SHARED SPACES AGREEMENT

Welcome to the Mindful Queer Collective’s Shared Spaces Agreement! We hope this helps you settle in, and we wish for you to use this in your other organizing, should you choose. At MQC, we recognize that our various privileges can get in the way of fostering open and engaging communities and events. With that in mind, we have some guidelines on how we hold community. This is how we commit to holding space for healing and growth.

Respect and Consent

 

  • Respect the autonomy, needs, identities, and experiences of others

 

  • Allow room for perspectives you do not or cannot share

 

  • Respect and support when somebody must disengage from a situation

 

  • Correct exclusionary language. When your words hurt someone, listen and try to understand why. Especially when surprised.

 

  • Honor boundaries; boundaries may change. Ask for consent every time before physical contact, emotional labor, and taking photos.

 

  • Practice enthusiastic consent (the absence of a “no” does not mean the presence of a “yes”)

 

  • Actively listen when someone is expressing a lived experience of oppression, marginalization, or hate.

 

  • Personal sharing should be met with validation and confidentiality.  

 

  • Respect when someone does not want to reveal information

 

  • Leave room open for people with more lived experience on a subject to respond to questions about it.

Accountability and Reconciliation

 

  • Members should be mindful, honest, and accountable for their actions

 

  • Ensure space that protects survivors (boundaries that respect trauma, situational limitations, and autonomy)

 

  • Provide a supportive space for reconciliation after conflict, but do not force it.

 

  • Be mindful of all sides and impacts of every situation.

 

  • Believe and confirm the experiences of others, affirming all established boundaries.

 

  • Conflict happens. Conflict resolution means (re)learning how to share space. This takes neutral ground, where people can learn from their mistakes. Try to bridge what can otherwise turn into unresolved divides in wider communities.​

Attitude of Self-Education

 

  • Be open to constructive criticism. Ask for guidance if you need help to understand, recognize, or address it. Community Nurturers are available for this purpose.

 

  • Take responsibility for getting education on identities and experiences you are unfamiliar with. You cannot expect someone to educate you about their life. You can research sources prepared by people who volunteered to do so.

 

  • If questioned about something you do not understand: Disengage or defer. Follow up: Seek out sources on a subject from those with personal experience.

 

  • Be mindful of when it is your turn to take space and when it is time to elevate others with more directly lived experience.

 

  • You are responsible for understanding your privileges. Challenge yourself to grow to be more empathetic and/or inclusive. Improve your activism by making space for those with less or different privileges.

  • Systems of oppression shape everyone’s perspective. When you are oppressive, own up to it so you can learn new habits​.

Accessibility

 

  • Create inclusive communities and dialogues.

 

  • Respond to issues as they arise. Plan ahead when possible. Be responsive and proactive.

 

  • Challenge assumptions, language, and thoughts that stereotype or erase other peoples. For example, not everyone can "stand up" so "stand up and fight" erases those who would fight but cannot stand to do so.

 

  • Remember that everyone is different. There is no standard.

 

  • Never make assumptions about the abilities of others.

 

  • Normalize accessibility at all times.

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  • Choose spaces, goals, and activities that everyone can take part in.

 

Sobriety

 

  • Partaking in substances is a personal choice. Making substance use a social activity can put pressure on that choice.

 

  • Remember that substances can be triggering or disruptive.

 

  • DO NOT interrupt anyone’s sobriety.

 

  • If you drink at a community event, you are responsible to secure safe transportation. Inform a Community Nurturer in the case of ANY safety risk.

 

  • DO NOT drink or use substances in donated spaces with rules against such.

 

  • If you are struggling with addiction and having a hard time sharing a sober space, please seek out a Community Nurturer. They would be happy to help figure out how to get you the support you need.

 

  • We support people using any medicine they already use to treat any ailments they have.

 

Call In Culture

 

  • Always “call out” injustice. Always “call in” how shared space could become more inviting, inspiring, and inclusive.

 

  • Promote an atmosphere of positive confrontation.

 

  • Challenge microaggressions. Microaggressions are ideas, language, and/or power dynamics that root in oppression. They are usually accepted as “normal” and overlooked.

 

  • Call out all exclusionary language, emotional manipulation, and controversial actions.

 

  • Be mindful that intent < impact. You are accountable for the impact of your actions, even impact that was not your intention.

 

  • Recognize and communicate how you engage effectively when in different forms of dialogue.

 

  • Express when you are unable to engage with criticism in a constructive way. Disengage and take the space to correct your actions in your own time.

We also encourage having Community Nurturers to assist in the following ways:

 

  • Check emotions in a room

 

  • Turn the bullet points into posters, pamphlets, and graphics or other media. Make them available in shared spaces.

 

  • Converse with all members to improve space

 

  • Be welcoming, nurturing, and responsive

 

  • Check in with anyone isolating or appearing troubled

 

  • Ensure members’ needs for space and disengagement are respected

 

  • During and/or after an event, provide conflict mediation or address concerns

 

  • Prep to do emotional labor during an event for any members in need. Meet up, in confidential check-ins with other CNs, to help each other process any triggers or difficulties this causes

 

  • Respond immediately when alerted to problematic behavior

 

We recommend choosing Community Nurturers (CNs), aka designated group space holders, when using this agreement. CNs will be unique to every community. Brainstorm ways to be inclusive in your space--these can be your CN responsibilities. 

This agreement is an active commitment for all participants. Naming CNs honors and empowers those folks who will focus on nurturing group space. It also allows others to step back and rely on excited volunteers to address group needs as they arise.

If you would like to read the context these bullet points emerged from, click here!

Mindful Queer Collective needs your love and assistance to continue functioning. We are a group of organizers and activists that aim to provide support and advice, necessary resources, and safe spaces for queer expression. We operate on donations, grants, and the fulfillment that comes from cultivating community. Please message us at mindfulqueercollective@gmail.com if you can spare any supplies, money, and/or time to help with programs!

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