FemFest NL has made an explicit decision to prioritize voices of people who experience oppression, to challenge oppressive culture, and emphasize the empowerment of margin-alized individuals. FemFest NL events and all affiliated programming is a designated safer space. FemFest NL is dedicated to making all of our events a safer space for all women and anyone who has experienced gender oppression; particularly Indigenous women, women of colour, LGBTQI2S+ folks, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.
According to the Safe Space Network, a Safe Space is a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express themselves, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, physical or mental ability, family status, source of income, real or perceived socioeconomic status, or lived experience. FemFest NL asks us all to be aware of language, behaviour, and to consider if it might be offensive or presumptuous towards others. This is not a space for violence, for touching without consent, for intolerance of religious beliefs of lack-thereof. If you experience language or behaviour that perpetuates discrimination, please notify a designated Safe Person or member of the FemFest NL committee. These incidences will be addressed by FemFest NL, and people may be asked to leave.
FemFest NL encourages the expression of different opinions, choices and tactics. This means as a community we must work hard not to silence each other; and also that some voices must be given more of a platform than others. We are asking that we work through these possible conflicts or disconnects as a group in this space of learning. When we disa-gree, let us do it in a way where we can hear each other, and communicate with care while respecting and considering context. This means also engaging with people outside of academia, non-profit sectors and relating in honest, non-discriminatory, and compas-sionate ways. As a community, we can work to develop safer spaces for us all.
Things we can all do to create a safer space:
• Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
• Be aware that raising your voice or other aggressive body language may be understood as abusive behaviour by others.
• Respect people’s differing opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints.
• Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.
• Identify what makes a space safer for you.
• Honour that safety looks different for everyone.
Adapted from Black Futures Now Toronto: Safer Spaces Policy
Safe Space Network: http://safespacenetwork.tumblr.com/Safespace