversation. However, once the stage is set by the host that connecting is exactly what you’re there for…Bingo!...instant relief that meeting new people doesn’t have to be as tough as it seems and can actually be a lot of fun.

Based on my experience with that organisation, we’ve made having explicit permission to connect online and at Global Gay Village events one of our founding principles. At Global Gay Village, we’re all about building a fun and meaningful community for LGBT+ members to participate in. That’s why we want everyone to feel comfortable connecting with one another. We know a community is only as strong as the connections between its members and removing any nerves around that first contact can be key. This is why we also encourage everyone to be gracious and friendly if someone reaches out to you online or introduces themselves at an event. That permission to connect works at its best when everyone is on the same page.

In addition to our online platform, Global Gay Village will be hosting events throughout the year starting in Melbourne in 2021. If you’re up for joining us at any of these events, feel free to connect with people online ahead of time to see who is coming and say hello. At the events themselves, we're creating a friendly and welcoming environment where you can come on your own or bring a few of your friends along with you. We want you to feel comfortable meeting new people and don’t be surprised if some new people chat with you.

Community is at the heart of Global Gay Village and the magic that feeds a thriving community is a strong sense of belonging. While people often talk about the gay community as though it is a singular entity and like everyone is connected to each other, we have found it can actually be easy for many LGBT+ people to feel a bit disconnected from other members of the same community and lack that sense of belonging we all want. And even if people already have a strong sense of community around them, we often hear it can be tough to meet new people.

So, if you’re looking for a new online place to connect with other LGBT+ people or if you want to come to some events, Global Gay Village is the place for you. I would love to see you at the next event, say hello and get to know you. Here at Global Gay Village, our permission to connect principle is like getting everyone to sing off the same song sheet from that old Carole King classic, “You’ve got a friend in me.”