A sense of community is vitally important, especially for marginalised groups. For queer people, safe spaces – whether online or in person – are crucial for bringing the community together to combat the isolation of a post-lockdown world.
Familiar with these feelings of seclusion, Eilidh, a founder of the Stirling Queer Book Club, is on a mission to connect queer people across Stirling and Scotland over a shared love of books.
During lockdown, Eilidh, a filmmaker from the north-east of Scotland, was living rurally in an area without other queer people. A large part of her socialisation was conducted online, as she began an online book club catered to the LGBTQ+ community for both herself and other isolated queer people.
Upon moving to Stirling in 2022, Eilidh was keen to bring her online success into the physical world, eager to spend time with like-minded people in the flesh.
Speaking to Brig, she detailed how the Stirling Queer Book Club was born: “When I moved to Stirling last year, I decided I wanted to do something in person to take advantage of actually living near other queer people.
“I started going to the Book Nook regularly, as it felt like the most queer space Stirling had, and it turned out one of the baristas there, Eli was also thinking of starting a queer book club. So, we teamed up, and here we are.”
Meeting Eli meant simultaneously finding a meeting spot, as the meets are held in their workplace, the Book Nook.
Both being part of the LGBTQ+ community, the decision was made to have a focus on queer stories to cater to queer people.
Upon successfully creating this safe space, Brig asked Eilidh what it means to be part of this community that she helped create: “I love meeting new queer people as it can often feel like we already have a lot in common.
“In terms of media, we’ve all consumed a lot of the same stuff, as historically there hasn’t been a lot of queer media going around, so we’ve got lots to talk about. And now that queer media is getting more frequent and varied it’s really nice to enjoy that and discuss it with other people.
“For me, it’s also been a great way to meet new people as someone relatively new to the area, so I hope it can do that for other people too.”
The Stirling Queer Book Club is open to anyone over 18. So, whether you’re a Freshers student, entering your master’s, or anywhere in between or beyond, the Stirling Queer Book Club is looking for members and friendship.
Communities are havens, and this haven comes with coffee and books – what more can be asked for?
You can join the book club by following by reaching out to their official Instagram @StirlingQueerBookClub, or by getting a free ticket on Eventbrite. They also have a Discord for general text discussions, and for those who are unable to attend meetings.
Photo: Instagram @stirlingqueerbookclub