Heartland Trans Wellness Group is dedicated to being a constructive and confidential space where community members are able to feel safer from harm and included as equals in our spaces. Through these policies, we encourage people to learn and embrace ideals of inclusion and supportive community building. All organizers are required to participate and promote these policies. In addition, we encourage community members attending our programs to participate in order to enhance accessibility and individual comfort. We believe in proactive, positive accountability practices and state that any person who is unable or unwilling to participate in promoting safer spaces may be subject to discipline or a discontinuance from participating in Heartland Trans Wellness Group related work and/or events. Policies that must be adhered to as a member of Heartland Trans Wellness Group or participants in related events or spaces are:
- a. All interactions, membership, discourse, and personal information (such as name, age, identity, or related demographic information, purpose of attendance, or shared experiences) that takes place or is learned while attending any function, meeting, or event run by Heartland Trans Wellness Group is to be kept strictly confidential. Exceptions to this allowed only with express permission of the relevant member(s).
- b. Photography, video, or any other visual or audio recording is not permitted without the permission of all people involved/depicted.
- a. All members are expected to respect each other’s space, person, and property, receive consent for physical contact, receive consent for the disclosure of personal information, and recognize the autonomous identity of all members
- b. All members are expected to understand and respect differences in views and experiences.
- a. All members of Heartland Trans Wellness Group are of equal importance and it is to be understood that acting oppressively or authoritatively toward others is not permitted.
- b. All members have the right to have an equal voice and the right to equal expression in gatherings. No member should dominate a meeting without the consent from other members in the group.
- c. All members are expected to acknowledge, understand, and/or be open to learning about systems of oppression that impact our communities including but not limited to racism, sexism, classism, ableism, cissexism, heterosexism, sizeism, ageism, religious oppression, and ethnocentrism.
- a. All members are expected to consider pronouns and personal language when interacting with other members. When a person is unaware of another’s pronoun or identity label, using non-identifiers such as the gender neutral pronoun “they” (versus he/she) or “person” (versus man/woman) is suggested.
- b. All members are expected to use the language chosen by a person in reference to their name, identity, pronoun, etc as well as being expected to respectfully educate others in the group about their needs.
- c. All members are expected to use / be willing to learn to use language and terms that promotes respect and appropriately relates to populations defined. In the case of members being unfamiliar with such language, it will be expected for members to take interest in learning and adopting appropriate language.
- d. All members are expected to promote and support considerate, inclusive language and remain conscious of language’s possible effects on others in reference to systems of power and privilege, accessibility, and cultural competency.
- e. All members are expected to refine use of language when it has been brought to an individual or the group as offensive or oppressive.
- a. All members are expected to communicate reasonably and courteously, communicate directly when issues arise, and practice active listening when hearing concerns brought to one’s person or the group.
- a. All organizers and members are expected to maintain openness and availability on basis of physical and mental ability, socio-economic class, educational levels, regional origin, and identity variance;
- b. All organizers and members are expected to be conscious of privilege in respect to ability, economic (class), race, culture, age, education, identity, size, or regional origins in systematic practices and programming.
- c. All organizers and members are expected to proactively educate about accessible space creation.
- d. Substances and Alcohol: Heartland Trans Wellness Group is required to host the majority (75% or more) of its programs in sober / substance-free spaces.
- e. Age Accessibility: Heartland Trans Wellness Group is required to host the majority (75% or more) of its programs in spaces that are accessible and inclusive of all ages.
- f. All Heartland Trans Wellness Group programs strive to be held in locations/spaces that are compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
7. Personal Physical and Emotional Safety
- a. Heartland Trans Wellness Group is required to create and promote physically and emotionally safer spaces to the best of its ability in all of its programming and spaces.
- b. Any member or attendee of Heartland Trans Wellness Group programming who causes, participates in, or condones physical and/or emotional violence will be removed and barred from future spaces and, when applicable, have legal charges brought upon them.
- c. Reasonable caution or a “trigger warning” must be given when describing or portraying content containing physical or emotional violence, sexual assault and/or abuse, self-harm and suicide, and/or graphic sexual content.
- d. Nudity and Sexual Content: Heartland Trans Wellness Group is a sex positive organization and recognizes that depictions of nudity can and are used as positive means of self-expression. When nude content includes a sexualized intent, sexual activity, or overtly sexual messaging, reasonable caution/trigger warnings need to be applied.
- e. The use of substances (including alcohol) illegally is not permitted within Heartland Trans Wellness Group spaces or during Heartland Trans Wellness Group events. This includes substance use by underage persons, the given space does not permit use, or if a person is legally or medically forbidden to use substances. Heartland Trans Wellness Group discourages the promotion or glorification of substances, as such actions may be triggering for those who are sober/substance free or encourage usage among other members, especially youth.
- f. In the case of any emergency, organizers or members are charged to call 911 for professional assistance.
© Heartland Trans Wellness Group, 2013. Written by JAC Stringer, MSW