12713_10152009791288440_438142224_n-001A month ago, I wrote an article   about special interest groups and how they serve an important role in community building for gay and bisexual men.  (https://octobermansg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/many-single-men-and-the-need-for-special-interest-groups/)  There was some interest in how to get in touch with these groups and perhaps join them.

The good news is that there are lots of these out there.

The not so good news, well…not really bad news is that most of them are also friendship groups meaning invitation to join is based on friendship although friends of friends are also welcome.  I think you get the idea.  Though they are not closed groups, there are not really public groups.

Let me just share my experiences and how I finally got invited.  It didn’t happen overnight.  It took me around 6 or 7 years after I became actively participating in the community through volunteer work.  My involvement in the LGBTQ community opened me up to the community.  I remember when I first began to be involved, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of LGBTQ individuals around.  Before that I used to think that I was one of the very few but how wrong I was.  It was most wonderful because I no longer felt lonely.

The volunteer work helped me make a lot of friends: they included fellow volunteers and co-workers as well as those who used our services.  It was never my intention to meet people when I decided to volunteer; it was just a desire to contribute in whatever small capacity I could but as I’ve always said publicly, it gave me more in return than I’d given.  Of course, one of the things it did for me was to widen my circle of friends, many of whom have become very good friends through the years.  Yes, it was years but then who’s counting?

Am I suggesting that everyone who wants to open up their circle of friends should volunteer?  Not really.  It is only one of the ways; it’s just the way I took.

There are other avenues.  What about taking the initiative and joining groups whose entrance to membership is not so much based on friendship?  Here is a list extracted and adapted from What’s Out Here (2014 edition) http://issuu.com/oogachaga/docs/whatouthere2011/1?e=2824187/3111634, a publication by the LGBTQ affirmative professional counselling and personal development organization, Oogachaga.

(IND)EPENDENT – INDIAN MEN’S SOCIAL GROUP – For Indian men www.thepurplealliance.com

SINGAPORE MEN’S CHORUS – For those interested in male choral www.signmc.org.fb.com/singaporemenchorus

THE BEAR PROJECT – For bears, cubs, Gmen, stocky, big-sized guys and guys-who-love-them <fb.com/thebearprojectpage>

MOVE COMMUNITY – Activity hub based in Singapore founded in 2013. Its vision is to be an inclusive and sustainable community hub that nurtures life-long relationships, creating life-enriching activities and environment where people are free to express themselves, connect and care for one another <fb.com/movecommunity.org>

SINGAPORE LGBTQ ALLIANCE – Singapore based social group for Chinese speaking LGBTQ <fb.com/sglgbtq.www.weibo.com/sglgbt>

AS-SALAM – For LGBTQ Muslims living in Singapore who wish to reconcile their sexuality with their faith through a safe and peaceful platform https://groups.yahoo.com/groups/as-salam

FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH – An inclusive church where LGBTQ persons and relationships are affirmed and celebrated through their Sunday services, small groups, counselling support and other programs

Address:  1 Commonwealth Lane #02-02 Singapore 149544 www.freecomchurch.org.fb.com/groups/6523770822

HEARTLAND – A Buddhist fellowship for people who are gay and Buddhist <heartlandsg.org>

All the organizations above are based in Singapore.

Want to take the first step?  The first is often the most difficult.  Join one of the above organizations and who knows – you may like them.  And who knows – the special interest friendship groups that I was writing about may be somewhere down the road for you, the outcome of your taking this first step.

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