The UVic Pride Collective strives to make the Pride Centre a safer space. A safer space means not only should everyone in the Centre be free from experiencing homophobia and transphobia, we should be free from experiencing all forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, xenophobia, slut-shaming or anything else that can harm us and limit our growth and well being as individuals. The right to feel safe and free from oppressive behaviours or actions is the most important function of the physical Collective space. The Centre is an intentional space where everyone is responsible for maintaining a safer space. This includes being aware and respectful of everyone’s comfort levels.
The Collective space is inclusive of all people. However, this does not mean the space is inclusive of oppressive behaviours, actions or words. Everyone has a right to feel safe and be free from oppressive behaviour in Pride Collective Spaces. This is not superseded by someone’s desire to express an oppressive or otherwise hurtful opinion or behave in a way that causes harm. If someone says or does something that is hurtful or oppressive, you have every right to ask that person to stop if you feel comfortable. Conversely, if someone asks you to stop a behaviour they find hurtful or oppressive, they must be respected in that request. You may not have known your behaviour was hurtful, or something may have just slipped out. However it is important to not get defensive, as that might just further the hurt. Instead apologize and try to avoid the harmful behaviour in the future. We all make mistakes and that’s okay; what’s important is what we do after we make a mistake.
Sometimes, you may not feel comfortable speaking up if something is upsetting. That is why we have a Safer Spaces Coordinator. You can contact the Safer Spaces Coordinator or any Collective Coordinator if something has made the space unsafe for you.
If you have a safer space concern you would like to submit, there is an online form available here. It can be completely anonymous. You can also speak to any Collective Coordinator or the Safer Spaces Coordinator about any concerns or problems you may have. You can also email the Collective Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Safer Spaces Coordinator at email@example.com.