A redditor asked about anti-harassment codes of conduct, prompted by Lindy Focus putting up their policy. It reminded me of a recent post on dogpossum that touched on the subject.
And it got me wondering – just how many swing dance events actually have codes of conduct that address things like discrimination and harassment?
Let me point out that while codes of conduct are great, they’re not sufficient on their own – they need to be part of a broader commitment to creating a safe space for dancers, organisers, volunteers and the community at large and part of a plan for dealing with actual cases of harassment, unacceptable behaviour and safety issues. Thus the events using them shouldn’t necessarily be seen as examples of best practice, but rather on the road there.
But even without that additional action, with all the information that’s out there online (and many codes of conduct are made available to use under creative commons licenses), there’s really no excuse for events not to put one up on their website. It’s an important statement that places everyone’s safety first and clearly communicates that harassment is not tolerated. More event organisers need to take a proactive stand against the sort of bullshit that occurred at the last CSC (and for which they were very publicly called out on) and continues to occur in our community.
There’s a tonne of resources out there, much of the stuff in the nerd/geek convention community is quite good such as this 101/FAQ and the stuff on Geek Feminism. Mobtown Ballroom in Baltimore has a great CoC (that addresses liquor consumption as well as harassment). There’s also the Safety Dance Facebook Group.
Events using Codes of Conduct
I have also found a number of fusion and blues events with CoC and other policies. I was also going to make a list of events that don’t yet have a code of conduct, but it turns out that would be everyone else including pretty much all the major lindy hop events worldwide.
As far as I can tell it’s just the two listed above (though a number of regular venues/dance schools also have policies). I think this needs to change – and will be writing to events I plan to attend encouraging them to develop a code of conduct as a first step towards broader policies and practices to ensure dance events are safe welcoming spaces for all. I ask you to join me.