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SoBar – Not So Straight Up aims to reduce alcohol-related harm within the LGBTIQ+ communities in the ACT through increased awareness of the health and wellbeing impacts of alcohol and to challenge the social norms around drinking behaviour and alcohol culture.

ACT Health has funded this two-year project as part of the Healthy Canberra Grants Program. The project will help sexually and gender diverse people and people with HIV reduce the harms associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs by providing a range of relevant support services.

We work with our communities in a supportive and non-judgmental way, whether their interest is to be more informed about alcohol use, be able to use more safely or to get support to reduce or stop use.

Health promotion and communications

SoBar is online with both an Instagram profile and Facebook page where we share all our tips and tricks for navigating the world sober or considering it, keeping your cool if cravings hit and finding like-minded humans to mingle with, either online or in physical proximity appropriate circumstances.

SMART Recovery

Focusing on harm minimisation and reduction rather than suggesting you need to give alcohol away entirely; we’re now delivering Self Management And Recovery Training (SMART) meeting groups for LGBTIQ+ Canberrans to address any risky drinking behaviour they may be indulging in. The SMART Recovery model is utilised to address why and how to foster a healthy relationship with alcohol that suits your own life goals and sense of wellbeing.

Meetings are held face to face in the Pride Hub, located at Havelock House, 85 Northbourne Avenue, Turner on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm and to register please click here.

Because we love a community success story, there is also an opportunity for program participants to join our peer navigators, and they will have the opportunity to self-nominate for development opportunities including becoming SMART Recovery Facilitators themselves.


We’re conducting in-depth research into why we drink like we do, both as a nation and as our unique cohort of communities. This research will assist us in aiding in policy development for LGBTIQ+ health needs, resource development for support services and messaging around alcohol and how to harness its positive benefits while avoiding its pitfalls.

We would love for you to share your experience with one of the below surveys, we have one for those of you that no longer drink also as your insights are equally valuable! If you would like to add your voice to ours, please follow the below links.

SoBar – a pop-up bar

We have a pop-up bar that serves boutique non-alcoholic drinks, and this is available at all our community events. We created SoBar (showcased at CBR Fair Day 2019) as a vehicle to challenge traditional bar culture and to open the conversation on how great it can be to be offered a different option to the usual alcoholic suspects and remind us that we actually get a buzz from the company we surround ourselves with rather than just what’s in our glass.

LGBTIQ+ AOD Awareness Training

Meridian is delivering LGBTIQ+ AOD awareness training to the ATOD sector to ensure that services understand the needs of our diverse communities and can provide treatment and support safely and inclusively. The training module has been contextualised to include the research findings from program activities.

To register your interest in attending open sessions of the training or to organise a closed session for your organisation please contact us by email to or

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