All anybody really wants to feel, especially in these scary times of disconnection and fear, is to feel accepted and that they belong to something – a family, a community, their people. Acceptance for who they are and who they were born to be. Unfortunately, unless we look like or fit into the narrow definition of what is deemed as ‘normal’, whatever the hell that is, it can be hard to find that connection and acceptance in this complicated and difficult society that we live in, especially if you’re trans, gender diverse or non-binary.
Alphabet Soup is a community group in Melbourne offering that connection and they’ve been welcoming people who identify as LGBTQI and especially those who aren’t sure who they are or where they fit in yet, for years now. Over these years the group has facilitated social gatherings for gender diverse folks in locations in and around the Melbourne area with events previously taking place in Westgarth, Ringwood, Stawell and Horsham.
The current iteration of the group had been operating from under the Sycamore Tree Cafe since 2019 and while the venue wasn’t available to them during the lockdowns in Melbourne last year, they didn’t let that stop them from meeting. With a smooth pivot to Alphabet Soup Heidelberg Goes Zoom – an online version of their event, which impressively, continued on throughout the horror of 2020 and into 2021.
With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us in Australia and as we ease into our new COVID normal lives, Alphabet Soup Heidelberg made a triumphant return to in-person events at the Sycamore Tree cafe on January 9 – about 10 months since their last in person event. It was a chance for the cafe to be taken over by the team at Alphabet Soup, a long awaited moment, with the cafe being “run by trans, gender diverse and non-binary volunteers for their community, LGBTIQA+ friends and allies” for a few hours with a range of soup, toasties and coffee on offer.
Connection for trans and gender diverse kids too!
The team at Alphabet Soup also run Kaleidoscope, a group for trans and gender diverse children that meets once a month with children from trans or gender diverse individuals also welcome. Kaleidoscope has been on hold during COVID but the organisers hope to have it up and running again from February this year.