Q is a new queer networking event in Johannesburg
A new queer networking initiative that aims to become a regular event on Joburg’s LGBTQIA+ calendar was recently launched in Sandton.
The first Q soiree was hosted at Truffles on the Park by diversity consulting agency Traction on 29 March. An intimate group of LGBTQIA+ people and allies gathered to meet, socialise and network while supporting Uthingo, an NPO serving the LGBTQIA+ community.
“The intention behind Q is to provide a regular queer networking opportunity for the community and its allies,” said Traction’s Kevin Featherstone. “We hope to encourage community-centric conversations around LGBTQIA+ issues, rights and equality. Although the format will vary from event to event, the plan is to host after work in-person gatherings where the community can connect and reconnect, share ideas, collaborate and be inspired.”
Guests were treated to a welcome drink and snacks and were urged to contribute R100 towards Uthingo, raising just over R5,000 by the end of the night.
“Our mission is to create enabling environments dedicated to meeting the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals and those questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity in South African townships and rural areas,” said Uthingo’s Eugene Moroke. “We carry out this work by building community hubs, changing hearts and minds through education and outreach programmes, and advancing social justice one community at a time.”
The first Q event was deliberately low-key as the organisers wanted to test the waters, especially with Covid-19 restrictions limiting the number of participants. “That said, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and by all accounts much-needed by the community,” said Featherstone.
Addressing the guests at the event, he spoke about the importance of LGBTQIA+ inclusive and welcoming workplaces. In addition to constitutional and human rights imperatives, “businesses are more successful and more competitive when everyone comes to work with equal respect, support, and opportunity for advancement, no matter whom they love or how they identify,” said Featherstone.
The Traction team intends to host the Q events quarterly with the next one coinciding with IDAHOBIT (the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia) on 17 May.
“We will run another three Q events this year and are also investigating offshoot events that focus on the arts, always with the intent to stimulate conversation and advocate LGBTQIA+ rights and equality,” added co-organiser Trevor Latimer.
For more information about the Q events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Q on Facebook and Instagram.