Meet Kal from Better Connected – Mingle!

About Mingle LGBTQ+

Guideposts – Better Connected – Mingle Group is a dedicated social and support group for adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism who identify with the LGBTQ+ community anywhere in the UK!

We get together online on the third Wednesday of each month in an inclusive online group to socialise, learn more about LGBTQ+ identities and just have fun together! We will also be arranging Face-to-Face meetups going into Summer and attending Pride events. 

Mingle was created in 2007 with Mates n Dates (A social group for Adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism). Mingle was formed so individuals could meet in a safe place and be part of a group that identifies with gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans gender, also known as LGBT. Later on the Q was added to represent other people on the gender and sexuality spectrum, such as people who identify as queer or non-binary. 

Since 2007 we have met once a month, in person before the Covid pandemic and now online monthly. In our online sessions we talk about what it means to be LGBTQ+ and to celebrate our identities. We have attended several Pride events and will attend more in June – Pride month is being celebrated across the UK. 

The group is friendly, inclusive and open to all those who are exploring their identity. All are welcome to join.

What does each letter in LGBTQ+ stand for? 

L stands for Lesbian: A lesbian is a female or female aligned person who is attracted to the same gender (gender means male or female). 

G stands for Gay: Gay is usually a term which refers to males or male aligned individuals who are attracted to the same gender or gender aligned individuals. Sometimes lesbians, bisexuals and pansexuals will refer to themselves as gay when speaking about their attraction to the same gender. 

B stands for Bisexual: Bisexual individuals have an attraction to both genders, male and female. Bisexual individuals have historically been grouped with gay individuals and so being ‘Bi’ as an identity is important to those who identify themselves in this way. 

T stands for Transgender: Transgender is a term for individuals who identify with a gender that’s different to the one they were born with.  

Q stands for Queer or Questioning: Queer may refer to individuals’ specific identity but may also be used as a broad term for anyone who is non-cis gender or heterosexual. This term is also used as a slur. 

Questioning refers to individuals who may be unsure of their sexual orientation and are exploring their identity. 

+ (Plus) stands for: all the identities and sexual orientations that are not covered in the initials mentioned above.  

Meet Kal!

Hi there, My name is Kal!  If you want to talk about me, can you please refer to me as they or he 🙂 

So, where do you live Kal? I live near the sea, in Bournemouth. I live with my partner and our two cats Reg and Milkshake (picture below)! 

What do you do for fun in Bournemouth? I like going for walks and out for coffee with my friends. We like to find little independent coffee shops. At home I like making things, cooking and watching or reading Sci-fi and fantasy stories. At the moment I’m knitting my friend a chicken, that looks like a pet. I’m looking forward to the next Sci-fi television season of ‘Umbrella Academy’ as well. 

What do you do with Guideposts Better Connected? I host the Mingle LGBTQ+ Group with Jo and Meg, who have been leading and part of Mingle for some time now. 

What do you do for fun in Bournemouth? I like going for walks and out for coffee with my friends. We like to find little independent coffee shops. At home I like making things, cooking and watching or reading Sci-fi and fantasy stories. At the moment I’m knitting my friend a chicken, that looks like a pet. 

How did you get involved in Mingle? I discovered that there were no groups for Autistic or Learning Disabled individuals who are in the LGBTQ+ community in my area. I found Mingle online and got involved because anyone in England can join! 

What do you like about Mingle? I like meeting new people and chatting to them and having fun. It’s really important for LGBTQ + individuals to meet others who are similar in their community. Life can be very lonely if you don’t know anyone like yourself. I like learning about different LGBTQ+ issues and sharing them with the group. 

It was great to meet you and we welcome you to join us online to meet in person! 

This article was first published in the Guideposts Better Connected monthly magazine.  To find out more or to subscribe, go to www.guideposts.org.uk/better-connected

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