Conference Norms

In order to create a safe and supportive community, we are guided in our interactions with each other by the following “norms”:

  1. MAINTAIN CONFIDENTIALITY: We respect the confidentiality of each member. We encourage everyone to take away what they’ve learned, however, we do not repeat names or identifying information. “Take the plot and leave the characters.”
  1. TRY ON: Before responding or countering someone else’s idea or point of view, we “try it on.” We see how it fits before reacting. Respond instead of react.
  1. IT’S OKAY TO DISAGREE: It’s not okay to attack or blame our self or others. Disagreements should not be personal. We focus on the topic of disagreement, not the person we disagree with or ourselves for being disagreed with.
  1. PRACTICE SELF-FOCUS/CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE: We use “I” statements. We can only speak for ourselves, not all trans folks/women/people of color, etc. We practice being aware of our intentions, our biases, our privileges and our prejudices.
  1. BOTH/AND THINKING: Most things are not mutually exclusive, black/white, and either/or. We practice allowing two seemingly conflicting ideas exist together at the same time. When appropriate we try to use “and” in place of “but.”
  1. INTENT VS. IMPACT: Sometimes the things we say to others have an impact on them that we do/did not intend and cannot control. We try to be aware of our intentions, and the impact our words have on others. When we are confronted with the impact of our words on others, we accept their feelings as valid. We take responsibility for the effect of our words (whether or not that effect was intended).
  1. NO VIOLENCE: Violence, whether physical or verbal will not be tolerated. If someone acts in a violent fashion, they will be asked to leave.
  1. SHARING NOT ADVISING: We are here to share and explore our own feelings and experiences; we try not to give advice.
  1. STEP UP, STEP BACK: We all benefit from each other’s experiences. We want to encourage you to actively participate. Take this opportunity to share but also to listen to the diversity of experience around you.
  1. SUPPORTIVE ATTENTION: We give supportive attention to the person who is speaking and avoid side conversations.
    1. CELL PHONES: Phones should be kept on silent or turned off. Texting and playing on your phone is not allowed as it may appear to others as a breach of privacy. Please step outside to take a call or return a text.
  1. QUESTIONS: Everyone has the right to ask a question and right to refuse to answer.
  1. EMBRACE DIVERSITY: Be excited about commonality and difference. The participants of this conference (yourself included) represent a fabulous spectrum of identities, experiences, backgrounds, values and outlooks. How can we work together to build strong communities?
  1. BRAVE SPACE: Workshops may be emotionally challenging. We want people to feel safe but we recognize that difficult questions are essential to growth. Whether listening or speaking, we do so with honesty and courage.