Thoughts as Pride Month 2020 Comes to a Close

I’ve begun working on developing a couple of small habits this month, thanks largely to Andy Mallon’s helpful advocacy.

Becoming more consistent in sharing my pronouns

My pronouns are “she/her.”

I only became aware of why it’s helpful to share your pronouns in the last year. Before that, I hadn’t given much thought to it. Andy gives a great explanation of why this is helpful if this is something you are comfortable sharing – here is one quote:

For some folks, the obvious pronouns aren’t their preferred pronouns. You share your pronouns to help normalize it so that everyone feels more comfortable sharing pronouns.

Andy Mallon in Hi, I’m Andy. My pronouns are he/him.

A biography slide showing pronouns along with contact info

I’ve started to edit my various biographies online to include my preferred pronouns. I plan to request that conference organizers include an optional space for pronouns in their slide deck templates as well when I speak at events. This is also an easy thing to include in my Slack profiles and other interactive tools.

Championing anti-harassment policies/codes of conduct instead of being a jerk about them

My inner teenager isn’t so fond of things like dress codes – and for some years I thought of a code of conduct as being pretty similar to a dress code: unnecessary in the modern world. I was very wrong.

I now recognize that harassment and discrimination happens frequently, and that it can easily happen in any group. Harassment and discrimination often impact those who are marginalized in a group the most. However, even those who are well known in a group may have a hard time speaking up when they are victimized or when they see a peer being victimized. Anti-harassment policies help people understand that they can and should speak up, they explain who to approach about the situation, and they also give a framework for the event handlers to follow when working through the situation. I now see that this is very useful and needed.

I also now recognize that anti-harassment policies are important for expressing community values of inclusion. It’s a good thing to talk about what we find important as a group, and to express what works for a community, and what doesn’t work.

This is even good business sense.

“The smartest thing for people who are running conventions is to recognize that in both the short and long run, it’s going to be better for your convention if everybody knows they’re going to be treated with respect,” he said. “If you don’t do that, the younger people, the people who are vital to your field, are no longer going to feel like your convention or conference is a welcome place, and they will create spaces that are more welcome to them. You don’t want to be the ones who are left behind.”

John Scalzi quoted in Why Your Meeting Needs a Harassment Policy

My commitment now is to asking if an event has an anti-harassment policy before I commit to speaking at it, and to also check and make sure that the policy is inclusive of…

everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), technology choices.

Andy Mallon in What’s Important in a Code of Conduct?

If it isn’t possible for the event to commit to this inclusion, it may not be the best place for me to spend my time right then. If it is possible for the event to do this, then I should send them positive feedback and help them promote this as part of a healthy community.

These are small things, but I can do them – and the more of us who do them, the easier it gets.