Exiles Community Meeting, January 8, 2012
- Regular monthly programs: seeing people, getting BDSM
- Involved with other groups like QUOCMAP and CUAV
- Like being in a room of hot women
- Women’s space (however you perceive that)
When Exiles does something, always follow-through: communication to the general population is clear, and
people fill needs
- Level of participation: like when people are really engaged (volunteers) and in the programs.
- Like the open mic, which I didn’t think we did this year
- Place in the leather community
- Officers’ commitment to the organization has been incredible.
At the beginning of programs we have a chance for announcement, the “Church
- Like that we have deep programming on innovative topics on all levels (beginner to expert)
- Like seeing faces I’ve never seen before; influx of younger people
- Seeing the Exiles visible in the larger leather community
- Like the way Exiles supported the first year of MsSFL, and since.
- Like dyke culture
- A place to come home to, to see people I don’t see anywhere else
- Thank you to officers who have supported and kept the group going.
- Like how many people are here
- Like having an Exiles booth with our logo on it that you can see from far away
- Like that the Exiles have always been focused on education
- Made me feel comfortable as a big woman in my body
- Make me feel comfortable as a non-standard gender-variant woman
- Cruising and schmoozing
- Programs are good; in my first year I was interested in almost all of them.
LOVE TO SEE
Have leadership that brings in leaders; want to hear things from a cross-section of people, not just
teachers. Perhaps more of a peer thing. Train the trainers.
- Concern about the average age in this room; many of us are tired.
Many of us have other organizations we’re members of; where do you put your allegiance and
Was told I couldn’t go because I wasn’t a lesbian. Need to better communicate who is
Lack of clear information about expectations of members. Dues, but what else? Perhaps an hour of my
Folks are accessing BDSM in different ways now. Our challenge is adapting to meet that challenge. Do
outreach in different ways. Have different kinds of events (e.g., open mic).
Lack of interesting programs. We have world-class presenters here; why aren’t we utilizing
Small number of people at the core of the group/volunteers. Perhaps we don’t think of things
because we’re a small group.
- Not enough volunteers.
- Suggest: orientation connected to an event (perhaps before).
- Suggest: informal social time (much, bar night, speed dating)
Communicating about the programs. (Most in the room didn’t know what the January program
- Volunteers are burned out
- Parking sucks at The Women’s Building
- We can treat each other better
- Don’t see Exiles out there. Don’t see Exiles branded people at events.
Would like to see more sex in the Exiles. Gang Bang program was the first time saw sex at a
- Venue is damaging to the Exiles. Difficult with dance or hymns in nearby rooms.
- The venue isn’t warm.
- Need mentorship of younger people into leadership positions.
Used to be excited to go to every program, but it became insular: became more about how to get people
there then about quality of education.
Issues with spending $$ to promote ourselves where we didn’t need to. Specifically a $17 ad is just
as important as $250 at MrSFL. Instead pay for mentoring, supplies, time.
Business meetings are tedious and not welcoming. Need to esp give younger people support and
Moving forward comes down to making decisions; unsure about how decisions are made. Perhaps it’s
too hard to get decisions made. Takes a long time to change how the club does business (changing Articles and
- Hard to find the Articles on the web site.
We don’t let people come in late, so folks coming from far away may not come because they might not
even be able to get in.
- High: Welcomed when attending events
- Lower (approx <3 out of 5 stars): Feel included, Happy with leadership of Exiles officers
Many comments in these areas: Friendliness (greeters?), Leadership (enthusiastic participation by
leadership in leather events, participation of negativity in leadership), Openness (more transparency and more
communication, ), Outreach (more outreach to east bay and north bay, more events and activities outside SF),
Programs (don’t want the same people presenting all the time, need more social time)
- Survey Results will be online
Comment from Cholla: Membership has the power to change the club to be anything we want. The current
officers are stepping down. Solution suggestions will go to the new leadership.
Came here tonight to support the business group. Appreciate that you’re not going to run again
because you’re burned out. If there’s no energy the club will dwindle to nothing. We can close
down. If we do, it would create a gap. Someone else would fill to create a new club, but that’s one of
the hardest thing you will ever do, but sometimes it’s what you need to do.
- There will always be a place for this kind of organization.
Need to do strategic planning. It’s more than just setting goals for the year. Survey is great.
Look at resources; sometimes when you see what resources you have, it needs to go away and re-birth.
Don’t want to give up on it, but times have changed. Need to look at how we teach. Power in
mentorship and teaching 1-1 that you don’t get on the internet or other places. How do we provide that
for women in our community?
We don’t honor our burnout well, and step away when we need to. Need to do healing around perceived
favoritism, such as “you’re never going to teach here because you made a mistake 15 years
- Fear of going to meetings because I would volunteer again.
- Have some specific ideas about programs, like have 3 people negotiate a scene and do it.
- Like having a Meet and Greet.
Important: Nobody turned away for lack of funds; need to educate people how to take advantage of
Not all officers are stepping down. Some will continue if there is change. You can run against an officer
if you think you can do better. You can also help officers do their jobs.
- Articles written a long time ago; can be changed. Feel free to participate in that.
- Want a group to continue. Could be the Exiles or not. Will step up.
Transparency: whoever steps up will require the willingness to say I’ve never done this before, or
teach me to do it differently. Here because it’s vital to who we are. We identify with the group.
- Need to identify the young ones who are already a leader. I am willing to step in.
Maybe programs more than once a month, with one being open to a larger community (queer, men,
Look into a new location. Willing to talk to The Looking Glass. Have to look at locations that draw
people from San Jose and Sunnyvale. Deal with traffic issues.
- Perhaps change door policy.
- Desperately hope the group continues.
Start the program earlier to allow for more socializing; perhaps dinner beforehand. Extend afterwards for
socializing, perhaps go to the Citadel afterwards.
- Suggestion box at the monthly program.
- Online: a monthly survey after each program.
Can we do an additional event like Novice Night or Carnal Carnival? These are great events, so
- Having been on the business list, the tone is sometimes hard, but shit gets done.
Willing to reach out to Feel More has a shop in the east bay, perhaps for an orientation, perhaps to
outreach to customers.
- Will organize social time: cock sucking at Powersurge, bar night, dinner.
Can we have polls online to vote for when to go out? (postponed the discussion of
- Not sure if all officers are stepping down.
- Thanking those who put into the Articles about how to disband the club if we decide to.
- If we go forward, want to move outside our circles (QUOCMAP, film fest, CUAV, SFState).
Existing member and officers: challenge you to “tap” someone to volunteer for the
Don’t think the club is at the point to go away; it’s changing. Officers: pat yourself on the
back. We’re good at “armchair” leadership. Maybe we don’t need all of the volunteers
that we have at every program. We can perhaps run “leaner and meaner” if we don’t have all
Center for Sex and Culture. Mission Control: could have biz meeting, then program, then social and
- We are a 501(c)3, which is important.
- Maybe like LDG: Focus on men, leadership is men, all welcome.
- Maybe lower dues.
We don’t appreciate our leaders enough. Maybe go out of our way, like massages or something else
that shows appreciation.
- Perks of volunteering: people need to know. Give people stuff for volunteering.
- We need an Exiles app with little popups.
Board vs us: keep hearing the board is doing this or that, or isn’t friendly, or whatever. We as a
group need to take this on ourselves.
In previous years we did a lot of officer and volunteer appreciation. Previously there was a committee
for programs. Willing to volunteer for that.
Want us to feel like membership: want back patches. Want someone to say they’re a member and have
it mean something. We underestimate our influence.
When we complain about our attendance at programs it’s still larger than at most programs at the
Do not want the group to disband. We have a lot of power; need to reorganize ourselves to meet our
Want to have something in the local businesses to make sure the Exiles are identified as the local
resource for women’s BDSM.
- Think we will survive, but we needed this wakeup call because stuff doesn’t just happen.
Maybe not have monthly meetings for a while. Perhaps one month it’s social, and the next it’s
- Most people present do not live in SF.
- Half of the people in the room are willing to volunteer, some only if things change.
Great that it’s a welcome space for those not male; inclusive. Fun, sexy, energetic, reach out to
other groups, support other group. Be a group that thrives. Women can do what needs doing.
- Preference that officers should step down, but be around and mentor.
- Need the Exiles; the only way to access this community.
- Web site has a facility to allow comments; just need a login. Contact Countess to get one.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate: We have a lot of the things that people have suggested are
things we have, or have done. People just don’t know about them.
Welcoming/coldness: We need to divorce ourselves from this building. The Citadel might be a solution.
Perfect timing to work with the people at the Citadel to create something awesome.
Mentorship: former officers can be a resource for the new folks who want to get involved. Willing to be a
resource regarding Membership, Coordinator, and liaison to the Citadel.
- Make it easier to join.
Great for officers to step down. Generally true, but because nobody else has stepped up. Some other orgs
have term limits.
- Need to revamp the Fringe; include more information about what’s going on.
- River has volunteered to do P-R.
- Mailing List
- Attend the biz meetings in February and March.
COMMENTS RECEIVED AFTER THE MEETING, ON CARDS
- Meet somewhere else; too hard to park. Perhaps CSC?
- More social events.
It is so hard to get people to remember when a regular meeting is; please don’t change the meeting
- I agree with not cleaning up so quickly after a meeting so we can socialize.
- Only need 1 door person and 1 supplies person.
- Mission Control sounds great.
- Door policy need changing so people can come in after 8, just not in & out.
Outreach: It would be great to hear from folks not in the Exiles community. What would get them to an
event? Surveying women at the Velvet & women’s parties might be one way to get feedback.
Biz meetings in SF: Look into a venue to replace police station. Some folks are alienated by
- Diversify Events: Open mics, kinky craft night, etc.
- Programs: Alternate between SF and Oakland
- Orientation: The idea of having them before a program is brilliant!
Gender Policy: I saw 3 comments about it on the survey. Do we need to revisit the language? Move to a
model like LDG?
If #’s have dropped how much of that is from people moving? People choosing to economize? Do you
have knowledge of who may or may not have had issues with other members of the board? How transparent are the
board meetings? How do you get feedback on presentations? Do you take feedback? How do issues get resolved?
What issues are currently most pressing? How do you attract new blood? What are you looking for from new blood?
Do you want more or less from the group as a whole? What do new/prospective members feel is lacking?
Change to Avatar (LA Org) policy + for a no one turned away. Have them do a few volunteer things like
help clean up, set up next time, etc.
- Do more in the EB. Looking Glass for classes?
- Exiles Calendar.
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION RECEIVED ON CARDS
- Live in Sacramento
Live on the Peninsula, best to meet in SF or Peninsula, I generally drive or BART, Fri or Sat are good
for program meetings.
- From Orinda
- Live in Oakland, Friday night is hard. Prefer other nights or weekend afternoons.
- From the North Bay
Life in SF. Friday is a good day for meeting. When raining, travel by motorcycle. When not, by
- Drive from Santa Rosa.
- Live in San Rafael. Fridays are OK. Earlier would be good too.
- Live I SF. Take public transportation. Programs on Fridays work for me.
- Lake Merrit Area, take BART/Muni/AC Transit/My bike! Fridays, Saturday, Sunday afternoon.
- San Francisco, Mission District, car or bicycle.
VOLUNTEERING NOTES RECEIVED ON CARDS
<name withheld for privacy>: I live in Sacramento. I’m often in
service in E. Bay, which means often my time is not my own. BUT – I am available to volunteer for things
that can be done remotely or that only requires me to work in person a few times a year.
<name withheld for privacy>: I live in Oakland, Friday night is hard.
Prefer other nights or weekend afternoons. I’m grateful to the officers who have served. I would love to
support Rio to stay on as co-coordinator, but I’d like to see *all* new people on the board. And if that
happens, I’d consider doing the East Bay orientation meetings.
<name withheld for privacy>: Want to take a board position wherever
I’d fit best.