FOR people living in the central west who identify with the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, intersex and questioning (LBGTIQ) community, the Western Area Gay and Lesbian Socials and Support group (WAGALS) is there to lend a hand.
WAGALS will be holding its May monthly meeting at the Beekeepers Inn, halfway between Orange and Bathurst on the Mitchell Highway from 1pm on Saturday, and everyone is encouraged to join them.
The group alternates its meetings between Bathurst and Orange each month, and group mentor Mark Bayliss said it was a small but accepting gathering.
“We’re here to provide support for people who are gay or lesbian, especially those who have just come out,” Mr Bayliss said.
“We meet in private residences or public places, depending on what people want to do.”
The casual meetings are a chance for people to make new friends with like-minded people, and are a chance to talk about experiences and share information.
Mr Bayliss said the group also has links with other support groups like Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), which Mr Bayliss said helped out with support and information when a young person first comes out to family members as gay, or finds it hard to do so.
“When I came out, I didn’t know anyone else who was gay, and I thought that I’d never fit in,” he said.
“It’s about getting the message out to young people that they’re not alone.”
For more information on WAGALS or its events, call Mark Bayliss at the Orange Sexual Health Centre on 6392 8600, or visit www.facebook.com/wagals.meetngreet