What is a Safer Space?
A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment where all participants can feel comfortable to express themselves and share experiences without fear of discrimination or reprisal. We use the word safer to acknowledge that safety is relative: not everyone feels safe under the same conditions. By acknowledging the experiences of each person in the room, we hope to create as safe an environment as possible.
Why do we need a code of conduct?
In an ideal world all spaces would be safer spaces, and all people would consider others and protect each other’s sense of safety. But, despite our best intentions, sometimes we are either unaware of certain issues or have inconsiderate moments. Having clear guidelines encourages mindfulness about these possibilities. While slip-ups may occur, they keep us on the same page.
Code of Conduct:
- Respect others’ identities and backgrounds, including pronouns and names. Any forms of violence, including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism will not be tolerated.
- Do not assume or make judgments on anyone’s gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, religion, background, beliefs, opinions, etc.
- Respect others’ right to privacy both during this dialogue and beyond. Do not push anyone to answer questions they don’t want to answer, and do not share anyone’s personal stories outside of this dialogue.
- Be respectful of other participants during discussions. Avoid raising your voice, interrupting, or talking over anyone else. Be aware of how much you are participating and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
- Be aware that your actions and words may have unintended effects on other people and that their feelings are valid, regardless of your intentions.
- Assume positive intent. If someone does or says something that crosses a boundary, gently let them know, but do not assume they intended harm. Similarly, encourage yourself to remain open to legitimate critiques and avoid defensiveness. Overall, if you are challenging someone’s ideas or behavior, do it respectfully, and if you are being challenged, receive it respectfully. Remember, mistakes will be made, nobody is perfect.
- Lastly, if you witness or experience any inappropriate behaviour, please let a facilitator or organizer know immediately.
*Adapted from the Mental Health Commission of Canada*