About the Program
From parties and networking opportunities to family-friendly outings and sports programming, NWA Equality organizes various activities for the LGBTQ community and their allies. Together we celebrate the strong sense of family within our community while also finding ways to appreciate local businesses and organizations that support equality. View the listings below, search for upcoming events on our Community Calendar, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram - and let us know your ideas for future activities.
LGBTQ Book Club
NWA Equality's Reading Between the Lines LGBTQ book club meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Reading selections include a variety of cross-cultural and Queer subjects and works by LGBTQ authors.
Please check the schedule below for reading selections and meeting locations. Our program partners sponsor select books that can be ordered free or at reduced cost through Pearl Books in Fayetteville and Two Friends Book Shop in Bentonville. A note will appear on the schedule where these opportunities exist.
The book club is open to LGBTQ individuals and our allies, 18 and older. Please fill out a one-time registration here.
Book Selection: Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson
Publisher’s Summary: Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces.
Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress.
But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony – a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history.
As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives – even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Sponsored by Procter & Gamble
P&G has donated 20 copies of this month's selection, and are available for free by ordering through our partners Pearl Books in Fayetteville and Two Friends Books in Bentonville.
Book Selection: Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters
Publisher’s Summary: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese – and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby – and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it – Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Book Selection: Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
Publisher’s Summary: Who says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes – it would be too awkward – and you can't say no – it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Question: How do you arrange to skip town? Answer: You accept them all.
What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.
Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.
A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half," Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.
Book Selection: Lot, by Bryan Washington
Publisher’s Summary: In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He's working at his family's restaurant, weathering his brother's blows, resenting his older sister's absence. And discovering he likes boys.
Around him, others live and thrive and die in Houston's myriad neighborhoods: a young woman whose affair detonates across an apartment complex, a ragtag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, hurricane survivors, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, a reluctant chupacabra.
Bryan Washington's brilliant, viscerally drawn world vibrates with energy, wit, raw power, and the infinite longing of people searching for home. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot explores trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms.
Book Selection: With Teeth, by Kristen Arnett
Publisher’s Summary: If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best – driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school – while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess – and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family – and the many ways it can be torn apart.
Book Selection: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
Publisher’s Summary: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born – a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam – and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
Poetry Selection: The Tradition, by Jericho Brown & Black Girl, Call Home, by Jasmine Mans
Publisher’s Summary: The Tradition: Jericho Brown’s daring new book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex – a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues – is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.
Publisher’s Summary: Black Girl, Call Home: From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.
With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself – and us – home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America – and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, Queer Black woman.
Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
Out & About Happy Hour
Since 2010, the Out & About Happy Hour has provided networking opportunities for the LGBTQ community. NWA Equality inherited the event's organization from community members in 2019. We revamped the program in 2021 to include an equal rotation of happy hours and other events between Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and Springdale. Visit our calendar to find out where we'll meet next.