The following information is a blow-by-blow account of the usual direction of FTM London meetings. It is intended to help first-time attendees or those with anxiety and other issues to know what to expect when they arrive.
Getting to the church from Camden Town underground station is very straightforward. You will avoid the crowds of Camden on a Saturday night this way:
Turn left out of the station and turn the next corner (left / u-turn) into Kentish Town Road. Then walk up on the left hand side of the road until Buck Street comes up on your left. Turn up Buck Street and the church is one of the first things you'll see.
If you are nervous, you can contact us and ask for a member of the committee to meet with you beforehand in the local area, and walk you down to the church. We can also take some time to talk for a while to help put you at your ease.
We open our doors at 6:30. You enter through the little side door to the right of the big glass double doors. We can open the big glass doors for wheelchair users. You may have to buzz to get in; you definitely will have to buzz if you're a bit late for the main event (after 7pm).
If we remember, there will be a sign on that door that says “FTM London here now” with instructions to buzz, or suchlike.
Once inside the church, you will see two small halls straight ahead of you as you enter. You come through the empty first hall into the second one, and there will be tables set up on your left, right and at the back.
The bathrooms are behind that, in front of the kitchen. There are two, single, non-gendered bathrooms which are unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.
On the tables we set up, there will be leaflets, books and second hand binders. You can freely take leaflets and binders, and borrow books using the checking out sheet. On the back table is tea, coffee, squash, water and a varying array of snacks including biscuits, crisps and usually fruit.
For about half an hour before the main part of the meeting, you can mingle and chat with other people. To the left of the tea-drinking hall is the larger, main hall.
The main hall is where the main event takes place. In the main hall, there are usually chairs set up either in a circle or around large tables, depending on what we are doing. Craft or games nights involve tables; talks by guests usually involve sitting in a large circle.
At 7pm we will usually call everyone's attention, welcome you, give any relevant announcements and run through the plan for the evening.
If any group member has any announcements they want to add, this is the point at which they do so. Sometimes members draw attention to a new service or relevant event they have heard about.
We will then invite people to begin whatever activity is planner, or introduce and hand over to the guest speakers.
We usually expect between 15 and 30 people attending. Talks from surgeons or other professionals fetch a larger crowd. Occasionally these talks are filmed. We will always forewarn everyone if that is the case, here on the website, in email correspondence, and on social media.
There are seven committee members: Adrian, Callum, Kasper, Bri, Ramses, Douglas and Emmet. On any given day there should be at least three of us!
We will be either serving tea, arranging things, or sitting at the “door”, which is a small table in the main hall by one of the glass inner doors, where we collect money for the group.
We don't swoop down on you, but if you can afford to pay the door fee, that is much appreciated. Just make your way over the the “door” in your own time. It is not actually by the entrance!
On the “door” are reminders of the meeting and membership fees, and stickers for you to fill out which allow you to indicate which pronouns you prefer to be known as.
We will take down your preferred name and log how much you have paid us, which is just so we can keep track of how much money is coming in, and from where.
You can also leave us your email address, which we will use to inform you of future meetings.
If you want to do us a big favour, bring exact change! We cannot take cards or anything uber techno-mological like that.
You can sign up for an annual membership on the "door" by filling out a form and paying the fee – see the "Membership fees" section for more details.
We prefer as many personal details as possible for our membership forms, including address and contact number.
You can meander around all the places mentioned: the main hall, the small halls, the kitchen, bathroom and connecting corridors freely. It is better not to go upstairs, where there may be other groups using the space.
It is better to avoid the side rooms, where more private meetings may be taking place, including the SOFFA meeting (for friends and family of trans people). For more details on the SOFFA meetings, see our SOFFA page (“Can my family come?”).
The group meeting officially ends at 9pm. At least some of the committee members will have to tidy everything up (feel free to help if you like) but members often also like to go to one of the nearby pubs and bars after a meeting, or out for a meal.
If you want to go out or have somewhere specific in mind and are looking for people to join you, collar one of the committee members at the end of the meeting and get us to announce it.
Our nearest and therefore most common haunts are The Bucks Head and Her Upstairs, both marked in the simple area map above.
And that's about all there is to it. Any questions, contact us on the usual channels.