Naomi Gayle Rivkis (pocketnaomi) wrote,
Naomi Gayle Rivkis

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Safe spaces, Readercon, and me

Another public post, also with comments screened so that, I hope, people will feel free to speak.

Most people reading this will probably have heard of the episode which occurred at Readercon last summer (if only because I posted on the subject a few times since). I was not at the convention, but I was deeply distressed to hear what had happened there, because when I was much younger and first tentatively venturing back into SF fandom after a sexual assault at a convention frightened me away as a teenager, Readercon was the first convention I dared attend again. At the time, in the late nineties, it had a reputation as 'safe space' insofar as anyplace can be. I have felt very strongly since hearing about the events of this year's convention that I wanted to do everything I could to make it so again.

Fortunately, I'm far from the only one with that reaction. The Readercon concom, after a briefly disastrous misstep by the Board, took over and overrode their decision, issuing a statement I think was about as well-done as is possible in dealing with a mess like that. One of the things they said in it was that they intended to create a new Safety Committee, which would be in charge of developing a new set of policies from the ground up, to make Readercon both be and feel as safe a place as possible for everyone who attends. I volunteered for the new committee and was accepted as a member.

The Safety Committee is just forming, having taken a while to sort out its membership, but one thing we know from the beginning: we need input from the community, as much of it as possible, to be able to set policy intelligently for a convention which answers to that community. So I'm asking for your advice. What would you like to see in a document which lays out safety policies for a convention with the goal of both being in practice and feeling to the participants like a safe place for everyone? What concerns would you like to see addressed, and how would you address them?

Comments screened; if you don't specify that you're willing to have yours unscreened, I will leave it that way. That means I can't respond to anything which doesn't say specifically that it's okay to unscreen it, but I'll read everything, and bring it all to the safety committee when we start discussing ideas. Thank you all in advance for your thoughts! We want every one.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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