I’ve been working with The Icarus Project for five months now, and there is so much potential in how we do things and what we envision.
It’s in our format, having three-to-five minute uninterrupted check-ins for everyone before a break and then open floor; it’s in our mission, our commitment to social justice and change and resisting power/privilege.
I want more.
I want more explicit, not just “we commit to being conscious of privilege/power” but laying out and bringing to the surface just what several of those are.
And eventually I want it connected to a web of self-education resources, online and in print.
Below is some language I’ve been drafting, trying to get at the on-paper most inclusive and aware group definition possible (leaving aside execution, call-ins, accountability, asking people to leave, etc, for the moment). A mission statement, an agreement that these things are important. Bullet points because brain.
First, however, a note:
I worry, that this is an abortive attempt to find a group of people who think exactly like me. That it will be limited to my faults and failings and rigidities. I have never felt at home in a group I was not Organizing, and perhaps that is extra worrisome.
I especially worry about being white and not experiencing transmisogyny, and trying to handle fuckups well, and managing to talk about my experiences of gender-based harm without perpetuating harm. This is so hard and important.
I have tried to let go of the endless resulting worries, and believe that this is still doing good for someone. Even if the only someone is me, maybe this can still be worthwhile. Even if no one else is at home here or inspired to make their own home or takes away anything positive at all…and surely that cannot be 100% likely… Maybe, this is still worth trying.
This group aims to be as inclusive, safe, and conscious as possible. Here we name many identities and experiences we wish to provide room for, and many oppressive systems we wish to avoid perpetuating and indeed counter.
We expect to mess up and be imperfect, and we also expect to do our utmost best to fix harm done and rebuild the safety of the space, to learn from our mistakes, to never make anyone into an Educator but to appreciate all education given.
We say “safer” and “as safe as possible” because we believe the phrase “safe space” can never be wholly true and is not committed enough to the constant improvement always necessary for these spaces.
Here are some (never all) of the identities and experiences we strive to keep in mind and provide sustenance for:
- LGBT+ or LGBTQIA+ or QUILTBAG+ or MOGAI or GSRM or any other such acronym/name:
- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex
- ace/asexual-spectrum and/or aro/aromantic-spectrum (demi, grey-a, grey, semi, hypo, lith/akoi, quoi, wtf…)
- pansexual, polysexual, multisexual, non-monosexual
- non-binary, genderqueer, agender, neutrois, genderfluid, genderflux, maverique, alia gender, apora gender, ilya gender, demigender, magigender
- anyone vari-oriented/mixed orientation
- and PoC/indigenous-specific genders/experiences like third gender, two-spirit
- essentially, anyone who is not all at once cisgender & heteroromantic & heterosexual & non-intersex
- and especially trans women of color
- people of color/PoC, non-white people:
- folks who are Muslim, Jewish, Rromani, mixed, indigenous
- folks who are Latinx/ Chicanx/ Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander, South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, Black, First Nations
- folks for whom English is not a first/native language
- anyone marginalized along race/ ethnicity/ nationality/ language, as well as along immigration status/ citizenship status
- especially Black people given anti-blackness/ colorism
- folks who use non-standard names/pronouns, who use no name or pronouns, who have multiple names, who use different forms of address in different places or other non-standard forms of address
- people of all religious/spiritual non-/beliefs, especially those marginalized for them, especially Islam and Judaism
- autistic people and folks with developmental/ learning/ intellectual/ cognitive disabilities, as well as people with brain damage, or aphasias, or other atypical brain wiring
- sex-averse, sex-repulsed, sex-conflicted, sex-indifferent, arcsexual, arcflux; at the same time, providing (perhaps separate) space for kinky folks
- survivors, victims, veterans of abuse/trauma
- folks with chronic pain disorders or other chronic disabilities, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, mito, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and undiagnosable stuff
- polyamorous types, such as polyfidelity, open relationships, non-monogamy, relationship anarchy
- folks who are femme, butch, gender non-conforming, marginalized for gender presentation/expression
- nonhuman, otherkin, otherhearted, therian
- folks with physical disabilities including but not limited to mobility disabilities, vision disabilities or Blind identity, hearing disabilities or Hard-of-Hearing/HoH/deaf/Deaf identity
- multiple systems, medians, fictives, factives, non-singlets; traumagenic or endogenic or otherwise, DID or no; using whatever preferred language (headmate, alter, …)
- folks who are part of a multiple birth (eg twins, triplets, etc)
- neurodivergences and identities as disabled or mentally ill or as having experience navigating the mental health/disability system (especially institutionalization); including any and all ‘categories’ such as psychotic, personality, dissociative, mood, depressive, anxiety, and any other ‘disorders’
- folks who are touch-averse, have a high startle reflex, only want mono-directional touch, identify as stone or paper or paper mache
- folks who are poor, who are homeless, who are single parents, who are limited in reproductive rights or access to services, who live in food deserts
- folks who are visibly different, folks with vitiligo or albinism, little people, folks who are fat or large or plus-size
- folks with sexual disorders, sexual pain, dyspareunia, vaginismus, FSD
- and always open to learning and protecting other marginalized identities.
And here are some (never all) structures of oppression/marginalization we wish to challenge and be on guard against:
- anti-blackness, colorism / shadeism, racism, islamophobia, anti-rromaniism, anti-semitism, white supremacy, white privilege
- heterosexism, homophobia, monosexism, biphobia, allosexism, acephobia, amatonormativity, arophobia, heterocentrism, heteronormativity
- transmisogyny, cissexism, transphobia, nbphobia, ciscentrism
- colonialism, imperialism, binarism
- ableism, saneism, mentalism, allism, audism
- rape culture, compulsory sexuality
- sizeism, lookism, ageism