Developing a Policy

Often anti-oppression and safer space policies are developed in responses to specific instances of abuse or overt oppression, and are specifically designed to meet the needs of the particularities of the situation.  We’ve seen some great and effective policies develop in this manner, however, we also support taking proactive measures to develop policies that articulate our goals and intentions prior to an incident that brings these issues to the forefront.  The models on this site are based on safer space policies that are presently in place or of those we have observed.

Every space, event, home, show, etc has a limitless amount of options for the ways to be safer.  We’ve found that there’s no particular protocol that works for everyone or every situation, but we provide the following models as ideas to work from.  They vary in the ways that they are carried out and operate due to the length or size of the event.  A combination of some or all of these models may be tailored to suit your particular needs.  The NYC Safer Space Coalition can help you develop a customized policy and provide ongoing support in implementation of that policy.

Another way to create a custom policy would be to select from a list of common guidelines such as:

• Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries

• Respect peoples opinions, beliefs, differing states of being and differing points of view

• Be responsible for your own action. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others

• Examine your own subtle and not-so-subtle prejudices

• If you or others are using drugs or alcohol, examine how these substances may be affecting yours and others behaviors and decisions around consent

* Do not let police in the space under any circumstances.  If you encounter them, tell them to wait outside and we’ll get someone to talk to them

• Look out for kids at all times and try not to leave anything around that would endanger kids

• Any individual or group engaging in violence (including sexual violence and harassment) or who threatens another’s safety within the space will automatically be excluding themselves. We will ask them to leave the space.

• If you experience or witness any behavior that crosses your boundaries or makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you are feeling like you would like to talk to someone anonymously about anything, please ask someone who works here.  Take responsibility for your own safety and get help if you need it

• Remember that explicit verbal consent is the best way to make sure you have consent