Tag Archives: trans

Wiscon Safer Spaces Update

As WisCon 42 draws closer, the Concom chairs and Anti-Abuse Team (AAT) would like to reaffirm WisCon’s stance on safer spaces. In short, WisCon supports its safer spaces and our members who use them and will not tolerate any attempt to compromise those spaces.

Why safer spaces?

A truly “safe” space is neither possible, nor is it desirable: even among marginalized people, there is a risk for harm, and what makes one person feel safe may make another person feel unsafe. A safer space acknowledges that the space is by its nature imperfect and constructed while still allowing it to exist as a welcoming place.

The intent of a safer space, then, is not to censor or restrict, but instead to offer marginalized people a supportive place to express themselves among others who share similar experiences. Marginalized people often face outside pressure to conform to a certain persona or expectation from a dominant group—to hold their tongues, to shrink, to take up less space. The day-to-day toll of being marginalized wears people down, and incidents that replicate oppressive power structures can arise even in a more self-aware space like WisCon. Thus, safer spaces offer a place for marginalized people to decompress and socialize away from the gaze of those with power and privilege over them. These safer spaces include rooms designated by WisCon to be safer spaces, such as the Trans/Nonbinary/Genderqueer Safer Space, as well as unofficial, WisCon-adjacent events, such as the POC Dinner.

Safer spaces and WisCon’s feminist/social justice legacy

Any space that purports to be feminist and social justice-oriented must acknowledge the multifaceted nature of people’s experiences and identities: that people of color, trans/nonbinary/genderqueer people, and disabled people, among others, deal with different forms of structural oppression than white, cis, and abled people. Creating a more just society requires that we work to dismantle these forms of oppression. Safer spaces are one way for WisCon to uphold that legacy of working toward equality and accessibility for all people.

Repercussions for attempts to compromise WisCon’s safer spaces

WisCon’s Code of Conduct provides an outline of WisCon’s definition of harassment and the process for reporting an incident. The Safety team enforces the Code of Conduct strictly with regards to safer spaces: any harassment toward people who use or are in these safer spaces, as well as general attempts to compromise these spaces, will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. These safer spaces are not an incidental part of WisCon but a core piece of its philosophy and practices that will be upheld to the fullest extent possible.

Please be aware that questions about the need for or effectiveness of safer spaces during WisCon should be directed to the Chairs, and not to users of those spaces, or any other WisCon member. WisCon’s membership are not asked or assumed to defend ConCom or SF3 practices on demand. Attempting to argue the merits of safer spaces with a member of a marginalized group will be considered harassing behavior.  

Many WisCon attendees who travel from elsewhere in the world, as well as elsewhere in the US, are coming to the midwest, to Madison—a place that they know may be unfriendly or even physically dangerous for them—in order to experience a convention that they believe is worth it. In return, WisCon will do what it can, as individuals and as a community, to make this place, for this weekend, as friendly and safe as possible. That includes giving folks a place where they can relax, catch their breath, and draw strength from each other. A place that they don’t need to defend, as WisCon will do so for them.

Signed,

The WisCon Chairs and Anti-Abuse Team

Pronouns: Yours, Mine, Ours

Heidi Waterhouse
SF3 Communications Committee

Hihi!  I want to take a minute to talk to you about an exciting option we’re offering at Registration this year: pronoun stickers!

We offered them last year and got a lot of reaction, so here’s the explanation:

Pronoun stickers are totally optional to wear. You don’t have to declare anything to anyone. You don’t have to wear the same sticker all weekend. These exist to make it easier for all of us to treat each other respectfully.

If someone IS wearing a pronoun sticker, we expect you will use that pronoun for them. Part of our social contract is kind and respectful treatment of each other, and there are few things that feel as terrible as being misgendered ON PURPOSE. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself and move on.

If someone is NOT wearing a pronoun sticker, the default polite behavior is to ask them what pronoun they prefer and then use that. If you don’t know and can’t ask, use the singular “they”.

We also have stickers that say “The singular they is grammatical.” Because we’re nerds like that.

No one is the pronoun police, and you’re not going to get shunned for an honest mistake, but if you persistently and deliberately misgender someone, it’s not pleasant and is sometimes a conduct violation.

If your pronoun is not represented in our pre-printed stickers, we’ll be happy to print a sticker for you custom. You can email registration now at registration@wiscon.net and we’ll try to have it for you when you check in, or it may take up to a day if you ask as you check in. We’ll do our best!

We’re all looking forward to seeing you in less than a week. We hope these stickers make it easier for you to feel safe and respected. As always, if you do not feel safe and respected, please feel free to ask Safety for their help and advice.

Options. God bless WisCon. #WisCon

A photo posted by Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13) on

All-Gender Toilets

WisCon has toilets for all people — regardless of gender.

We have gender-neutral toilets in two locations:

  • In Conference 1, on the 2nd Floor
  • On the 6th Floor, between rooms 627 and 629

Requests have been made to expand the availability of gender-neutral bathrooms. The hotel cannot currently accommodate this need; the issue remains open. In the meantime, WisCon wishes to be very clear that we support all people’s right to use the restroom they consider appropriate.

Questioning anyone’s right to use a restroom based upon a perceived mismatch between their gender and who a restroom is “for” is a violation of WisCon’s Code of Conduct. If you feel unsafe or harassed, our Safety Team is here to assist you.

Or look for one of our on-call Safety volunteers. They’re wearing bright yellow/green high-visibility vests.

Safer Space for Trans/Genderqueer People

  • contact:  tgqsaferspace@wiscon.net

WisCon is pleased to provide a designated space for genderqueer and trans people to come together and dialogue openly about their ideas, experiences, feelings, and so forth. This space is specifically for trans, non-cis, and genderqueer identifying attendees. This space is not for anyone who identifies as cisgender, including cis queer people and cis gender nonconforming people.

The WisCon convention committee asks that all members respect the use of this space. Body policing or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated (see WisCon’s Code of Conduct for more information).

In the past this space offered readings, handouts, and a variety of snacks (including gluten-free/vegan). Additionally, we try to set up a time for genderqueer/trans folk to meet and come together as a group at least once during the convention.

We want to hear your ideas about how to make this space work for you. What would you like to see happen? Contact us at the email above!

Genderfloomp Seeks Feedback from GQ/GNC/Trans Community

This entry is cross-posted at the request of the Genderfloomp organizers, and comment streams are available on Dreamwidth and Livejournal.

Hi there. As the organizers of the annual Genderfloomp party at WisCon, we learned of a recent wave of concern that Genderfloomp is uncomfortable/appropriative for gender non-conforming or non-binary people. We’d like to open a discussion about this issue.

To start off, we want to determine if the problems primarily reside in the party’s messaging online, its actual setup/conduct at the con, or simply its existence. We’ve spoken to some GNC/GQ people who really enjoy the party and find it to be an important space, and we would find it helpful to hear what aspects of the party do work as well. Ideally, we can find a way to rework Genderfloomp so that it can serve the entire community, but we also are open to much bigger changes.

We are both queer people who are gender non-conforming in some ways that are important to our identity, but do not pretend that this gives us access to the wide spectrum of GNC, GQ, and trans experiences. Our intentions with Genderfloomp are to embrace the liberatory aspects of “party,” rather than the trivializing connotations, in order to foster a space of gender play and binary destabilization, much in the same way that the Tiptree award celebrates work that “explores and expands” ideas of gender. If our party is hurting GNC/GQ folks, it is failing at its mission, and we apologize for any hurt we have caused.

We know a wide spectrum of Wiscon has insight to share on Genderfloomp, but we ask that this thread be restricted to folks who identify as GNC/GQ/Trans in order to give people room and safety to speak. If commenting here feels uncomfortable or unsafe, we
can also be reached at genderfloomp@gmail.com.

We are here primarily to listen with humility and openness, though we are also happy to answer any questions.

Sincerely,
Meghan McCarron and Liz Gorinsky