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Are you new to Sydney and looking to find your community?

ACON has you covered with their ‘Top 5 tips for finding your community when you arrive in Sydney! – LGBTQ edition’.  This month, the International Student Health Hub is sharing a blog post written by our wonderful friends over at ACON.  

‘Sa wad dee kha,’ my name is Bright, and I work for ACON, which is a community health organisation that provides a range of free services to support gay, lesbian, bisexual+ and queer people (LGBTQ for short) who live in NSW (more on that here).  🙂

I remember migrating to Sydney from Thailand in 2022 where I had been working to support LGBTQ people in the Asia Pacific. When I arrived in Sydney, as a gay guy from Thailand, it was hard at first to make new friends who were also LGBTQ and to find my community. What really helped me was when I was introduced to some of the groups and activities, I’m sharing with you all here. I hope this will help you to find your community in Sydney, like it did for me. 🙂 

I’ve also included a bonus tip for you at the end, so make sure you read to the end. 😉

Tip number 1: Find FREE LGBTQ community events to attend.

Sydney has a flourishing LGBTQ community with community events running throughout the year.

So, you like to hike? Why not try the LGBT women’s hiking group the Blue Mountains Bush lemons. There is also the game nights and pub nights run by ACON’s SocialisAsians volunteers. Would you like to meet other LGBTQ people and talk about relationships, identity or other issues facing the LGBTQ community then why not attend one of ACON’s FREE Workshops & Forums.  

Not interested in these? – what about Sydney Gaymers?  This group runs a bunch of free LGBTQ gaming events throughout the year (think board games and music events) and are a great place to find your perfect gaming partner. To find out more, check out Sydney Gaymers. 

Also, you can’t go wrong with ACON’s SocialisAsians events! SocialisAsians is a group run by ACON volunteers and is for Asian, Gay, Bi+, Queer Men and their community allies. SocialisAsians holds volunteer-run events throughout the year and brings our communities together to meet each other, make new friends and of course have a good time! The group organise events every couple week such as boardgames, dance class, and pub nights to name a few. So, it’s a great place to start! 

Tip number 2: Connect with LGBTQ community support groups.  

 There are several community groups on Facebook and other platforms like discord that have been created to support LGBTQ community members who have recently migrated to Australia.  Tip number 2 to is to reach out and connect with community groups, as they are a great way to make new friends and to celebrate your culture and language.

A great place to find services tailored to LGBTQ multicultural communities is Rainbow Cultures | LGBTQIA+ multicultural directory.  

Some great LGBTQ community groups:

  • 澳紐彩盟 Antra – Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking LGBTQIA+ people. Antara run free events throughout the year!
  •  Sydney Queer Muslims – provides a safe place for LGBT people of Muslim background to socialise and express their spiritual beliefs and offers spiritual and emotional education about gender, sexuality and religion.
  • Trikone Australia – Trikone Australia is a non-profit, volunteer-led social-support organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people of South Asian descent living in Australia.   
  • ACON’s Asian gay, bi+ and queer men’s project –  is focused on supporting gay, bisexual+, queer men from Asian backgrounds to look after their health and wellbeing. We design, organise and deliver a range of programs, workshops, forum, events and develop resources with the latest sexual health information.
  • Sydney Arco Iris Latin American & Hispanic community (SAILAHC) is a social & support network for Latin American and Hispanic LGBTIQ Community members and their family & friends in Sydney NSW. 

Tip number 3: Sexual Health Clinics are amazing and loved in the community! (and FREE!) 

We can’t wait for you to get out there and build your friendship circle. Who knows, you might meet people that you feel REALLY connected with. Before you spend the night with someone, you’re going to need to get a sexual health check. Thankfully, this is FREE, EASY, FRIENDLY and CONFIDENTIAL!!!  

It’s recommended that if you have had sex or are having sex, that you get a sexual health test every 6 – 12 months. If you’re a guy who has sex with other guys, it’s recommended to get tested 4 times a year. Free interpretation is available if you’re not confident speaking English. So, to find out where your nearest clinic is or to make a booking, contact the Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624 or visit their website at  

If you’re a gay, bi+ or queer guy living in Sydney or Newtown, then check out ACON’s testing service called a[TEST] – this service is run by Peers (other gay, bi+ and queer guys).  

Tip number 4: Find yourself a LGBTQ Housemate.

When you arrive in Sydney, looking for a place to live can be challenging.  Rent is expensive, it can be hard to find a place and for many international students, living alone is not an option (the rent is so high). Which is why, it’s so important to know where to find other cool LGBTQ people who you can live with. We got you covered.

  • Option 1: check out amazing community Facebook groups such as Queer Housing Sydney.  This is the most popular group in LGBTQ hosing group for LGBTQ community. You can post briefly about yourself and show your expectations to the group such as a location or price.  
  • Option 2: Gay Share the application that you can apply and find perfect matches housemate and have a chat to do house hunting. 
  • Option 3: Flatmates is a great share accommodation website as a community. The member got treat all members equally especially regardless of gender identity.  

 The city of Sydney created a very helpful resource to help international students to find an accommodation in Sydney. Check it out here, Student Living: Find the Perfect Student Accommodation in Sydney & NSW 

Tip number 5: Explore Sydney’s food culture!

It may not be as good as your mum’s cooking ???? but Sydney’s food culture is no joke.  After moving from Thailand, the first thing I missed from my home was the food! Without any Thai friends in Australia, finding food that lived up to my expectations was a nightmare. Thankfully, Sydney is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in Australia and boasts an excellent food culture.  

One of my favourite haunts was ‘Spice Alley’ which is right near Central Station. The Alley features Vietnamese, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian cuisine and is very affordable!  For Thai food specifically, I would recommend heading to ‘Thai Town’ – which is also a very short walk from central station! Haymarket is a location where you can find authentic Chinese cuisine and other Asian delights. If you’re looking for ingredients to cook food from your home country, Haymarket is the best place to go! – also, the dumpling restaurants in Haymarket are both affordable and delicious. For those who don’t mind a little travel (30 mins) Harris Park affectionally known to locals as ‘Little India’ is the best place to find Indian cuisine.  

I hope these tips will act as a little guide as you find your new Sydney family. Whether you plan to build a new life in Sydney or just want to stay and experience this beautiful city for a while, I hope you have fun and make the most of it. 

Sydney is a culturally vibrant, fun and beautiful place, such that you’ll have no trouble meeting people from different backgrounds and making lifelong connections. Sydney has one of the best healthcare systems support and many free services international students as well, so don’t be afraid to get out there and explore what services are available.  

Wishing you all the success you would like,