Unfortunately even this policy didn't stop some transphobic people to attend the conference and use insulting language towards other attendees. Really disturbing incident happened during the last workshop about gender. . .
Basically we were discussing things about gender, questioning what it is, how to create safe space policy and how not to exclude others from participating. And when someone said that safe space policies put people away, they afraid to speak up, because there is no safe space for "women who were born women"! Me (and hope everyone else!) could not believe what we were hearing!!! Women who were born women, wtf??? Just a few minutes ago people were talking that if someone feels like she is a woman she is a woman, if someone feels like he is a man, he is man, if someone feels like they have no gender, they are agender, etc. etc. And just after that we have someone complaining for no safe space for cis people!!! what next? A safe space for white sic gender heterosexual men? Sounds logical for me....
Some of us tried to challenge this person and show why this use language is not acceptable (e.g.: guidelines, number 9: avoid transphobic language or behaviour e.g. excluding trans women from discussions aimed at women), but it didn't seem to work. As the every participant signed the safe space policy and have all the their time to inform themselves about the topics or just ask someone if they had questions, it made no sense just to stay and listen to this nonsense I heard so many times. So we've simply left the room. I was really impressed seeing so many of us standing up and just leaving. (In so many other places I go this support does not exist. You try to speak up and others simply silence you. No one else tries to support you or realises oppressive behaviour towards non-cis people...And it makes you feel helpless, so this kind of support at the conference really empowered and inspired to challenge this behaviour again and again!)
We are learning all our lives. There are lots of things many of us still don't know. We do mistakes and that's fine, but we like to learn from them. Most of people come to those conferences with an open mind, to learn something new, to share their experiences, but not to use insulting language on the purpose as this clearly was the case... : / That is not acceptable! If people are genuine interested to learn, so many people would be more than happy to educate them. Outside of the conference, as one's incompetence should NEVER oppress others.
All my 2 hours journey home I couldn't stop thinking about this. Why cis people so many times see non cis people as some kind of danger? Why they feel such an urgent need to attend events having a safe space policies and bring their harmful views to the day light? You, cisgender people, have a safe space 24 hours 7 days a week, all your lives! So bringing your oppressive behaviour to a safe space is beyond everything! I still feel so shocked by this...
This conference is one of so few places me and so many other people can openly talk about our gender identities, about challenges and discrimination we face every day. A place we could feel safe to open up without a fear of attacks from others...
If you see oppressive behaviour and language towards non cis people please challenge it, show your support even if it does not touch you. Maybe first time you'll be alone, maybe not. But someone needs to start. Someone needs to stop ignoring discrimination people face on their daily basis. That's the only way to stop it. We can't stay silence and just close our eyes.
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