Safe(r) Space

Safer Space

Queeristan will not tolerate racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, biphobic, femme phobic, ageist, ableist, classist, xenophobic, homonormative or oppressive behavior or language of any kind.

You will be expected to take responsibility for all your isms and phobias at the festival, so unlearn your shit before you show up. Or be expected to work on unlearning your shit and work on it hard!!

We depend on our queer family and allies to create queer community spaces free from discrimination, violence and hate. There is only room for people who make room for others so we reserve the right to deny space to anyone who breaks these principles.

There is no official safer-space policy this year. It’s usually good to have a bunch of rules to help resolve conflict, but a policy creates a false sense of security, an unrealistic expectation, a make-believe “safer-space”. The unfortunate reality is that queer spaces are not and can not always be safe for certain people/groups/identities, and queer communities are not exempt from perpetuating oppression. We do not believe that it is possible to be above oppression just by saying that it’s “Not allowed at Queeristan”. We would also like to question whether queer spaces should necessarily be ‘safer’. A safer space looks great on paper, but it ends up being a space where there is very little room to challenge ourselves and other queers. Some of us need to face our privileges; others might need to face their oppressors. “Safer-Space” sometimes can be uncomfortable at the same time “safer-space” is supposed to give us security. With this in mind If you experience or witness any behavior which crosses your boundaries, makes you feel uncomfortable or if you feel the need to talk to someone we will do our best collectively to offer solutions and support. There will be volunteers at the festival specifically assigned for conflict resolution and mediation. There will also be a daily discussion addressing any conflicts arising at the festival. A Queeristan “guideline zine” will be available to anyone attending the festival. The zine will include a few basic and helpful tips to follow, and express expectations the festival planning collective have for our festival attendees.

Now let’s fucking party!!

— Israel —

We simply believe that, regardless of your politics, the repeated breaches of International law, Human rights conventions, and huge levels of bloodshed involved in the occupation cannot be ignored, or justified. This is why we uphold a boycott of Israeli products.

As such, we endeavour within our festival to give no material aid whatsoever to the occupation; this means in addition to us not providing goods of Israeli origin, we request you to please not bring such goods into the festival.

Not all of us know Israeli products, but some of us do, and you may be approached if we see that you are bringing these products to Queeristan.

If you wish to find out more information about the Boycotts Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement, go here: http://www.bdsmovement.net/

— Vegan Space —

All food served at the festival will be vegan …The festival will be held in various vegan spaces so we ask that food brought in is also vegan. This includes food products used in performances etc.

— Consent, boundaries and bodies —

Queeristan is a body positive, and pro-nudity space. However, this does not simply mean we are in favor of naked bodies; we are in favor of people’s autonomy to enjoy their bodies in whatever way they see fit, without harming others. The way in which such an environment can be fostered is through respect for the potential difference of people’s boundaries, and remembering the need for informed consent to maintain this.

We will NOT police bodies but will act against bad behaviour. We have zero-tolerance for non-consensual touching, staring, commenting or any behaviors which might make others feel uncomfortable. You do not have to physically harass or touch to be asked to leave. We hope to create an environment that gives all our queer bodies freedom of self-expression. This means, that if people are nude, or semi-nude around them, you treat them as you would any other person: you don’t stare, you don’t invade their bodily space, and you don’t make them feel uncomfortable being nude.
Having said this, if you chose to take your clothes off, you must also be considerate of each others’ boundaries and bodily space.

If you are naked, and you touch others bodies without asking first (for instance, by running through a crowd,) you do not know the potential traumas that you may evoke for those persons, or more generally, the discomfort you may trigger by invading their bodily space with your naked body without their consent. This also extends to more basic features of how you move around space inhabited by others, and how you interact with others (for instance, asking for one’s consent before you hug them when nude or semi-nude.)

Be comfortable to express yourself, to enjoy your body in whatever state of dress you want, but always be considerate of other’s boundaries, and always ask their consent when interacting with them.

and NO PHOTOS !!

— Pronouns —

Queeristan is intended to be an open space where people feel comfortable to express, and explore their identities, be they clearly defined, or not, sexual, gender or otherwise.

Part of doing this is respecting the way in which people choose to define themselves and the ways in which they wish to be referred to. A key part of this is respecting people’s pronouns.

Many people choose to use pronouns outside of the he/her binary; you should respect this. Pronouns need not corroborate the way in which they express or present their identity or the way in which you read their body as, for instance, a particular gender.

A good general rule is to use gender neutral pronouns.

If someone tells you their pronouns use them, regardless of your own reading of their body, mannerism, or your thoughts on the grammatical correctness of their pronouns. When you misgender someone, (use an inappropriate pronoun for someone) you are saying that your ideas about their identity are more important than the way they feel and understand themselves.

Everyone can make slip-ups with this; we’ve been conditioned by society to judge others bodies- it’s difficult to undo this training. If you slip up, and someone ‘calls you out’ on this, do not react defensively, or aggressively. Apologize and try to do better in future. It may feel hurtful, judging you as bad person, but this is not about you or your feelings. This is about structural oppression and respecting everyone’s autonomy to explore and express their identities, and supporting them in this.

(For some resources exploring these issues in greater detail, click on these: Pronoun-etiquette Ignore-Gender-Pronouns)

— Cultural appropriation —

This means that if it is not from your OWN culture , please do NOT represent it, or dress up as it…No burkas , geisha”s , native american headdresses, etc…TELL YOUR OWN STORY.
Using another person’s culture to represent either oppression or freedom comes off at best, pretentious, naive, or insensitive, and at worst …racist and stereotyping. We share our struggles, but we still must each tell our own story by using images and details from our own background. Romanticizing another culture or race can also be a form of stereotyping. When we speak for/about the suffering of another race or culture (even to bring awareness to their struggle) we must also acknowledge our own privilege and the history of colonialism. Part of the history of colonialism is speaking for and/or silencing by controlling information. At Queeristan, we want to give personal voice to the issues, create a dialogue, listen to each other, break the stereotypes and respect our differences.

— Complaints and Conflict resolution —

If you feel offended, or if an important issue comes up in a workshop, performance, party, or with another Queeristan participant, you can find a conflict resolution monitor to help you. They will be available from 1-7 pm at the LAG-Lab in the Binnenpret.
•  The conflict resolution team will try to help to resolve as much as they can, however if the issue or conflict is larger and something you would like to discuss with a bigger group, then we have reserved Friday and Saturday 7-9pm, Sunday 5:30-7pm, in the tent for a community feedback forum. This discussion will be moderated by at least one festival attendee (someone outside of the Queeristan planning collective) and one conflict resolution monitor.
• Our aim is to give voice to all the important issues that come up, and to give you somewhere safe to talk.
• We will also have feedback forms available for the workshops, performances, and parties.
• Personal issues and conflict with individuals that you do not want to deal with in a large group can be taken care of at the LAG-lab.
• If something happens at the parties that you need to talk to someone about, please go to the people on the door who will help you. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a quiet space to talk but we will help as much as we can. The conflict resolution monitor will also be available to you the next day. They will be identifiable with armbands.

While we cannot promise to resolve the conflict we will do our best to make sure all voices are heard.

— Violence —

There will be zero tolerance of physical and verbal violence. If you feel angry and upset and feel the need to use verbal and or physical violence then we ask you to go directly to a friend or a conflict resolution monitor -who will be identifiable with armbands. We ask that you do not escalate the situation. If you are a witness to violence or hear verbal violence against someone at Queeristan we ask that you report it immediately to a volunteer or conflict resolution monitor. All conflicts must be dealt with through our conflict resolution crew. There is no need for violence. If there is any type of violent behavior at Queeristan you will be asked to leave immediately.

— WE SUPPORT OUR QUEERISTAN CREW/WORKERS —

We want to protect our crew and avoid the burn out that happens every year. We are a DIY festival and all of us are volunteers.
Anyone living in and around Amsterdam is welcome to come to meetings and be part of making this festival happen.Every year Queeristan has a small but steady crew who not only work long hours at the festival but months before in preparation.
Therefore we reserve the right to consider the feelings and needs of our Queeristan crew above that of its daily participants. This means that if an active worker truly feels uncomfortable and is in severe conflict with a daily participant of Queeristan, we may ask the participant to leave the workshop/party/space, and in extreme circumstances even the festival its self.
Also Queeristan organizers can request that people they currently have extreme conflict with, be asked NOT to come to events they organize and or be in spaces they must work in.
In every other respect these conflicts/ issues will be handled like all others (see conflict resolution guidelines)

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