What we're about

This is a book club that focuses on queer literature, from the trashy to the highbrow. We read long tomes, graphic novels, short stories and even non-fiction, whatever takes our fancy. The aim of the group is to celebrate non-normative gender and sexuality, bring queer culture to life, learn about queer history and make new friends. You don’t have to identify as anything to join this group.

Format of the group

We usually meet on the first Wednesday of every month. Each meetup we discuss the chosen book, have a free-for-all natter and hold a vote to decide the book for the next-but-one meeting. This gives everyone 2 months to obtain and read each book. We have a booklist that has been compiled by members over the years, but any book can be put forward for the vote. Book suggestions are always welcome. :)

For each meetup there is an optional contribution of £1 per person to the cover the meetup.com (https://www.meetup.com/) subs.

We request that everyone attending buys something in the venue, whether food, non-alcoholic drink, or alcoholic drink. Unfortunately, the private quiet spaces we need for book club do not come for free. The logistics of a hire fee or minimum spend would be prohibitive, so instead we rely on the good will of the pubs, which in turn relies on members spending (a little) money. Please also avoid bringing your own food and drink (except water/medical necessities) as pubs generally frown on this. We think this is a reasonable requirement.

We try to ensure that the books chosen are available for a reasonable price (and to achieve this we may sometimes have to change the book chosen by the group if it proves to be expensive or unavailable). You may also be able to use your local library to borrow a hard copy or eBook for free. (This has the added benefit of being better for the environment and helping local services to justify their continued existence.)

So that we can set up the room correctly, please change your RSVP in advance of the meeting as soon as possible if you are unable to come along. In the case of oversubscription for an event we may prioritise members without a history of no-shows.

Purpose of the group

We aim to create a safe, mixed gender space to discuss books having themes relevant to LGBTQIA+ people, and in general those with gender, sexual and relationship diversity.

We are a book group

The focus of our discussions is therefore on the book as a book – its tone of voice, how well it is structured, how accessible it is, how well it communicates its message, whether it is something we would recommend to others, how it fits in with LGBTQIA+ issues and other writings. Naturally we will also look at its content and the issues it raises. However we wish to do this while keeping reference to the book. We are not a debating group. Nor are we an activist group or a consciousness raising group. We recognise the importance of all of these different activities (and at times our discussion may touch on all of them) but we ask that members respect the purpose of the group and engage in discussion with that in mind.

Code of conduct

We have prepared the following code of conduct to help ensure that each discussion is interesting and enjoyable for everyone present. We hope that the points contained in it will seem like common sense. If you have any comments or suggestions on the code of conduct, please contact the organisers using the message function on meetup and they will take your points into consideration.

Everyone is deemed to have accepted the rules of this code of conduct when they join the group, post on webpages associated with the group and/or attend an event run by the group. If you do not accept this code of conduct you must leave the group.

We, the organisers of the group, may modify the terms of this code of conduct from time to time at our sole discretion, which we will do by updating this document and posting it on the group’s meetup page.

General behaviour

• We expect everyone who joins this group to accept and be comfortable with it being a book group (see above)

• You do not have to stay at a meetup event if you feel uncomfortable. You can leave at any time.

• You do not have to participate in the discussion. It is fine to just come and listen.

• Do not pressure anyone else to take part in an activity or to disclose information about themselves. Respect other people’s privacy and their boundaries.

• Do not monopolize the time of the meeting: allow others to contribute to the discussion by not interrupting, not having side conversations and not talking for an excessive amount of time.

• People will have different views and interpretations. Respect the individuality and views of others. Do not use the discussion as a vehicle to try to convince other people that they are wrong. State your view but then move on.

• Please remember that everyone is at a different stage of awareness about various issues. It is fine to point out if something is problematic, but do not assume someone is being malicious.

• If you are unsure of the pronoun someone uses we encourage you to ask them or avoid gendered language by using “they” instead of “he” or “she”. If you ask someone or are corrected about pronouns, please try to use them correctly. We expect everyone to accept a person’s self-identified gender.

• Do not shout, use offensive language, insult anyone or threaten anyone.

• Do not make negative comments or assumptions, or stereotype people on the basis of their ethnicity, class, accent, appearance, gender, disability, sexuality, religion/belief, age, lifestyle or any other factor. Bigoted behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated.

Dealing with issues

The organisers will try to deal fairly and respectfully with any issue brought to us. If you want support in challenging anyone’s behaviour or anything they’ve said, please come and talk to one of the organisers or email us via the meetup page.

Things we may do to deal with a problem:

• communicate to the people concerned that there is a problem and reiterate how we expect people in the group to behave

• ask for an apology

• delete a post

• ask the people concerned to leave you alone

• give the people concerned a warning

• exclude the people concerned from the group

These will be implemented at the discretion of the organisers. The organisers’ decision is final. We may also make reasonable requests that are not specifically included here.

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