Safe{r} Spaces Policy

safer-space

QM envisions event planning, promotion and spaces that are accessible, relevant to our communities and most of all a fabulous time.  QM aims to provide queer visibility within Ottawa spaces and events and consequently seek to cultivate and nurture connections with other awesome community organizations that share similar visions of anti-oppression, sex positivity and social justice. QM work towards centering intersecting oppression and experiences we face as queer folks, trans folks and other marginalized folks.

QM grew out of recognition of a lack of spaces, resources and events in the Ottawa region that speak to our identities. Therefore a collective effort was made to start a network that would centre our own realities and communities. In addition to providing accessible event planning and new media services QM members aim to create networks in which us queers can celebrate the amazing work we are all passionately doing, our strength and resilience and well one another!

QM works towards the promotion of queer and trans artists, musicians, performers, DJs, dancers, crews, both local and all around, all the while supporting many other artists and talents that we know are doing great work in their own communities!

QMs values involve (but are not limited to) supporting awesome local queer folks and community organizations and to increase the accessibility of queer-friendly resources, services and events that promote our diverse identities and experiences! We work towards ongoing learning and accessibility that centres social justice, sex-positivity and anti-oppression frameworks.

While, we recognize that QM is imperfect and continuously learning we are committed to doing the work and pushing ourselves in order to truly remain transformative and accountable to our communities and supporters.

Although the board is open exclusively to local queer identified folks and our work centres our diverse queer and trans communities, allyship from all communities, of all genders and sexual orientations are encouraged to get in touch with QM for service information, sponsorship possibilities, support services and well anything dapper and fabulous really. yodel@thequeermafia.com

 

safer-space-ground-rules

QM is dedicated & collectively strives to create spaces that are free of as many barriers as possible as a way of working towards liberation. This means that we are all responsible for creating the spaces we desire, by educating ourselves, each other and ensuring that we are continually engaging in these conversations and creating relationships of support and collective responsibility. While we recognize that no space is exclusively “safe” for anyone, we must collectively work towards reducing risks & preventing harms. In response to certain experiences that have happened within our spaces, we have decided to remix guidelines to apply to our dance parties, which are specific contexts of vulnerability, community and belonging.

QM works towards recognizing dynamics of power and privilege that exist within society and which have historically oppressed our communities. We believe that these same dynamics and tensions exist within our own communities and we are working continuously towards addressing these tensions and creating supportive spaces. People participating in our events and dance parties are asked to be aware of their language and behavior and to think about whether these may be harming others. Our spaces are not spaces for violence, racism, sexism, ageism, transphobia, cissexism, sizeism, fatphobia, sexual harassment, and gender policing, or doing anything to another person without their consent. Acting in a way that disrespects, harms others or undermines these values will not be tolerated. QM reserves the right to assess & manage circumstances and situations in the best interest of our collective vision towards creating “liberation” and “safer” spaces. We don’t believe in zero tolerance, but we do believe in accountability and spaces of support. What are some simple guidelines that we can use if we want to build a safer space in which to dance and celebrate together?

These guidelines are forever growing and evolving, so if you have any constructive feedback or thoughts do not hesitate to contact us at yodel@thequeermafia.com

 

Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression.

  • QM recognizes and values diversity, including but not limited to differences in ethnicity, gender identity, ancestry, place of origin, color, citizenship, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, HIV status, political affiliation and ability.
  • We also acknowledge that members from these communities are not treated equally and often encounter barriers, which hinder equal access to employment, education, information, activities, programs and services.
  • QM does not tolerate racism, prejudice or any form of discrimination. We are committed to achieving representation of the diversity of Ottawa communities in our event engagement and spaces. We will work towards confronting and eliminating discriminatory or racist incidents and behavior at the individual, organizational and societal level.
  • QM encourages everyone to speak out about all incidents of racism at our events and within our spaces without compromising your own safety. We are committed to responding immediately to incidents of racism and work collaboratively to meet the needs of the person or group of people that have experienced racism by taking their lead.
  • QM is committed to promoting safer avenues by which people can report racist incidents at our events or incidents in which QM is complicit in engaging in racism.
  • QM is committed to ensuring event organizers and community partners are from various backgrounds so that different perspectives to event planning, organizing and promotion are involved and centre experiences of marginalized people.

 

Bullying & Violence.

  • QM believes that bullying and violence is a serious issue that has far reaching consequences for both the QM community and the community at large.
  • Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent and aggressive behavior directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance. (Source: Ministry of Education) Different forms of bullying include:
  • Physical – hitting, shoving, intimidation, stalking, harassment & violence
  • Verbal – name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments
  • Social – excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumors about them
  • Electronic (commonly known as cyberbullying) – spreading rumors and hurtful comments through the use of cellphones, e-mail, text messaging and our social networking sites.
  • QM adopts a zero tolerance policy to any form of bullying, shaming, isolation, gender based violence or harassment within our spaces, in our communities and online.

 

Got Consent?

  • It is everyone’s responsibility to get consent if they want to engage in any activity with another person. Sexual activity also requires consent. If you do not get consent, you are at risk of doing something the other person doesn’t want you to do. You might disrespect and hurt someone. You need to get consent for any sexual activity or intimate contact – not just sexual intercourse. This includes kissing and touching. Grabbing someone’s breasts, genitals or buttocks is sexual assault, so is making someone touch you. Any form of sexual activity with another person without her/ his/ their consent is sexual assault.
  • Check for enthusiastic consent before dancing with someone.
  • When someone says “no” to dance with you, you say “okay, thanks”.
  • Note that consent is context specific: Yes to dancing is a yes to dancing, not to anything else. You need to ask again if you want something else with no expectations.
  • Respect the physical, mental and emotional boundaries of others – ask for consent before engaging in any form of physical contact.
  • Avoid making assumptions about the identity, experiences and/or histories of other people.

 

Respect

  • Respect yourself.
  • Respect other people: their bodies, their dance moves, their clothes, and their choice.
  • Respect the physical space: help keep it clean, watch where you put your things, clean up after yourself.
  • Respect the bar staff and security staff.

 

Heterosexism, Cissexism, Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

  • Heterosexism & Cissexism: The belief, attitude and bias that heterosexuality and cisnormativity are the norm and the only valid form of sexual orientation and gender identity. These structures can manifest as prejudice against non-heterosexual & non-normative identities, gender expressions, or behaviors and the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that everyone consents to the gender they were assigned at birth. Het­erosexism & cissexism can be explicit, such as the restriction of blood donations from men who have had sex with men, or implicit through erasure and under representation such as the absence of services and support centering trans feminine people.
  • Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia: These terms refer to a range of negative attitudes, feelings and actions towards queer and trans people or those who are perceived as being queer or trans. This can manifest as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion and irrational fear.It can lead to discrimination, hostility and violence. People who experience “same-sex attraction” or who are unsure of their gender identity, regardless of how they identify, can also internalize these systems of oppression.
  • QM will not and do not tolerate any forms of discrimination and harassment, including conduct on the basis of sexual orientation, or perceived sexual orientation that is abusive, demeaning or threatening, including behavior such as name calling; derogatory remarks, gestures and physical attacks; shaming or belittling behaviors.

 

Gender Policing & Cissexism

  • Not all harassment is sexual harassment. An individual can be harassed because she is a woman or because they transgress the gender binary and so forth.
  • Cissexism is the belief, attitude and bias that being trans is inferior to being cisgender and non-trans. This belief holds that cisgender is the norm and only valid form of gender identity.
  • This term is related to the term”gender normative” and both refer to reinforcing conventional gender norms and delegitimizing identities that do not conform to those norms.
  • QM is committed to ensuring access to gender neutral washrooms in recognition that so often gender variant, trans, two spirit and women identified people are at greater risk to violence and harassment. QM hopes to create safer spaces for folks to be who they are and to enjoy their night free from violence and body policing in the washrooms and on the dance floor.
  • QM will not tolerate any form of body policing, gender policing, gender based violence or harassment within our spaces, as well as in the washrooms.

 

Ableism & Accessibility

  • Ableism is an action or institutional practice, which normalizes certain bodies and abilities, leading to barriers to full participation for people who fall outside of normative and harmful standards.
  • Please be mindful of the space you’re in and take up. Be aware that people do not have the same abilities or needs within this space and respect these differences.
  • Please be respectful of folks using wheelchairs, motorized & other mobility aids.
  • Please be mindful to always ensure a clear path to the exits and washrooms.
  • Babylon Nightclub is an accessible venue. The washrooms are located on the main floor and are accessible as well (Not easy to navigate with motorized Wheelchair). There is a small lip (approximately 1” ) at the front entrance and we will have access to a ramp if needed.

 

Sexism & Trans-misogyny

  • Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where masculinity is privileged over femininity. Sexism is understood as the negative valuing and discriminatory treatment of individuals and groups on the basis of their marginalized gender/s. Sexism can be manifested in both personal attacks, insults and gender-based violence and in the structure of social institutions. An important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Moreover, QM challenges the notion of the man/woman dualism that supports sexism by supporting the need for informed consent and the importance of self-identification.
  • Trans-misogyny is steeped in the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity.
  • QM will not and do not tolerate any forms of discrimination and harassment, including conduct on the basis of gender, gender identity and femininities* that is abusive, demeaning or threatening, including behavior such as name cat calling; non-consensual sexual attention, non-consensual objectification, non-consensual touching and flirtations, derogatory remarks, gestures and physical attacks; shaming, isolation, or display of derogatory or belittling behaviors of any kind.
  • QM will not tolerate sexism, misogyny, or trans-misogyny within our spaces, nor will we tolerate questioning, shaming, policing of feminine of centre people’s sexualities, identities and gender expressions.

 

Sex-positivity

  • Enjoy the ways in which dancing connects you to your own body; respect the ways in which other people are enjoying their own bodies.
  • Please recognize that consent and boundaries are important, please respect your own and others.
  • QM will not tolerate any slut shaming or sex negative behaviors.

 

Risk Reduction

  • QM tries to employ a “risk reduction” philosophy in relation to our events. Risk reduction is a model that aims to keep people safer, minimize harm and injury.
  • While QM is committed to risk reduction philosophies and supports users and folks who are in recovery we ask that folks please be mindful to mitigate harm and triggering behavior/s for all people sharing our spaces.
  • QM is committed to providing safer sexual health supplies and resources at our events.
  • Please drink responsibly and know your own limits. Know that “‘I’m drunk” is no excuse for violating any safer space guidelines.
  • If you notice someone is quite drunk and not doing well please try to make it a point to check in with that person. We want to foster a culture of responsibility.

 

Confidentiality

  • The dance floor is a communal space and is not for public display.
  • Ask for consent before taking or posting pictures.
  • Please be respectful in our photo booths and be sure to ask permission before tagging people in photos or videos on social media or on the QM page.
  • Avoid gossiping about people’s dance-floor behaviors after the party is over.
  • Do not disclose confidential information or personal information about others without the persons consent, even if they’re willingly shared with you.

 

Self-care

  • Go where you need to be: Dance alone when it feels good; dance with a dance partner when it feels good; join a group when it feels good.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Check in with folks who are visibly upset or uncomfortable.
  • Speak up if someone hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, even if you think it’s by accident.

 

Accountability

  • Building safer spaces are an ongoing process; be open to feedback about your behaviors. QM is dedicated to being open to feedback about our parties and values.
  • Be sensitive to and aware of other people’s boundaries and comfort levels.
  • Avoid making assumptions about other people.
  • Be aware of the impacts of your own behavior and take responsibility for what you say and do.
  • Be open to being approached and talked with if you make a mistake. Be mindful and respectful of what an accountability process may look like. QM reserves the right to handle situations in ways that fit and honor our guidelines and values.
  • As a means of being accountable to our communities QM will always commit to work towards building knowledge and reducing harms internally as well as externally. We will make sure that we work towards collective accountability as well as ensure that our events, our hosts, and our organization is continuously learning and engaging in measures that will build our internal knowledge, training and resources as well as knowledge, training and resources of any partners and collaborations. We would also like to create spaces that hold ourselves accountable and will always be open to feedback, consultative processes and collective visions.

 

Love your DJ & Artists

  • Show appreciation that the DJ is an artist sharing their experiences with you.
  • Do not touch the DJ’s or artists equipment.
  • Make meaningful requests that you think your fellow dancers would enjoy.
  • Please refrain from negative behaviors directed towards the DJs and artists, as they are our guests for the evening.

 

Love your Bar Staff.

  • Show appreciation for your bartender by being polite and tipping them.
  • Do not touch the bartender’s equipment or go behind the bar.
  • Please refrain from engaging in any negative behavior directed towards your bar staff, as they are our hosts for the evening.
  • Please respect the space you’re in and be respectful towards the bar staff.
  • Make your body feel good; make yourself feel good. Do what you need to do to feel good, safer and to celebrate yourself and your friends in ways that are meaningful and intentional!

The Queer Mafias’ hope is that these guidelines will help people create a space together in which we all can celebrate our bodies, identities, connections and communities in a way that is intentional, meaningful and respectful to each other. QM reserves the right to follow-up and handle situations as they arise in ways that feel most comfortable and acceptable to us. Thank you so much for your energy and support! We look forward to seeing you at our events and in our spaces.

These guidelines were adapted from Sex Ed Transforms: http://sexedtransforms.blogspot.ca/2012/06/normal.html



The Queer Mafia


Our vision is to host events that unite Ottawa's queer and social justice networks, build community, and support artists and not-for-profit groups. We do this by employing our collective passions, creativity, and skills to raise awareness & funds for grassroots organizations.
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