Qtopia is a social support service for LGBTQIA+ youth, their whānau and their communities in Ōtautahi, Christchurch and the wider Waitaha Canterbury area. Alice Andersen, from Qtopia, believes that there are simple steps that can be taken to make Christchurch a safer and more supportive place for everyone. At Qtopia, they strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. To do this, Alice Andersen suggests that there are several key steps that can be taken to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected in their community. The first step is to be an ally.
Being an ally means being open to learning about different identities and experiences, being willing to listen without judgement, and speaking up when you see or hear something that is not inclusive or respectful. It also means being aware of your own biases and privileges, and using them to create positive change. The second step is to be aware of the language you use. Using language that is respectful of different identities is important in creating an inclusive space. This includes avoiding terms such as “gay” or “lesbian” as insults, as well as using gender-neutral language when referring to people. The third step is to be aware of the services available in the community for LGBTQIA+ people.
Qtopia provides a range of services including counselling, peer support groups, workshops, and social events. There are also other organisations in Christchurch that provide support such as Rainbow Youth, InsideOUT, and OutLine NZ. Finally, it is important to remember that everyone has the right to feel safe and respected in their community. By being an ally, using respectful language, and being aware of the services available in the community, we can all work together to create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ people in Christchurch.