After I posted drafts of the flyer, questions arose on the Otterdance chat about where, exactly, those flyers would be distributed. I said it would be at cafés and such in the neighbourhood — as well as at WORM itself, of course.
That led to a spirited debate about inclusion and exclusion, about how people come into the fandom, about the qualifications of being a “furry”. In the end what (I think) really came out: We don’t want people spilling beer on our suits. We don’t want to be grabbed. We don’t want people pointing and laughing. We want to be the furs we are among ourselves. At the same time we want to stay open to ourselves and future furs.
I firmly believe that a just society regulates behaviour, not individuals. That belief is a big part of why I’m a furry: We are not our incarnations. Someone who looks like they’ll be a problem usually isn’t; they just remind you of a past bully. Give each person a chance to be good.
On the other side of that coin, however, is enforcement. When someone has bad behaviour, how do you respond? Are you prepared to respond? Do you have the will to come down on them hard? Most people don’t.
Which brings us back to Otterdance. This is a new question for many of us, but it’s one that WORM has found ways to answer. They’ve hosted several clubs for targeted minorities, such as Klauw for queer blacks & people of color. (Next one on Valentine’s Day!)
- First, they staff their parties well and make staff visible.
- Second, they check in with people at the front door to make sure they know what they’re getting into. I don’t know whether these door people have the power to block entry; but they make clear what’s expected, which I imagine discourages bad behaviour.
What we’re doing
- At Rae’s suggestion, we’re re-tooling the vague “volunteer” position into roles in a “Safety Team”. We’re aiming for three Safety Team members on duty at all times — one at the door, one on the floor, one at the headless lounge. Please help!
- We’ve posted a list of Rules & Tips in all three languages. These will be strictly enforced by the Safety Team.
- There will be a highly visible “trefpunt” (meeting point) at the event where furs can gather for companions to walk to the tram, metro, or train station.
With three two-hour shifts, we need nine positions filled. If you can help (in exchange for free entry!), please apply.