THE ANU QUEER* DEPARTMENT SAFER SPACE GUIDELINES
The Australian National University Queer* Collective have assembled the following guidelines as a formal social contract that aims to uphold the freedoms of each individual within a group, at any given time, within the context of being present inside of a “Safer Space”.
A “Safer Space” is a space that has been declared free of anti-GLBTIQ violence and harassment, as well as other types of violence and harassment, including but not limited to sexual assault, non-consensual behaviour or attitudes, being intolerant of someone’s religious or political beliefs (or lack of), racism, sexism, gender discrimination, homophobia, queerphobia, whorephobia, ableism, heterosexism, cissexist, or any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression. It is declared as an open and accepting space, and therefore may facilitate feelings of safety for any student who enters it.
In order to elucidate certain terms, the below definitions are provided:
Heterosexism: Regards the oppression of queer identities (both sexual and gender). It also regards the structuring of sexual and gender identities, and understandings thereof, along heterosexual norms. Heterosexism can manifest in many ways, and a queer identity does not automatically negate these. (Examples: Biphobia, normative monogamy –i.e. discrimination against polyamorous persons, butch-bashing and femme-bashing are all functions of heterosexism).
Ableism: Regards the oppression of disabled identities and bodies. It also regards the structuring of disabled bodies and identities, and understandings thereof, along able-bodied norms. While the term able-bodied is generally used, disability concerns not only physical disability but also mental disability and illness.
Racism: Regards the oppression of culturally and/or linguistically diverse people and people of colour. In Australia, it also regards the structuring of CALD (cultural and language diverse) and POC (people of colour) identities, and understandings thereof, along white anglo-saxon/anglo-celtic norms.
Sexism: Regards the oppression of women and female-bodied people. It also regards the structuring of women’s identities, and understandings thereof, along masculinist norms.
Discrimination against men: There is some debate of whether this concept falls under sexism. Similar to sexism, this discrimination is perpetuated in regards to an individual’s gender: i.e. against a cis-gendered man because of his gender. It regards the structuring of a masculine identity, and of gender roles based on a patriarchal norm. Deliberate exclusion is conducted because of gender, not individual a merit.
Homophobia: Regards oppression to persons that are same-sex attracted.
Whorepobia: Regards oppression to sex work or people that society deems as “too” sexually active. Whore-shaming suggests that sex workers are all oppressed or damaged, that all sex workers are diseased etc, or that persons that are “too” sexually active have a problem.
Transphobia & Gender Discrimination: Regards the oppression of trans and genderqueer people. It also regards the structuring of trans and genderqueer identities, and understandings thereof, along cisgendered/cissexual norms.
Intersex Discrimination: Regards the oppression of intersexual persons. It also regards the structuring of intersex identities, and understandings thereof, along gender norms. Examples might include: assuming a person who is intersex would prefer a specified gender, what that gender might be, etc.
Cispeople: are persons that identify with the gender/sex they were and/or assigned at birth.
Cissexism: Sexism towards trans or genderqueer people; who do not conform to cis beauty standards (judging people by how trans they are).
Other Language: There are many other kinds of oppressive language which aren’t listed above. Many of these are peripherally related to the stuff listed above, but need to be enunciated separately. Examples: HIV+ stuff. Eg using clean /unclean to describe HIV statuses – which is oppressive to HIV+ persons; as it infers they are “unclean”.
The ANU Queer* Collective encourages our members to withhold judgement on others, and to be receptive to the ideas and expression of others. However, we also wish to impress that, if a member feels uncomfortable in a space, that they have the right to ask others to respect their right to safety and inclusiveness. We also wish to allow any person the opportunity to open a dialogue about their levels of comfortability and safety with others, even up to the extent of leaving an unsafe space if they feel the need to, without feeling judged, or unable to return at a later date.
The ANU Queer* Department also acknowledges that no space may be completely “safe”. However, in pursuit of the ideal of “Safer Spaces”, we will endeavour to uphold these guidelines as much as possible.
This document was compiled and/or written in part by Danielle Day, ANU Deputy Queer Officer 2011 and the ANU Queer* Department.