Community Agreement for Cybernetics of Sex: Technology, Feminisms, and the Choreography of Control
Taught by Melanie Hoff at NYU ITP Fall 2020
This community agreement applies to all participants, guests, and teacher of Cybernetics of Sex ITP Fall 2021.
- Prioritize the safety of BIPOC, queer, trans, disabled, femme, low-income, survivors, and all other marginalized people over the comfort of those in privileged positions.
- All forms of digital and physical harassment, including threats, offensive comments, and unwelcome sexual attention are unacceptable.
- Actively listen to and honor the lived experiences of others. Do not invalidate or deny the lived experiences of others, even if it looks different from your own lived experience.
- Do not add emotional labor on QTBIPOC who are oppressively gendered. It is not the responsibility of those at the intersection of oppressed identities to educate those with privilege on their experiences. It is important for those in positions of power to do the emotional labor of unlearning. When you need help, ask others in positions of power who are doing this emotional labor for themselves.
- During the work towards repair and accountability between community members, we will always prioritize the needs of the survivor.
- Always keep mutual respect in mind when sharing space with others, including virtual space.
- Ask people how they want to be addressed instead of assuming their pronouns based on their outward appearance.
- Example: “Hi, my name is __ and my pronouns are they/them.” “I’m sorry, I missed your introduction. What are your pronouns?” For more information on pronouns, check out published by GLSEN.
- Take up space mindfully, as there is a limited amount of space to speak in any given meeting, class or gathering. Be mindful of how much you and others are taking each week.
- Make space/take space. If you’re someone who tends to not speak a lot, consider moving into a role of speaking more. If you tend to speak a lot, consider moving into a role of listening more. Example: If you have something you really want to say and are conscious that you have spoken a lot, write it down and see if it’s worth coming back to later. (We learned this from Adrienne Maree Brown)
- Listen actively, and embrace awkward silences! An awkward silence is an opportunity for people who may take longer to respond to a prompt or who like to be sure they are not taking anyone else’s chance to speak.
- Cultivate a culture of consent.
- Be sure to ask for permission and preface your sharing with content warnings when talking about content that is potentially triggering for others. This includes past transgressions or problematic behaviors, as well as violence against marginalized people or communities.
- Always seek consent for physical contact.
- Example: “I like to hug my friends when we meet. Can I give you a hug?”
- Conversations involving intimate personal information will be kept to the group. Obtain permission to share things outside of the setting of learning.
- Ask for permission before using the work of others and credit work of others.
- Example: “Hey, I’m writing a blog post and want to share a picture of a project you did! Is it ok for me to post this pic? How do you want to be credited?”
- Be open to vulnerability, uncertainty, and experiencing discomfort. The stronger the culture of consent, the more possible this becomes.
- Cultivate a willingness to share risky thoughts; we are all learners here. When we give ourselves permission to be vulnerable, in turn we give to others.
- Example: “I made this project about how I feel lonely all the time.” “Thank you for sharing. Even if I don’t resonate with this feeling, I am grateful to you for showing up with your whole self.”
- Cultivate a willingness to make mistakes, to admit when we have, and to accept feedback from others. Interpret feedback for what it is: a gift and an investment in our education.
- Example: “When you interrupted me it felt like you did not care about listening to my ideas.” “Thank you for saying something, I do care about listening to your ideas and now I understand better how my actions were communicating otherwise.”
- Take accountability for your actions, centering.
- If someone tells you they were hurt by something you did, thank them for telling you and apologize. If you need to reflect on the difference between the impact of your action on them and your intent, do that later, by yourself, or with a friend.
- Example: “Earlier today you made a joke without considering how it would make me feel.” “Thank you for telling me. I’m sorry I didn’t consider your feelings before I said that. I need to think about this more, and be more thoughtful in the future.”
- Be mindful of giving more generous space and time to those who do not speak English as a first language.
- No recording of any kind without express permission.
- 2-step with anon objection place
- ans when asking, share context about where and why this documentation would be shared
- Conversations involving personal information will be kept to this class unless you obtain permission to share.
Points below adapted from http://cloud9.support/communityguidelines which was written specifically for a community that shared experiences online.
NO ANTI-BLACKNESS – Non-Black persons, hold yourself and your friends accountable. We are all here to learn and we are not above the work of anti-racism
CENTER BIPOC, queer, trans, disabled, sex workers, low-income, survivors, and all other marginalized people.
HONOR INDIVIDUAL & COMMUNITY AGENCY, intuition, and innate wisdom, and therefore honor people’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies.
TRANSPARENCY//DIGITAL SECURITY CONCERNS Please keep in mind that we are sometimes organizing on platforms that are not encrypted so the information shared in this online space is also available to administrators of the platforms themselves
BUILD ALTERNATIVE STRUCTURES for giving and receiving care
CONSENT IS INTENTIONAL. Consent must always be prioritized with whoever you interact with physically or digitally.
SPEAK from the “I”; speak from your own experiences.