Queer Diary faqs
Queer Diary is a night which invites LGBTQ+ people to read from their teenage diaries (or teenage poetry, or fanfic, stories etc) in front of a live audience! Sometimes those live audiences are online, sometimes they're IRL.
Reading your teenage secrets might sound scary, but it can be hilarious, exhilarating, and empowering. It can be nerve-wracking, but is a wonderful chance to feel seen and recognised, to connect with your younger-self, and bond with other queers.
It's also amazing to hear your own words alongside other queer people. Some of our experiences will be eerily similar, but many are as vastly different as we all are from each other. In sharing, we want to celebrate all of our queer coming-of-age journeys - our moments of joy, discovery, resilience, passion. We also revel in the 'boring' details: sometimes a rush of nostalgia feels the most potent when we're reminded of the banalities - what song we were listening to, what we ate for lunch, what the weather was like in the particular time or place of our formative years.
The first Queer Diary nights happened online in 2020, supported by the QAF Space queer community Zoom channel. The first in-person Queer Diary happened at Omnibus Theatre in July 2021. We hope to bring Queer Diary to more locations (online and offline) in future. Get in touch if you'd like to partner with us to deliver a Queer Diary event.
Queer Diary is founded by Beth Watson. Each event raises funds for Beth's autobiographical show Hasbian (which is based on, you guessed it - a teenage diary), and for an LGBTQ+ community organisations focussing on supporting youth and education.
Join us for a Queer Diary zine-making workshop on Feb 4th
Wanna join the fun by sharing something?
Still got some questions?
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't have anything to share, can I just watch/listen?
Yes! Anyone can book to come and be in the audience.
To be kept updated with the latest Queer Diary event dates follow us on social media:
What are the events like?
A Queer Diary evening usually consists of 2-5 people sharing (who have signed up to do so using the form) and 15-40 audience members.
It's hosted by Beth, who also usually shares a couple of diary entries, and creates a friendly atmosphere for participants by chatting to the audience.
It's an informal space with NO pressure whatsoever to participate/share/join in, except on your own terms.
The aim of Queer Diary is to create a fun, relaxed and inclusive social space for celebration, connection, and solidarity for everyone in the room - whether you're sharing something or just watching/listening.
Feedback from past events:
"During lockdown, [Queer Diary] created a little safe space.
I had a good laugh during these and felt like we could all relate to something we shared.
I was nervous but quite glad I got to read this in front of a live audience.
I’m so glad I got this opportunity to share my story and receive such supportive from the people who popped up watched and read."
- Amandeep (via instagram)
“A fun, friendly sharing where we can pretend to be shocked at everyone else's adolescent high jinks. Very welcoming to all identities.”
“It'll prove that you weren't as weird as you thought you were - or that we're all as weird as each other.”
“It's like the ‘Mortified’ podcast, but all queer!!!”
"Beth hosted so well, there was a well-thought out use of when to play music, when the host could share something etc. This instinct added to how well the event flowed."
"It was a joy to be a part of."
Am I "queer enough" to take part?
"Queer" is used here as an umbrella term (and as a pun on "Dear Diary").
We will NEVER police how you identify with queerness, or question where you sit under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.
You are welcome here!
I didn't realize I was queer til late in life / didn't write about "queer stuff" when I was young
Can I still bring something to share?
Yes!!!! All queer/LGBTQIA+ life-experience is valid and we want to include it all.
Whether you came out of the womb waving a rainbow flag, or are still thinking about how you identify.
Whether you wrote about your every crush in intense detail, or mostly wrote updates about your favourite TV show.
You don't need to have known you were queer. Your sharing does not need to be about queerness.
Does it have to be a diary? Can I bring something else to share instead?
Yes! We're very open to you sharing any writings or artefacts from your teenage years, childhood, or youth.
Examples of things people have brought before include:
- Songs, poetry, fanfics, plays, or short stories written when they were teens.
- Love letters, emails or old messages - handwritten, printed, or dredged up from the depths of the internet (if you had a Live journal, MySpace page, or early email address, see if you can remember your old passwords! The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine can also come in handy if you had a Geocities page or similar)
- Video clips from movies made with your friends
- Sketches, collages, collections, clothing, photos, video clips - Anything that will give us a glimpse into the person you once were.
If it's not a piece of writing (ie. you bring a drawing or a t-shirt) then we might ask you to "show and tell" the item, to provide some context. You might want to share a memory that relates to the item, or is from that point in your life.
I have something but it's not from my teenage years - can I still take part?
Some people discovered sexuality or gender in their 20s, rather than their teenage years, so like to bring something from that time, as they feel it better reflects their "coming-of-age" experience than their teens.
Some people like to bring diaries from when they were pre-teen because they wrote something really funny or sweet when they were 10-12 years old.
It's all good.
"Teenage Diaries" is a guideline. We're not strict!
We just ask that it's written/created by you, and from your past.
Is this just for nostalgia-obsessed narcissistic millennials or can older people share?
It's for all (adult) ages!
We love to hear about experiences across generations.
Our history is so often hidden and erased by the cis-hetero-patriarchy.
Fellow millennials you're very welcome, and please do feel free to also forward this on to your older queer pals/mentors/parent/grandparents, etc.
Is this suitable for people who are currently teenagers?
Not as participants. Queer Diary is a space to share stuff from your past, not your present.
Our readers are adults getting a kick out of sharing their inner-most younger thoughts with an audience of peers - long after they've grown out of that stage of life. If you're a teenager yourself, you're probably too close to the material to have fun doing this!
We advise that this space is likely to sometimes contain content that may not be suitable for under-16s, so please use your discretion if you have young people in your life.
My diary is a bit depressing, is that OK?
Please please please let us know if your diary needs any content warnings, or is serious/intense/sad in tone.
If you want to share we will absolutely hold space for you, but we need to make sure the audience knows what to expect, and that you're taking care of yourself. We always try to fill the evening with a balance of different tone/content, so while we'll make space for everyone we'll want to check we're not serving wall-to-wall angst.
When deciding what to share, please check in with yourself and set boundaries for yourself.
Consider whether you are comfortable bringing up old emotions in a public space with strangers, and think about how to care for yourself before, during, and after reading if you're touching on anything sensitive.
Diary-reading can be cathartic, and the support of a room full of friendly queers can feel healing as well as fun, but we're definitely NOT therapists.
What kind of "content warnings" should I give?
Warnings may include: references to sex, violence, mental or physical health, death or grief, food or body issues, abuse of any kind, slurs or out-of-date language, drugs, alcohol or anything else you can think of that might be a sensitive issue.
Let us know what might come up when you fill out the participation form, or in an email to email@example.com - we'll have plenty of time to chat about this before the event to make sure you and our audience all feel safe and confident with when and how to use content warnings.
Is this a performance night?
Can I bring something I've written recently?
This is NOT a performance night.
If you are a performer of any sort and want to read you're very welcome, but please bring some raw teenage writings, NOT your regular/rehearsed stand-up/spoken word set (even if it is ABOUT your teenage years).
We're NOT a space for rehearsed, edited, pre-prepared "material".
If you have something to plug that might be of interest to Queer Diary participants/audience of course you'd be welcome to do so as part of the evening, just let us know!
I'm shy but want to share! Can someone else read my stuff for me?
We can read for you - and keep you anonymous, or name you, whatever you prefer.
It's 100% your choice but in our experience, these things are usually best in your own voice.
If you aren't sure, and want us to help you get over your nerves by having a chat beforehand or having a practice reading for 1 or 2 of the organisers let us know & we will have your back!
Is this a paid gig?
This is a just-for-fun opportunity to participate in a bit of queer bonding.
We're not looking for professional 'performances' and this is NOT a paid gig.
However, we're keen to make sure everyone who wants to share something is able to take part, and has the most fun night possible, so we cover expenses for anyone participating by sharing something at Queer Diary.
For in-person events, this could mean covering transport, refreshments or childcare. For online events, this might go towards more data to get online, a couple of drinks to get you in the mood, postage if you need your diaries sent to you, etc.
We budget for up to £20 per participant, but don't hesitate to request more, if it's what you need to take part.
How long should I read for? Is my diary/poem/fanfic too long/short?
As a guideline, most people share between 5 and 10 minutes, but we're very flexible.
Let us know if you only have a couple of lines to read, or if you're likely to run over 10 minutes.
We won't ring a bell to stop you, but we may take the length of each sharing into consideration when working out how many we can fit into one evening.
Can you accommodate my access requirements?
Let us know if you want to take part OR attend as an audience member, and have any access requirements that need to be fulfilled for you to do so comfortably.
We will do everything within our means to make it happen.
As the project goes on we'll be continually asking for feedback, making adjustments to make sure we can welcome as many people as possible, and writing accessibility improvements into our budgets and any plans for the future.
We will keep our booking pages and social media updated with announcements about whether we've made arrangements for each event date, and will always let you know if we've hired BSL interpreters, live captions, AI captioning services, or audio-describers.
Is this event trans-inclusive?
Yes, this is an absolutely trans-positive event.
Your pronouns and names as well as any experiences you share will be 100% respected, and we will make sure there are gender-inclusive toilets in any venues that are hosting us for in-person events.
Let us know if you have any concerns or questions relating gender-inclusivity at any of our events.
Is Queer Diary recorded? Is there any chance my secrets will get out if I share something?
No. We don't record online events.
We ask for your privacy to be respected by audience members, so no one should be recording you!
For in-person events, we may take pictures or record clips for publicity purposes, but we will always inform readers about this and ask consent before taking or sharing any photos or recordings.
Queer Diary is a public event with an audience. We ask our audience to be respectful of reader's privacy, but due to the informal nature of the events, we have very little control over how they use their phones during the evening, or what they might tell their friends or write on social media about the readings later on.
We have never had an issue with any audience members misbehaving - so far they've been universally friendly, respectful and kind, but please keep in mind that anything you choose to read will be in a public space. This is something you might want to particularly consider if whatever you're sharing is personal, secret, or involves other people.
Some readers like to change the names mentioned in their diaries to protect the anonymity of their teenage friends/crushes - it's totally up to you if you want to do this!
Did you steal this idea from that other event/podcast where people share diaries?
Yes, we have unashamedly been inspired by another night called 'Dear Diary' (hosted in London and at Edinburgh Fringe by Helen Black), hence the name 'Queer Diary': it's a tribute to the great times Beth had reading at those events.
We've just added an LGBTQ+ community-focus into this tried-and-tested formula for fun.
People keep mentioning a podcast/radio show - this isn't a direct inspiration, but sounds fun too!
I love this! How do I get involved?
Please click the links below to fill out the form!