What is Wingmen?
A Wingman is more than just a pal to help pick you up. You’re there for each other in the good times, and the not-so-good ones. You’ve shared loves and losses, and stumbled home together as the sun’s coming up. He trusts you. He listens to you (well, most of the time anyway). And right now, he really needs a mate by his side.
Wingmen has been developed for gay men, by gay men. This might seem like a simple concept, but it’s important for us to recognise the diversity of people this information is intended for.
Put simply, ‘gay men’ identify as male and are attracted to other males. We recognise that the men who use this toolkit may also identify with a number of alternative identities, and that these can evolve and change over time. Men might identify as queer, or trans or as having a trans history. Men also may have intersex characteristics to their body.
Gay men have told us that they feel most comfortable turning to other gay men for advice and support when they need it – guys they trust and who understand where they’re coming from. But they’ve also told us they can feel unsure about how to support their friends, or worry they could say or do the wrong thing if they try to help.
Gay guys told us that what they needed to better support their friends with anxiety and depression was advice on how to have a conversation about mental health, knowing what to look for – including signs and symptoms – and ways their friends and partners can get support.
This information is designed to help you support your friends, both now and in the future. You might be looking for ways to support a particular mate, or to build your general confidence and understanding around mental health. Whatever your situation, Wingmen is here to help you start the conversation and steer your friends in the right direction.
Is your friend or bala (brother) an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay man?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who also identify as gay, or who have sex with other men, face multiple layers of discrimination. Your friend or bala is part of a minority within a disadvantaged minority, and may come up against racism, homophobia, stigma, and a lack of support and opportunities based on his cultural and sexuality identities.
He might end up feeling like he doesn’t fit in anywhere. Within his community or mob, he could face discrimination, isolation, homophobia or violence because of his sexual identity. Within the gay community, he might experience racism or a lack of cultural understanding. He might not be out to his mob, and could end up hiding part of who he is as a result.
Wingmen has been developed with the assistance of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Promotion worker and can help you support your friend or bala. As you read the information on this site, think about his experiences based on his cultural and sexual identities. If you need more information or support, you can also check out our list of helpful contacts and websites on this page – including the QLife Community Resource Directory which includes culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.