Consent

Consent is a concept that we value very highly at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. There have been a bunch of things that have happened lately that are pretty disturbing, and that one of the things that came out of the consent workshop we recently hosted was that we need to have better norms as a community rather than just different individual actions. TO that end we’re going to try to come up with a set of standards for behavior that addresses issues of consent in an activist context. We would love to hear from other activist/radical/feminist/anarchist spaces about what community norms you have in place, and any advice or tips you might have to offer.

For folks unfamiliar with this concept, here is a definition. It is a difficult concept to concisely define, so please take the time to check out the links below and read some of the articles/zines. We also have copies of some excellent zines, such as Learning Good Consent that you could read in the space.

Consent is informed, consent is never assumed, consent is not the same for everyone, consent is verbal, consent is an ongoing process, consent is knowing and respecting personal and sexual boundaries of others, the only way to be certain that their is consent is through explicit verbal communication.

Consent is frequently placed in the sexual realm, which is really important. However, consent is a concept that we can and should incorporate into more realms of our interactions than just romantic or sexual ones.

Once we start having more organizing meetings in January (Monday the 28th), we hope to expand our activism around consent and alter/expand this list and definitions to be inclusive of the folks who organize as the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. Thanks to Crystal for recently facilitating a Consent Workshop at the Wingnut and getting us revamped on this conversation and critical piece of culture!

But in the mean time, here is our list of consent norms for the Wingnut that includes but is not limited to:

  • Please ask before you touch people- including handshakes/back pats/ hugs/ etc. If you are hugging/patting/etc. be aware that not everyone will necessarily be as enthusiastic about closeness or length of such things as you might be.
  • Respect the bodily autonomy of others. Essentially respect people’s personal space, try not to invade their bubbles with out their permission.
  • Respect pronouns – do not assume by how someone looks, dresses, does their hair, or acts that they prefer one gender pronoun over another. There are many genderqueer, trans, non gender binary folks who live at the Wingnut, come to events, and that you will meet throughout your life. Instead of assuming or guessing a pronoun, we ask that you ask. It can also work to tell folks with introductions, and we would like to make a culture where this happens. Ex: “Hello My name is Bob, and my preferred pronoun is they, what is yours?” or “Hi nice to meet you Sue, what is your preffered pronoun”. There are many different pronouns folks might prefer- including but not limited to: she, he, her, him, they, them, ze, hir, etc. Correct others who mis-pronoun people and Don’t act like someone’s identity is work for you.
  • Be mindful of the space you are taking up in a room – Don’t corner people – Don’t fill up doorways/block people in
  • If someone says they don’t want you to do something, you should stop, not argue about it. The default is not that you can do/say whatever you want. And if someone is uncomfortable, that is frequently not the best time to push an issue.

More Resources:

If you are new to the idea of consent, unfamiliar, confused, etc. it is your responsibility to read up on it, learn about it, and learn how to practice it. But we don’t mind helping to some extend. Here is a list of resources you can check out. If you have questions or concerns, or more resources that we should be offering, or interest in hosting an event or workshop about consent and related issues, please email us at wingnut_collective [at] yahoo.com

http://anarchalibrary.blogspot.com/2010/11/consent-zine.html

http://radsexconsent.com/zines/

http://beyondbrynmawr.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/the-importance-of-preferred-pronouns/

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Trigger_warning

http://fuckyeahtriggerwarnings.tumblr.com/

http://www.phillyspissed.net/

 

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