laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] laurashapiro
Note: This post is addressed to friends of mine in the vidding community who have expressed anger and frustration that the current discussions around Vividcon's policies, accessibility, and trigger warnings are taking place.

Vidding is my fandom. For me, Vividcon is its nexus, the highlight of my year, my favorite place to be, where almost all of my very best friends are. It's where I see great vids and have great conversations, where I dance my ass off and have my mind blown. All of it is made possible by a fastidiously-organized concom and the vidders and vid fans who volunteer and participate. I love it.

Vidding is my fandom. Vividcon is my con. I am part of it. I feel responsible for it. That's why I'm making this statement.

The VVC concom asked people to offer concerns and suggestions about their Background and Policies document. The fact that many people have done so does not mean they are "bashing the con", just as giving critique in vid review does not make a person "mean". I have complete confidence that when the concom says "VividCon welcomes comments and feedback on the VividCon Background and Policies statement. We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to make a comment or write to us about their concerns" they mean exactly that. I respect the people on that concom, some of my best friends in fandom, and I know that they are sincere in wanting to hear criticism so they can learn and improve -- the same way many vidders who come to the con sincerely want criticism on our vids so we can learn and improve.

This is not about being "politically correct", a phrase that I have a lot of problems with. This is about trying to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone.

Regarding the trigger warnings debate specifically, I'm going to quote [personal profile] thuviaptarth here because she says just what I would have:
Last year's discussions about warnings in fanfiction changed my mind about warnings. I am firmly opposed to censorship. I don't have triggers myself. Generally I prefer to avoid vid warnings. I am almost certain that my position on my premiering vid will be "Choose not to warn." And I am in favor of implementing warnings for common PTSD and physical triggers, preferably as a separate list rather than included on the vid or in the vidshow itself.

...

The thing is, I am opposed to requiring warnings for "offensive content." That's something I consider a free expression issue. I am in favor of warnings for "triggers," which is more of a disability and accessibility issue. I don't feel that my artistic freedom of expression is best served by my incapicitating people with flashbacks or inducing a migraine.


Her entire post is worth reading.

A person who requests trigger warnings is not a crybaby. They are a survivor of trauma or a person with disabilities trying to protect themselves from serious harm. They are not asking other people to take responsibility for them. They are taking responsibility for themselves.

To return to the subject of the con itself: in order for to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone, some things will have to change. Change is upsetting, and it takes work. It's particularly hard for people who have loved VVC for years just the way it is. We feel protective of VVC and of the people who make it happen.

But I want to work for the change, because I believe that my pleasure is not worth more than other people's pain, and because as much as I love Vividcon, I believe that it's possible for it to be better. I want to be sure that everyone who is interested in coming to Vividcon can come, can feel welcome and safe there the way I do, can return home with the same cherished memories of fannish delight and deep thinkiness and social hilarity that I do. I want everyone to love it the way I do.

I want everyone to say, the way I do, "Is it August yet?"

ETA July 1, 2010 4:35 pm: I am reading every comment but I may not be able to reply to them all. At this time I am also not moderating comments, but will do so should it become necessary. I am working full-time, busy tonight, and going away for the weekend, where Internet access will be limited. But I am taking it all in. Please do continue to discuss among yourselves.

on 2010-07-01 06:49 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe
the needs of one individual shouldn't have more importance than the needs of many.

And: We can't make any space acessible and perfect for all.

And It's impossible to make everyone feel as welcomed as the next person. That's just how life works.

You're talking about me, the indvidual chopstick.

on 2010-07-01 06:59 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
I'm an individual chopstick too. Way to judge without knowing about me.

And I stand by the line we quoted. I don't know what kind of utopia you've been living in, please do get me plane tickets there, because in the real world, not everything can be perfect all the time and not everyone can be as welcomed as the next, it's the sad, unfortunate, harsh truth and we can only try to make people as comfortable as possible.

on 2010-07-01 07:05 pm (UTC)
klia: (flowers)
Posted by [personal profile] klia
Thank you. And ditto.

on 2010-07-05 06:01 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
I don't know what kind of utopia you've been living in,

Shame on you.

on 2010-07-05 07:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Are you kidding me? In what world is everything perfect for everyone? Please do tell me, because perfect accessibility everywhere has not been my personal experience.

I wish the world was that way, it saddens me that it's not, but people saying that everything can be perfectly accessible for everyone is unrealistic. The best we can do is make it as good as possible.

on 2010-07-05 08:26 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
I assume you meant to post this in answer to milly's comment, not mine.

on 2010-07-05 08:30 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
No, I mean it as a reply to you. World =/= perfect. Claiming otherwise is sad, wrong and an obstacle to any useful conversation and providing for the people who need it.

on 2010-07-05 08:32 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
Which is exactly why her comment about the utopia someone else must be living in-- is dismissive and shameful.

Nobody knows that better than another disabled person, for crissake.

(no subject)

Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut - on 2010-07-05 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand

on 2010-07-05 07:38 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Please don't chastise her like she's a child. That is really unhelpful and condescending.

on 2010-07-05 08:25 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
Anyone that makes a comment as dismissive and disrespectful as the one I quoted-- should be ashamed.

on 2010-07-05 09:12 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
I don't always see how to separate a comment from the person that made it, frankly. But I will try harder.

on 2010-07-05 09:10 pm (UTC)
dharma_slut: They call me Mister CottonTail (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dharma_slut
yes, I apologise.

on 2010-07-01 07:00 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
And by chopsticks, I didn't mean that people with disability were chopsticks and the bigger chunk of wood were people without disabilities. I meant that individual= chopstick, group= big chunk. Which is obvious if you read the entire paragraph.

on 2010-07-01 09:56 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
Wow. I don't read that as being unwelcome at all. I have a reasonable expectation that I will not always have my disability completely catered to. It's life. It sucks. But that doesn't mean I'm unwelcome, it means that there are limitations on everything. VVC is a small con with only so much time, space, ability and money. While some of the policy might have been worded badly, I don't think you could find many people with disabilities that haven't had a completely welcoming attitude from the concomm when addressing their concerns.

on 2010-07-01 10:24 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
Thank you for being the voice of reason <3

on 2010-07-01 10:53 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
*tips hat* *G*

on 2010-07-01 10:36 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe
I have read varying reports from people with disabilities who attended. Some found that their needs were met, others said they were not, some alternate opinions were said publicly, others (I think) were under f-lock.

I was reading it as someone who would like to go--and...that's kind of how I judge how I can go someplace, you know? That was the idea behind having the policies.

And, uh, I don't expect to be catered to, but I do expect the same basic accommodations/allowed difference that I expect from any business as per ADA. As the policies were written, the con would have been impossible for me to attend. Nothing that I would need would have excessively drained the resources of the con. I keep seeing 'but they're small'. Yeah, well, if I have to go to the room in a wheelchair with help to get settled in, and then I have to pee--I will need that same someone (who had been banned per the policy) from coming and helping me out again. Or have room for a chair if I needed it and so on. So no. I don't think I was particularly asking to be catered to, and yes, I find the attitude that the resources couldn't possibly stretch that far to be...unwelcoming to say the least. When Walmart is more welcoming, there's a problem. YMMV and all that.

on 2010-07-01 10:46 pm (UTC)
milly: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] milly
I think you could have a very informative, discussion with Morgan Dawn on that subject. I don't mean this as in 'you're wrong because', I truly mean that she might be able to tell you about her own experience - she also uses a wheelchair and has been attending the con for many years, so she might be able to answer your questions about accessibility. Abby also attended the con until she sadly passed away, so I think it's definitely possible for people with mobility disabilities to attend VVC right now, and will be even more possible if there is more focus on specific demands to help the people who want to attend/are attending rather than talking about hypothetical situations, which I feel dismisses the actual, on site, issues. You'll find that people at the con, even outside the concom, are more than willing to help make people comfortable, but there is so much discussion about policy that this aspect of the con gets swept under the carpet.

on 2010-07-01 10:59 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
Yeah, this is what I've been trying to articulate, both conversations on policy (last year's and this year's) felt like a lot of 'what about me?' which is a completely fair thing to have on the forefront of your mind and useful in policy discussions, but only to a point. At some point, you have to let it go until you're registering (in VVC's case, reserving your spot and taking your 3 weeks to decide) so you can have that specific conversation with the con itself about what they might need to change to help accommodate you.

on 2010-07-01 10:50 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
My apologies, catered was an inflammatory word and I hit send without reading through carefully. The thing I find interesting is that I *know* someone who was completely wheelchair bound attended the con every year until she died so accommodations were made, I just wonder if there's a serious lack of communication going on, as well possibly a regional difference as to how someone would approach this. Because I (and others) read completely different things coming out of even most problematic language and no matter what, I'd still have contacted the concomm with my exact issues and asked about what could and could not be done and had been done in the past. I'm not saying you wouldn't take this level of personal effort into your approach, I just feel like there's a communication gap happening somewhere and a lot of rage is spilling over because of it.

I also feel that no one wants to say, it's just not possible for everyone to attend and I still assert that doesn't' make it an unwelcoming con or concomm, that just makes life unfair and that sometimes you can't always get what you want.

on 2010-07-01 10:53 pm (UTC)
jonquil: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jonquil
" I'd still have contacted the concomm with my exact issues "

The concomm asked people to say "Here is our policy, what do you think of it." People responded. In particular, Vom answered the question by calling out her own particular issues that made the policy unwelcoming.

Vom made the "level of personal effort" you are demanding.

on 2010-07-01 10:55 pm (UTC)
amireal: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] amireal
There's a difference between 'here is our policy please comment' and people talking about their hypothetical personal and specific issues in that setting and say, contacting the concomm as an attending or possibly attending congoer and giving the specifics and having a discussion about what can and cannot be done.

It's all well and good to have policy but it's impossible for that policy to be informed by every single person's individual needs. A policy is a general guideline to be followed and amended as needed, not the place to address specific needs.
Edited on 2010-07-01 10:57 pm (UTC)

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Posted by [personal profile] milly - on 2010-07-01 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Posted by [personal profile] vom_marlowe - on 2010-07-01 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Posted by [personal profile] amireal - on 2010-07-01 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand

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laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
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