Community Guidelines

Queer Exchange Lower Mainland

Version:  1.1

February 2018

Queer Exchange Lower Mainland

Queer Exchange Lower Mainland (QELM) is a group for person-to-person local exchange within the Greater Vancouver/Lower Mainland area.

We also want to acknowledge, that we are located on the unceded, traditional and occupied territory of the Coast Salish peoples. This includes the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish),Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

As a community QELM aims to practice the principles of anti-oppression, and anti-racism in order to create an equitable and inclusive space for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community to buy, sell, trade, barter, ask for advice, etc.

This group is for:

-buying/selling/giving away things

-looking for housing/looking for roommates/sublets


-advice, such as doctor recommendations or where to find a sweet denim vest

-finding clients, like hair models or folks who need a babysitter


What this group is not for:

-sharing articles, petitions, cute videos, etc.

-fundraising (personal or otherwise)

-looking for dates or friends

-generic event posts that have nothing to do with this group. At least personalize it and make a note about how it’s relevant to the group.


Joining the group


To get into this group, you must respond to a short questionnaire to confirm that you identify as LGBTQIA2S+, that live in the Lower Mainland,  and your commitment to read and adhere to the anti-oppression, anti-racism community guidelines.


This is not about policing identities, and you do not have to prove your queerness in any way. It is only to weed out fake profiles or people who mistakenly added themselves to the group (we get a lot of them!). The only response required to the identity questions are: yes and yes.


Community Guidelines


These community guidelines are kept in order to keep members of QELM accountable for their actions, language and behaviour within the group. These community guidelines are a working document, and as our community grows, changes the guidelines may be updated.


Jump to:
Cultural appropriation


Immediate removal

Code of conduct

Call outs and problematic posts


Resources (places to donate, articles, definitions)


Cultural appropriation:


The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society


Ask yourself before you post:

Is this tied to a culture that I don’t belong to?



What is anti-oppression?

Practicing anti-oppression is the process of recognizing the oppressions that exist in our society, and working to mitigate its effects. Anti-oppression practice within communities aims to equalize the power imbalance in society.
Oppression is the use of power to disempower, marginalize, silence or otherwise subordinate one social group or category, often in order to further empower and/or privilege the oppressor. Oppression affects everyone to varying degrees based on the intersections of their identities. As a queer community we can understand on the same level that being members of the LGBTQIA2S+ communities, queerness is othered and oppressed in heteronormative society.

Please keep this in mind as the QELM community is diverse, and we wish to respect all members of the community.


Oppressive behaviour that is grounds for immediate removal.
QELM has a zero tolerance policy for:


– Blatant racism


– “White Non-Sense” (eg. “reverse racism”, “all lives matter”, “if any other race …”

– Anti-trans language/rhetoric (including purposeful misgendering)

– Harassment


QELM is dedicated to providing a harassment-free space for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment in any form.


Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender presentation, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, doxxing, toxic calling out, sustained disruption, and unwelcome sexual attention.


Don’t Be a Jerk


QELM members are expected to be accountable to themselves and the community.

Be aware of the person(s)  you’re speaking to.


Ask yourself before you post:


Am I speaking over someone?

Are you speaking over someone of a marginalized group?
Am I upholding damaging systemic stereotypes of a group of people?

Is this a conversation I feel I am positively/constructively adding to?

Could your tone be misunderstood? (ex. Joking or sarcasm taken sincerely.)

What are the intersections of your identity that give you privilege over the other people you’re engaging with?


Respecting identities


The QELM community is comprised of many people, all who identify in different ways. We want to respect how all members self-identify.

Do not assume the identity of someone by the way they present. This relates (but not limited to), race, gender, and sexual orientation. Do not identity police (defining someone else’s identity) or assume identity of other members. This includes acts of misgendering, assuming race, and  white washing.



Asking for and using the proper pronouns for people is an essential way to show respect. If you are unsure of the proper pronouns to use for a person you may be able to quickly check their facebook profile to see what their used pronouns are, or for an even more considerate an accurate approach ask.


How to ask for correct pronouns (example):

“Hi, [Name], what pronouns should I use for you in this space?”


Black, Indigenous, People of Colour


Black, Indigenous, People of Colour exist in a racialized and less privileged space than white people. We try to respect the self identities and the different experiences of BIPOC as racialized people moving through the world.

Do not assume the race of a person, or how they racially identify by how they look/are portrayed on facebook. Many BIPOC have spend much of their lives dealing with the microaggression of “not being [x race]” enough. This applies especially to BIPOC who are white passing. There are long racist histories of identity policing based on racial appearances, any assumptions of race need to be flagged for mods.

In some cases, especially regarding posts that are being questioned for cultural appropriation an OPs race/cultural identity may have to be confirmed. This will be done by a mod in a private conversation.

Steps for a call out in QELM

Recognizing that we are a community of people with different backgrounds and lived experiences, it is inevitable that people will make posts that affect community members in different ways. Reactions to post can range from feeling discomfort, to feeling unsafe within the group.


Instead of public call outs which easily turn into toxic and emotional laborious facebook fight spectacle, QELM has an accountability process (outlined in the QELM accountability procedure flowchart)


What do I do if I see a problematic post?


If you come across a post that is problematic and violates community guidelines tag a moderator. Once a moderator is tagged the post will be reviewed and further action will be taken.

If a post breaks community guidelines regarding our group being an anti-oppressive space you may be contacted by a mod regarding discussion with the OP their post.


Ask yourself before you tag:

Does this post display cultural appropriation, toxicity, willful ignorance, violate other group guidelines, or is irrelevant to the post? If you answer yes then tag the post, moderators will begin the accountability process once a post is tagged.


What happens if I am called out?:


If you’ve posted a problematic posting, upon first offense your post will have commenting closed while it is reviewed by moderators (and at times community members). Your post will also be recorded by screenshots for further reference if needed.

After review if your post is deemed as violating guidelines your post will be deleted. If this is your first offense you will be contacted by a moderator (or designated person), to discuss why your post was tagged. Any offense after the first time will be seen as willful ignorance, and you will be removed immediately from the group.

In order to stay within the community you’ll be required to write a public apology/acknowledgement of how your post was damaging to members of the community. Mods and community members expect a sincere apology (no “I’m sorry I offended…” or “I didn’t mean for it to be offensive”), take the time to educate yourself, and respect the time taken by the mods to review your post with you.










Strategies, theories and actions that challenge social and historical inequalities and injustices that are systemic to our systems and institutions by policies and practices that allow certain groups to dominate over other groups.



The mix of ideas, beliefs, values, behavioural and social norms, knowledge and traditions of a group of individuals who have historical, geographic, religious, racial, linguistic, ethnic or social context, and who transmit, reinforce and modify those ideas, values and beliefs, passing them on from one generation to another.. It results in a set of expectations for appropriate behaviour in seemingly similar contexts.





The experience of the interconnected nature of ethnicity, race, creed, etc., (cultural, institutional and social), and the way they are embedded within existing systems such that they define how one is valued.

The unilateral subjugation of one individual or group by a more powerful individual or group, using physical, psychological, social or economic threats or force, and frequently using an explicit ideology to sanction the oppression.





The experience of freedoms, rights, benefits, advantages, access and/or opportunities afforded some people because of their group membership or social context.



Donation list (aka where to take/donate “stuff) :
This links to a google doc of queer friendly/centered organizations in the lower mainland area where donations/contributions can be taken.
List originally compiled by community member Cathrine Mateo




Canadian race relations foundation Glossary of terms



Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide (Everyday Feminism)


4 Steps to a Sincere Apology (huffpo)


How Microaggressions Are Like Mosquito Bites (fusion)


What Is “Reverse Racism” Here’s Why It Doesn’t Exist in the United States (Mic)


6 Signs Your Call-Out Isn’t Actually About Accountability (Everyday Feminism)




Queer Exchange Lower Mainland
Accountability Procedure Flow-Chart