LILAC July letter to members
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Lesbian Information, Library and Archives Centre

187 Willis Street, Wellington
PO Box 427, Wellington 6140
21 July 2020
Tena koe

Recently there appears to have arisen some confusion about who can be members of LILAC. Also, there are actions, apparently attributed to the Collective, that are simply not true.

Following many debates over a number of years, LILAC’s constitution sets out the criteria for membership and the purposes of the organisation. These sections of the constitution were confirmed as recently as the 2018 Annual General Meeting and are set out below for your information.

Members of the Collective are very clear, we have a membership definition and we have the agreed purposes of the organisation. They are what we abide by and what we promote. We have a code of conduct to which we are all expected to adhere.  This can be found at

Of course, we cannot control what any individual member of LILAC says, nor should we try, but when members of the Collective and our other volunteers are “on duty” so to speak, we need to stay within the boundaries set by the constitution and code of conduct, and not express personal opinions that would take us outside those boundaries. We can have that sort of conversation elsewhere.

We do not have many places we can go to access positively presented resources. LILAC is one such place. It must, therefore, be a place where we can meet, socialise with other, like-minded women, borrow resources, listen to visiting speakers and so on. It must be a place where we feel welcome, safe.

To facilitate this, it means that EVERYONE who is in the LILAC premises needs to be courteous and considerate of the other women there. Discussions, debates are fine but they must be measured, not heated. Do that somewhere else ??

There are two other matters connected to membership.

  1. Apparently LILAC declines membership to bisexual and/or trans women. Not true. The Collective has done neither.
  2. That there is a clause (6.2) in the constitution which enables the Collective to question prospective members and refuse membership without necessarily saying why. That this clause is there specifically to refuse membership to trans and/or bisexual women. This is also untrue. The reason for this clause is that over the years there have been members who have, for example, failed to return books, damaged DVDs, etc and then, sometime later, wish to re-join LILAC. 6.2 allows the Collective to have a chat about the earlier issues and work out some form of recompense. It is a clause that is found in any number of organisations to protect the good name and purposes of said organisation.

As it appears we have Covid-19 under reasonable control and we can pick up some aspects of a former life, the Collective is looking to arrange functions at the premises in Willis Street. However, we must be assured that there will be courteous listening, discussion without heated arguments.

We are sure we can rely on our members to make LILAC a popular, pleasant place to be.
Nga mihi
Carole A Hicks
For the LILAC Collective

Extracts from Constitution 2020

5.1 Membership of LILAC is open to any woman whose primary relationships are with women and who supports the purposes of the Society.

2.1 The purposes of LILAC are to:

  1. provide members in the greater Wellington region with a wide range of lesbian and queer library and information services;
  2. maintain archives of lesbian material;
  3. provide an informal meeting space for members;
  4. maintain LILAC as a lesbian-led and lesbian-identified organisation that is inclusive of any woman meeting the membership criteria;
  5. do anything necessary or helpful to the above purposes.
6. Admission of Members
6.1 To become a member, a person ("the applicant") must:
  1. Complete an application form; and
  2. Supply any other information the Collective requires.

6.2 The Collective may interview the applicant when it considers membership applications.
6.3 The Collective will have complete discretion when it decides whether or not to allow the applicant to become a member. The Collective will advise the applicant of its decision, and that decision will be final.

9. Obligations of Members
9.1 All members (including Collective members) will promote the purposes of LILAC and will do nothing to bring LILAC into disrepute.
9.2 All members will abide by a Code of Conduct, which is attached as Annex A to this constitution.

LILAC · PO Box 427 · Wellington, 6140 · New Zealand