Safer Spaces Policy

Conference Participation Agreement

All delegates of NOWSA 2017 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, transphobic, queerphobic, ableist, classist etc.

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, respecting that everyone has something amazing to contribute, and not being tokenistic or making others uncomfortable because of a percieved difference you may see.

NOWSA aims to explore and acknowledge the subtle (and not-so-subtle) forms of bigoted behaviours including:

  • Femmephobia
  • Racism
  • Ageism
  • Transphobia
  • Sexism
  • Queerphobia
  • Ableism
  • Sizeism
  • Homophobia
  • Classism

The first step of tackling these behaviours is to acknowledge your own privileges and prejudices, and to actively work against any biases you may have for people of different life experiences.

If the agreement is not adhered to:

All spaces at NOWSA should be inclusive of every individual where possible. If certain attendees are making NOWSA less inclusive for others, they are then making the conference unsafe and this cannot be tolerated while at conference. If you feel that you cannot adhere to the Safer Spaces Policy you should exclude yourself from conference.

Both the Grievance Collective and the current NOWSA Organising Committee are empowered to remove individuals who refuse to comply to the Safer Spaces Policy. Any individual or group engaging in violence (including sexual violence and harassment) at NOWSA will be immediately excluded. 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 if they do not.

The Safer Spaces Policy has been adapted from Queer Collaborations 2014