During the day, Olivia Coupe (she/her/they/them) has a full-on career in the film industry…and in her spare time, runs QUEER AF, which hosts inclusive social events for LGBTQI+ people and Queers and Wares markets showcasing talented queer creatives and makers.   

What sparked QUEER AF?

I started with QUEER AF club nights to create the kind of night event that I wanted to go to…and now the QUEER AF events and the Queers and Wares markets have grown into platforms for super talented people in our community to showcase their work.


How do these platforms help LGBTQI+ people?

The most exciting part is seeing the talent and potential in LGBTQI+ people and allowing them to show off their talent. One of my goals is to show that queer people with great ideas can achieve amazing things. Even by running my own events, I want others to feel empowered and inspired to run their own events and create their own thing to bring people together.

Something else that drives me is wanting to help young queer people find financial independence. I want to help achieve this as much as I can, whether it’s providing a space for them to sell their creative work or recommending them for other paid gigs.

What drives you to help young queer people find financial independence?

It is a hard time to be young right now. The economy sucks. The world is so different for young people today than it was before. Most of us are not taught how to budget, how the economy works or how to invest. I would strongly urge all young people to learn this – you can find lots of resources online or at the library.

Nowadays, simply working hard and buying a house is not enough. Young people now can’t even get into the housing market – so the young folk are suffering even more from that lack of education around how to become financially independent. Women and gender minorities, in particular, are statistically less likely to invest their money, which compounds the wealth gap for them on top of the gender pay gap.

I want to see more queer people have opportunities to become financially independent and learn how to make money work better for them.

Do you have advice for young queer people with great ideas?

The lesson I learnt from running events is that you can’t go in purely with a view on how to monetise it. It works best when you start with an idea that you love, around something you’re passionate about. The other tip I would share is that if you have an idea, just do it and do it well. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and network with other people. Also remember to pay it forward – look out for each other, and support each other’s work.

Where is your favourite place to hang out?

For me, K-road encompasses everything that is cool about the queer community in Auckland. It feels like home. It is changing a lot, but at its heart, I still feel like it’s a queer space.

Who are your queer role models?

Kids who come out at school. We’ve made some big strides as a society and I’m super excited to see what will happen in another 10 years.

Make sure you don’t miss out on future QUEER AF events by following the IG @queer_af_NZ and on @queerafn on Facebook.