The Safer Spaces Policy aims to show what kind of conference we’d like to create together; 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 fully safe, but we endeavour to create a space which is safer. 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.
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. Everyone, however, 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, we say “step up, step back”: for those who are typically more dominant voices in the conversation, 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.
You will encounter people with different identities to yours at Queer Collaborations. We respect people’s right to self-identify. As part of that, we respect a person’s chosen pronouns. If you’re not sure of someone’s pronouns, the best thing to do is ask! Even if you think you’re sure, best to ask anyway as someone’s presentation may differ from their identity. There is space on the Delegate Pass to write your pronouns if you so desire.
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 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, but also means that people may not be on the same page with everything. We encourage the sharing of knowledge, but ask that people are proactive in their effort to avoid creating hierarchies of knowledge, that is a space in which . In saying this though, 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. If you want some action taken however, you can talk to a Grievance Officer. The role of the Grievance Officers is, in short, to mediate when issues arise.
At Queer Collaborations there are often discussions that may be of a uncomfortable or triggering nature to some people, so if you feel like the conversation is approaching this territory, it is advisable to stop the conversation and give a content note about approaching content and then give people the opportunity to leave. In a workshop, you may like to fill in this time, as the sudden stop and accompanying silence can make it uncomfortable to people who wish to leave.