The Safer Spaces Policy outlines the kinds of behaviours we want to encourage and the behaviours that are unacceptable. By using the term “safer space”, we acknowledge that no space is completely safe, but we endeavour to make conference spaces safer for delegates. Whilst this policy only applies at official conference spaces, the principles of the Safer Spaces Policy are expected to be followed for the entire duration of the conference.
There are few places in society where people come together in an event where they can be who they really are. This is what we hope can happen at Queer Collaborations. We aim to break down hierarchies, wherever they may stand, be they class, race, sexuality, gender, ability or one of the other multitude of oppressions people face. This means that all voices are equal. However, everyone has different experiences and many voices do not get heard to the same extent as others- even for reasons up to and including an individual’s personality. To counteract this, people are encouraged to “step up, step back”: those who are typically more dominant voices in conversations, step back and give others the chance to speak, whilst people who typically do not get the opportunity to speak are given greater chance to speak and have their voice heard. You are also entitled to pass when questioned.
At Queer Collaborations, people may choose to disclose sensitive personal information to you, which they expect to be held confidential. This extends to not identifying people in sensitive situations without their explicit prior consent. The caucuses and autonomous workshops are also spaces where the participants should not be identified externally without explicit prior consent. We must respect the autonomy of these spaces- that is, these spaces are solely for those who identify as those groups.
People are coming in with a wide range of knowledge, prior experiences and opinions. This diversity is valuable; however, in saying this, people are also coming in with a wide array of assumptions and prejudices. It is important to be aware of the assumptions you are coming in with, as these may not be applicable at Queer Collaborations, particularly surrounding gender.
Queer Collaborations can be a very intense space, so self-care is important. Be proactive and take care of your own well-being. Listening Posts are self-nominated people who you can talk to or vent at and their job is to listen to you in a non-judgemental fashion. However, if you want action taken, you can talk to a Grievance Officer. The role of Grievance Officers is, in short, to mediate when issues arise.