Adapted from the QC2012 Safer Spaces Agreement.

The Safer Spaces Agreement is a document that outlines the ways in which delegates are expected to act to ensure that all spaces – conference floor, workshops, social activities and accommodation – are safer spaces. We all recognise that no space can ever be completely safe, but we’ll try our utmost to get there.

There are few places in society where so many people come together in an event where people can be who they really are and this is what we hope can happen at Queer Collaborations. We all come from such diverse backgrounds, and we share such different identities that while it makes for an absolutely fantastic conference, people can sometimes annoy people unintentionally – and sometimes intentionally. The Safer Spaces Agreement outlines what is acceptable behaviour.

The aim of the Safer Spaces Agreement is to:

  • remind delegates that creating safer spaces is people’s own responsibility, as well as the responsibility of the people around you,
  • remind delegates that words, body language, actions, and behaviour affect other people and make them feel certain ways,
  • remind people to be aware of other people’s personal boundaries; and
  • work preventatively to try and make sure that everyone is able to enjoy conference as much as possible.

Please be aware that all delegates are expected to keep the Safer Spaces Agreement in mind at all times, at all places throughout the conference week. Whether you are shopping with a group of delegates, or in a workshop with a presenter, people can still be affected by your actions and words.

Remember:

People engaging with this conference are asked to acknowledge that every one of us has some form of privilege, through being white, male, cisgender, of a certain class, or having certain abilities, which is just to name a few examples. Privilege is not something to be ashamed of, or defensive about; it is, after all, a product of the society in which we live. However, the way in which people deal with that privilege is their personal responsibility. People are asked to be aware of behaviours they engage in that have the effect of perpetuating their privilege and dis-empowering other people within the space. In particular, people should be aware of how much they are speaking, whether they are speaking over others, and, if so, who they are speaking over. Spaces can also be dominated through non-verbal means such as standing inside personal space, making large gestures or noise. All of this behaviour makes a space unsafe, and is not acceptable within this space. This is not a space for violence, for touching people without their consent, for being sleazy, for being intolerant of someone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, for being racist, ageist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, queerphobic, ableist, classist, sizist, biphobic, whorephobic, polyphobic, femme-phobic or for engaging in any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression.

This is a space where everybody’s opinions, ideas, and contributions are valuable, regardless of their knowledge or experience on certain issues. We recognise and embrace the differing levels and types of knowledge that each person at QC possesses. We encourage the sharing of knowledge, but ask that people are proactive in their efforts to avoid creating knowledge hierarchies within the space (for example, using a term which not everyone would be expected to know without explaining its meaning). No-one should feel silenced in the space, nor should anyone feel compelled to engage in any ways that are not comfortable to them.

THE AGREEMENT

All delegates of Queer Collaborations 2014 will keep the following list in mind, and adhere to these points. All delegates will adhere to this agreement in all spaces throughout the conference. The agreement is that delegates will:

  • Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
  • Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing personal boundaries.
  • Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, differing states of being, and differing points of view.
  • Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others.
  • If someone is upset or offended by your actions, you need to take personal responsibility for this, regardless of whether the harm was intended.
  • Take responsibility for your own safety, and get help if you need it.
  • Be aware that children may be in the space, and that their safety needs to be ensured.
  • not engage in any behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression, for example being racist, ageist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, queerphobic, ableist, classist, sizeist, biphobic, whorephobic, polyphobic, femmephobic, transmisogynistic or any bigoted behaviour.

Examining our own subtle and not-so-subtle prejudices:

If we profess to be concerned about issues of race, gender, and sexuality, etc., we need to live our lives in a way that proactively seeks to subvert prejudice, to undermine the very possibility that someone will feel discriminated against. This means treating people equally and respecting that everyone has something amazing to contribute. It means not being tokenistic. It means not acting awkward around people because you don’t know what to say because of some perceived difference. This space aims to explore and acknowledge the subtle (and not-so-subtle) forms of femmephobia, racism, ageism, transphobia, sexism, queerphobia, ableism, sizeism, homophobia and classism within our own spaces and to tackle them head-on.

If the Agreement is Not Adhered To:

A space should be inclusive of every individual where possible, but, if certain individuals are making the conference unsafe, they are making it less inclusive for others. If you feel that you cannot adhere to the Safer Spaces Policy you should exclude yourself from conference. The Grievance Collective is empowered to remove individuals who refuse to comply to this policy. Any individual or group engaging in violence (including sexual violence and harassment) at QC will be immediately excluding themselves. The conference organising committee will ask them to remove themselves from the conference. All delegates have agreed upon receipt of their delegate pass that they will adhere to these policies and may be asked to remove themselves from the conference is they do not.