Building and fostering queer community is hard. We have no time, even fewer spoons and everyone’s broke. Plus, outside of structured environments like college or large cities with a concentrated queer community there often aren’t resources or dedicated queer spaces to meet in. DIYing it is hard but also definitely doable and one solution is the Do A Thing Brunch; an all queer social designed around eating delicious food while working on whatever group or individual projects you need a little time or encouragement to get done.
Created by S, a partisan in Oxford’s trans sticker war, Do A Thing Brunch was born when she discovered herself newly single and living alone. Wanting to expand her social circle, have more meaningful interactions with friends and the chance to work on important projects in an encouraging social setting the solution seemed obvious; cook a ludicrous amount of food and host brunch. Not quite open house, invitation was on a friends and friend of a friend basis, who in turn invited their friends building something really special.
Outside of fostering friendship what makes Do A Thing Brunches really special is they enable people to tackle that project they can never quite finish or even start. It’s amazing what having company with an understanding that you’re there to do this very specific thing can do to help tackle both procrastination and the executive function some of us experience that keeps you from being able to begin even things that matter deeply to you. Plus if that isn’t enough, asking the people around you to help you start or even tell you to do it can be enough to get you going (this sounds like neurotypical nonsense but it’s actually a standard technique for tackling executive function problems and it’s honestly infuriating how well it works). People have brought everything to S’s brunches, from lesson plans to mending piles to origami, and they’ve worked on collaborative projects as well – including masses of sticker ammunition for S to use in combating TERF street art propaganda.
The nice thing about using brunches to foster community is that they’re flexible. You can even skip the Do A Thing element if that suits your particular group’s vibe though I think that would be a mistake given how much it has to offer us. Want to get more involved in community and social justice work? Do A Thing brunch is the perfect way to get you and your friends organised, plan it out at monthly meetings over vegan pancakes or frittatas. Desperately need to see your friends but have to spend all your “free time” working on your side hustle? Do it at brunch surrounded by your friends and tasty food. The options are endless.
So how to create a Do A Thing brunch of your very own?
Obviously it’s easier if you already know some people. Invite all the local queers you’re on even vaguely friendly terms with and get them to bring their friends. Only a fraction will show up so your house won’t be packed to bursting, but the Official Event element of it will still provide a non weird chance to get to know that cool near stranger better.
If your circle is limited and you mostly only know work people you might have to expand your specifications to include, gasp, cishet people. But don’t worry, water always finds its level and all the queers in their social circles will filter through. Alternatively you could try local LGBT+ groups online. Even if there is no organised queer social life in your town there probably will be something on Facebook, even if it’s something for the wider region. Messaging the organisers or posting directly to it depending on how its run can help you find the other local queers starving for company, though probably you should all meet up in public, at least at first.
The original Do A Thing brunch took place in S’s house but you can change things up a bit if you like. Picnics are an awesome option if you live somewhere that isn’t a frozen wasteland for ¾ of the year, and allows for meeting safely in a public place if just one lone weirdo turns up. On the down side it does limit food and bathroom options as well as some of the activities you can get done (no charging ports, wind etc). If you do have a local LGBT+ centre they might let you host a potluck brunch there, though some of them will charge for the privilege and the kitchen facilities can vary. Brunch in a restaurant is less of a good idea for this, both because of the cost factor and also because unless the Thing you’re Doing is limited to planning you can’t really do it there. But if you really just want brunch but with queers, damnit, (relatable) then sure, that’ll work too.
One benefit to hosting according to S is that it wildly expands the number of things you personally can do at your brunch. You’re in your house with your things so the project doesn’t have to be portable! Uses S has made of this includes getting “people to help me stuff trays of dumplings for the freezer or assemble furniture”, and I admit that when I host things I tend to make my friends without balance problems change the lightbulbs. Plus you don’t have to leave your own house or put shoes on and we all know that’s what everyone really wants out of life these days.
Any thing! You can tailor this to the mood and needs of your own particular group. Whether you want to get together to plan activist work, organising queer community events, letter writing campaigns and any other work to make the world a less shitty place, or to work on your individual projects with good food and good company the brunch will provide. You can even change week by week or allow a mixture of group and individual work going on at once. Do what works for you.
The world is your oyster here. The greatness of brunch is it can be anything you want it to be and you could even get Deliveroo or another food delivery service to provide if you all wanted! You do you. Part of how S lured people into making it a regular thing is cooking up a delicious spread herself but potluck is also an option. You do need to make sure of dietary needs first and pass them on to everyone contributing though. A guest discovering they can’t eat anything there because of cross contamination or because you cooked around a theme they’re allergic to is going to make it a sad experience for everyone. You also need to make sure everyone’s on the same page about cost splitting. If you want to provide everything yourself or have the guests pitch in that’s all fine but bad feelings will result if people aren’t warned first.
Now, planning a menu (if you are going to cook yourself) can be overwhelming. Which is where Autostraddle, with its long standing obsession with brunch, has you covered.
Hansen has the essentials.
El Sanchez has some controversial food opinions you’re either going to love or hate.
A.E. Osworth has brunch cocktails while Layla has tips on throwing an alcohol free yet decadent brunch, complete with Madeleine recipe.
Stef tells you how to brunch, but make it
Finally, Rachel, as a true overachiever, has collated 101 brunch recipes and provided you with everything you need for a hungover brunch.
We even made you a playlist all the way back in 2014 because we’re just that thoughtful and in tune with your needs.
Happy brunching, and happy friend hunting while you’re (I can’t bring myself to say munching) at it.