Chatting with Kaya, founder of queer group ‘Alphabet Soup’

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Kaya Clark began studying the Level 5 Diploma in Business at the beginning of 2024. Before they had even started their first class, they had formed the beginnings of ‘Alphabet Soup’, a new queer group based at Whitireia and WelTec’s Petone campus. We spoke to Kaya about how the group was formed, what they get up totheir study and goals.  

How did Alphabet Soup start?  

During the welcoming ceremony! I spotted a few people who I thought could be queer and we quickly became friends. Running into a whole bunch of queer people so quickly I just thought to myself, “we could do something with this”, so I booked a regular time in a meeting room, and it’s evolved from there.  

What does the group get up too? 

Alphabet Soup is student-led group that provides a safe, comfortable environment for queer people. We play board games, watch movies, share snacks, and discuss queer issues and what’s happening in our lives. Everyone tends to be very open; we talk about everything from what we’ve been up to that morning to who we’re dating. There’s no pressure for anyone to share, but I find people naturally tend to open up! It’s also a great place to connect with new people across different programmes. 

Growing up in Wellington, I’m familiar with a lot of the queer spaces and services in the region, as well as which businesses are queer and trans friendly, so I’m able to share some advice when people are looking for it!  

Is there anything you do to create such an open environment? 

I think I set the tone by being quite an open person! I share what’s going on in my life, and people who feel comfortable just naturally follow.  

How do you keep in touch with each other? 

We have a discord channel where we chat and share updates. We’re currently working on some posters that you’ll hopefully soon see around campus!  

A lot of us are big fans of D&D, so we’ve started hanging out in the evenings to do that too. I’ve created really nice friendships through the group, and it’s awesome that it’s happened so fast.  

How are you finding studying business? 

It’s really good! Naturally I’m a lot better at the social and presentation work than the accounting and numbers stuff, but they’re helpful skills and I’m glad to learn them.  

I’ve just finished up my last assignment for the term, which was focused on multicultural business practices. You learn how to connect with different types of people, which I have a lot of experience with.  

Why did you decide to study?  

I’ve always wanted to open my own queer/nerd bar, and so to do that, you generally need some qualifications! Both my dad and my granddad wanted to open a bar but never had the chance, so I’ve decided I’ll do it! There’s a gap in the market for queer bars in Wellington, so I think it’s a great opportunity to get one started. 

Do you do any work outside of study? 

I run “Wise and Wild Entertainment”, a D&D group for kids! It gives parents a break, and the kids gain math skills, delve into their creative side, and learn how to collaborate.  

A lot of the kids who come along are queer, and I’m more than happy to create a queer friendly space for them. Creating safe spaces is really becoming a theme in my life! 

Do you have any future plans for Alphabet Soup? 

Right now, I’m happy just having a space for us to hang out! In the future, it would be nice to set up some projects, but ultimately, I want to make sure it’s a fun and social environment and that people who are looking for a space like this know we exist. 

What would you say to someone interested in joining the group? 

We welcome anyone who’s keen to join, so if you think Alphabet Soup sounds like the space for you, come along! We have students join us from all programmestrades, veterinary nursing, hairdressing, hospitality, there’s a huge spread! It’s really nice to meet people outside of my programme, and I’ve made some amazing friends through it.  

Find out more about Alphabet Soup

If you’re interested in heading along to one of Alphabet Soup’s fortnightly meetings, you can get in touch through their discord channel.

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