Q-MoB empowers queer men in the greater Berkshire region to create, find, & participate in activity/support groups, classes, & resources that foster community, wellness, & fun. We are a non-profit hub for diverse, intergenerational community organizing in the Greater Berkshires Region for rural queer/gay men of all ages, races, income levels, & backgrounds to discover & manifest their individual & collective potential.
SAFETY: To create community, we need to grant one another respect & compassion to the best of our ability, We understand sometimes our best intentions don't meet other's needs for respect, so we reflect on both our intentions and the effects our actions have. Since many of us have suffered many forms of homophobia & sexism and we continue to live in an often violently homophobic & sexist society, we deeply value creating safe spaces that are free of homophobia, sexism, racism, threats of violence or violence, bullying, or language designed to intimidate or belittle anyone. We seek to empower each person to communicate when they feel unsafe & to make as clear requests as possible of strategies that may make them feel safe. And we acknowledge it is everyone's responsibility to prevent & promptly address violence & bullying. We also ask people not to promote businesses or political/religious causes at Q-MoB activities. Respectful discussion of your political or religious views may be appropriate at Q-MoB events where such discussion has been invited, but proselytizing or shouting down others views are not considered safe at our events.
OUTDOOR EVENT SAFETY: If you are going to attend a Q-MoB outdoor event, we recommend you check the weather in the area of the event BEFORE you leave home and then pack appropriate gear to keep you comfortable, dry, and protected from rain, wind, sun & insects (including ticks & mosquitos). We also recommend you bring water, snacks, a first aid kit, and layers that will protect you from unexpected rain/precipitation &/or wind, heat, or cold. Because we are having an El Nino year this year in the Berkshires, which brings much more storm activity and much more chaotic weather, we strongly encourage everyone to familiarize yourself with the strategies for avoiding getting injured by lighting in a thunderstorm, which can arise unexpectedly this summer: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/lightning/outdoorrecreation.html
PRIVACY: Because some of our members are at risk of losing their jobs, family, or standing in their community should their membership in Q-MoB be disclosed, we will not share your name or contact information with any outside organization, without your express permission or a court order. If we co-sponsor an activity with another organization, we will share your information with that organization & the instructors/hosts directly involved.
LEAVE NO TRACE: At all our activities, we make our best effort to practice the principle of "Leave No Trace," which means we leave spaces at least as undisturbed as they were before we used them, and appropriately recycle or dispose of any items we use.
UNDERAGE GUESTS AT EVENTS WHERE ALCOHOL IS SERVED: Any guest 18-20 must identify themselves when they register at any event where alcohol is served and sign an agreement they will not drink alcohol or ask anyone to get them alcohol. It is a criminal act for an adult to give alcohol to someone under 21 or for someone under 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Men under 18 are not permitted at any Q-MoB event where alcohol is served. At any event where alcohol is served, the host or a Q-MoB volunteer or venue staff will ask for ID from anyone wishing to drink alcohol & assure that only those 21 & older are served. Q-MoB takes our duty to prevent underage drinking & drug use very seriously, and we have a zero-tolerance policy. Anyone violating this policy will be asked to leave and banned from all Q-MoB events where alcohol is served.
UNDERAGE YOUTH AT Q-MOB EVENTS: According to the Eventbrite Community Guidelines, anyone under age 18 must be registered for any Q-MoB event by their parent or guardian. This means underage youth must have parental consent to attend any Q-MoB event, unless it is a youth-only event that does not use Eventbrite as the registration tool. Anyone who lies about their age or fails to have their parent or guardian register them will be asked to leave and prevented from registering in future without parental consent. We welcome feedback and suggestions about this policy, but Q-MoB takes its duty to protect youth seriously and we also must abide by Eventbrite's Community Guidelines for any event that uses that platform for registration. We realize that for some queer youth parental consent may be dangerous or impossible to obtain, so we will refer those queer youth to youth-serving organizations that do not have to obtain parental consent to provide services. Q-MoB also hopes to some day provide youth programs in partnership with youth-serving organizations that will foster community, wellness, & fun in a safe context. But for now we are limited by the Eventbrite Community Guidelines.
In all our activities we seek to promote wellness and empower all participants to get their needs met while also developing the containers & resources in which everyone's needs can get met with equity. We respect the autonomy of each person over their body & life, while also advocating for cooperation and service as essential to a strong, heatlhy community. We seek the greatest good for the greatest number, while carefully respecting & addressing the needs of people who may feel left out.
Because queer men come from all races, ethnicities, classes, educational backgrounds, levels of privilege, and abilities, we seek to do the work to promote these many kinds of diversity & inclusiveness in all our activities. For us queer men include men who identify as gay, bi, trans men, non-binary people who are perceived to be gay/queer men, & any men who love other men or like having sex with other men, and all men who's expression of their gender or sexuality has exposed them to homophobia &/or sexism. We understand that it will take lots of time, work, & money to achieve our diversity & inclusiveness goals, and that we will do the best we can, knowing some activities may not be as inclusive or accessible as we'd like. We try to follow the old teaching that love does not judge or divide, it includes and uplifts and finds a way to honor and cherish all those who have been harmed by homophobia and sexism AND who either live on the masculine end of the spectrum or are perceived to. Queerness is about daring to be true to your authentic expression of gender &/or sexuality, despite a culture that may therefore hate, despise, or harm you.
For many queer men our humor and love of fun is what kept us alive and thriving. We seek to bring a spirit of abundance & fun to all our activities. Rather than fighting over who gets what size piece of an ever-shrinking pie, we seek to find the resources & people to bake more & better pies, so there is plenty for everyone to get what they want & need. We want our activities to feel like banquets rather than breadlines. And we want to laugh and smile easily & often.
In all our activities we seek to embody creativity & curiosity so we constantly figure out better ways to address one another's needs and expand the depth & inclusivity of our community.
We endeavor to be honest and transparent in all our activities, and to do what we say we will, when we promised, and in the way we promised, and to acknowledge when we fall short of our values & ideals. We know it will take lots of experiments, mistakes, & bad outfits to pull off a consistently fabulous performance of our mission & values. Our leaders know they are humble servants of our ideals & values and are accountable to the community & the teams they lead. We also acknowledge that power derives from responsibility & hard work, and therefore we grant our leaders the power they need to make decisions that fulfill their responsibilities in ways that embody our values. And we understand that no leader is perfect and that sometimes mistakes are the way we learn. We will not expect so much perfection from our leaders that they cannot serve effectively, and in general we seek to diversify power & responsibility by having co-facilitators in all critical positions, and to mentor less experienced people throughout all our leadership roles so that we cultivate resiliency and avoid burnout.
We hold quarterly meetings where we invite all queer men in our community to participate in the leadership teams that implement our mission & values. These Community Visioning Meetings also elect members of our board of directors, but only Q-MoB members may vote for the Board, and we define a member as someone who attends a quarterly meeting or signs a proxy allowing another member to cast their vote AND who also has subscribed to the Q-MoB mailing list AND has been to at least one activity and one quarterly community gathering. All of our leadership teams also use democracy for making decisions as much as is possible, while also respecting the need of team leaders to take action in a timely way to prevent challenges for our operations and to take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities that may not allow full consultation & voting by a team. We believe in collaboration both within Q-MoB and with other organizations that share our values and assist us in achieving our mission. As an organization that has a large representation of white men with resources, we acknowledge our commitment to promoting equity, inclusion, & reconciliation with parts of our community who may have less privilege and therefore less opportunity.