CODE OF CONDUCT
We are grateful to our consultant Adeola for working on this code of conduct with us, and offer it free to any bi+ community groups, events or organisations with similar ethos to us for use. If you would like Adeola to work with you on your own version you can contact her here on email@example.com. Particular attention has been paid to the consent and anti-racism sections using the anti-racism fund that we raised in 2020.
We've updated the Code of Conduct for our 2021 Virtual BiCon.
The new Code of Conduct is below. It sets out how we are expected to behave and how we should all treat each other. By attending the event, and by using the booking codes you are sent, you agree to behave according to the Code of Conduct.
If you need to listen to a recording of this code of conduct – this is the subtitled Youtube Link HERE
Code of Conduct 2021
Since this year’s BiCon is online again it might seem that a lot of the usual Code of Conduct doesn’t make sense all the time. I mean you can’t hug someone without permission through a screen, right? But when we’re at home we’re also maybe less likely to think carefully about how our behaviour affects others, so we've adapted the Code of Conduct here, specifically for the 2021 Virtual BiCon.
Virtual BiCon Code of Conduct
People come to BiCon with different experiences and their own ideas of how to behave and how they expect others to behave. This Code of Conduct outlines what everyone, including the organising team, workshop facilitators and volunteers, can expect from others and what is expected from all of us during BiCon.
The majority of BiCon attendees every year enjoy themselves without any problems, and the BiCon Code of Conduct plays an important part in that. As a community we need to keep this Code of Conduct in mind and hold each other up to it so we can all have a great experience and most importantly so we can do better by people who we have let down in the past.
The organisers are volunteers. When they are not running BiCon they are just like you, part of the BiCon community. The organisers will try to deal fairly and respectfully with any issue brought to them. They may also make reasonable requests that are not specifically included here.
Admission to BiCon
Everyone attending any part of BiCon on any of the platforms must be booked using the booking platform Outsavvy – https://www.outsavvy.com/event/6066/virtual-bicon-2021
Room codes will be only be sent to people who have booked and we ask that these codes are not shared with other people. This is firstly so we can count numbers of attendees, and secondly so we have a record of each attendees email address for accountability if we need to follow up with people about a conduct issue. So, even if you will be sharing your screen with someone sitting next to you, we ask that you both book separately (unless they are your carer or interpreter – who doesn't need to book and of course has free entrance to the event).
Health and Safety
People are responsible for themselves, their actions, and their own health at all times during BiCon.
You do not have to stay in any session if you don't want to. You can leave at any time, please do so quietly to try and avoid disrupting the session for others. Please do not announce you are leaving as it can disrupt the flow of the person running the session.
If you leave a session due to concerns about the sessions content, please get in touch with the organisers on firstname.lastname@example.org – we actively want to hear any concerns.
Consent & Anti-harassment – No Means No and Enthusiastic Consent
No one at BiCon should be put under any pressure to join in with things they do not want to do. This includes:
- Any sexual behaviour, including chat or sharing images online (further examples below),
- Taking part in any activity
- Disclosing information
- Discussing topics which are sensitive or personal
- Or even having a chat
It is fine to ask someone once if they would like to do something, for example, asking "Can we chat privately?". If they refuse, continuing to ask will be viewed as harassment. If someone asks you to leave them alone, do so. If someone is not enthusiastically saying yes, then they are not giving consent and they should be left alone. If you are uncomfortable asking someone to leave you alone you can ask the BiCon team to do so for you by emailing email@example.com
It is particularly important to be aware of your behaviour around any sexual or suggestive comments that could feel harassing to others. Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to:
- Suggestive or overly personal comments about an individual’s body or physical appearance.
- Sexually suggestive comments, jokes, or gestures towards an individual or group.
- Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature; for example, purposively touching, caressing, hugging, kissing, etc.
- Indecent exposure.
- Sharing unwanted images, videos, emails (including those of a sexual nature).
- Persistent unwelcome questions about someone’s marital or relationship status, sexual preferences, sexual conduct, or any other personal information.
- Making someone feel guilty for not doing something (for example, calling someone frigid or accusing someone of leading you on or accusing someone of being too friendly to justify your misconduct). This is gaslighting.
Often, sexual predators will test a group or person's boundaries by making sexually explicit 'jokes' to see how far they can get and how likely they will be able to pressure people into uncomfortable situations. If challenged these people will make out that it was all a joke or a misunderstanding. For this reason, BiCon will listen to its attendees and not allow any 'joking' behavior.
The above examples highlight how it can be very difficult and uncomfortable for someone to explicitly say “no”. This is particularly true for people socialised as women, who have been taught to always be accommodating and polite, or who have had traumatic experiences in the past where saying no too directly has led to abuse.
It is important to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal signs of ‘saying no’ (i.e., not giving enthusiastic consent).
Verbal examples include: “No”, “Stop”, “Don’t do that”, “Leave me alone". Verbal cues that someone is not giving enthusiastic consent could be "Maybe later", "Perhaps another time", "Oh look at the time" or by changing the subject.
Non-verbal examples include–
- Staying silent or not replying (in person or virtually).
- Leaving the space (in person or virtually).
- Moving away from an individual
- Asking a friend over to join.
- Taking a phone call (or pretending to take a phone call).
- Freezing, sweating, or appearing anxious or scared.
- Laughing or smiling nervously
In public, which includes our private Zoom rooms, Discord or anything else, "no", "stop", "don't do that" or similar words and phrases will be taken at face value by the BiCon organisers and volunteers, regardless of context.
BiCon should be a place where people feel free to express their sexuality, but it is not a sex or fetish party. With the exception of people who are breastfeeding, everyone needs to have their bums, nipples and genitals covered at all times.
For in person Bicon please be aware when walking around an area – not to touch anyone without asking, even to move them out of the way. Do not touch their disability aids either – wheelchairs, sticks etc.
For online BiCon, this applies even if you do not have video on. We also ask you not to *say* you don’t have clothes on (even if it’s not true or a ‘joke’). You do not know how others might perceive that.
Remember that you are responsible for what can be seen and heard in your background. Please turn off your video or mute yourself if something inappropriate is happening in the background (like someone walking around with no clothes on or a heated argument).
Please be aware that unless in a specific session, BiCon is an adult event and there may be mention of sex, swear words, or talk about upsetting experiences in BiCon spaces. If you don’t want someone in the room to hear these things (such as a child or someone you’re not out to), it’s your responsibility to do what you need to do to prevent this, such as by wearing headphones.
BiCon is committed to being a safe space and shouting or swearing at people is not allowed for any reason.
BiCon is not an alcohol free event, but we do respect peoples need for in person alcohol free areas or social sessions. As such –
- No alcohol is allowed in the learning / workshop sessions. No one who is visibly drunk will be allowed entry.
- At in person BiCon there will usually be a social area that is alcohol free at all times.
- For virtual BiCon, we will have some alcohol free social sessions. However, in all social sessions we require alcohol to be poured into a mug or other opaque vessel before being consumed and for people to avoid directly talking about alcohol (or indirectly, like saying how drunk they may be), so that everyone can enjoy the social.
Smoking and Vaping
BiCon is not a smoking or vaping free event, but we do respect people's need for in person smoking free areas or social sessions. As such;
- No smoking or vaping is allowed in the learning / workshop sessions. For virtual BiCon, please do not smoke or vaping in any session, even socials, even if your camera is switched off.
- At in person BiCon there will be a smoking area outside for smoking and vaping and we will ensure this is a physically accessible area.
BiCon is a drug free event (prescription medication is obviously OK). Please do not bring drugs to BiCon, people visibly under the influence of drugs will not be permitted entry. For virtual BiCon, please do not smoke or take drugs in any session including socials, even if your camera is switched off.
In the BiCon Zoom sessions, the organiser may ask you to turn your video on or off for a few limited reasons, like the person running the session wanting to see who people are at the very start of a session, or if the organiser asks everyone to please turn their video off to save bandwidth. Other than that you can turn your own video on or off at any time.
We ask people to keep themselves muted when they are not speaking directly to the session attendees to make it easier for others to hear. This is an access issue, so please make it easy for other attendees by keeping yourself on mute unless you are directly immediately speaking, then go back on mute after. If your carer is present, please mute when you are talking to them when you can.
We also might mute people who are saying things that go against the Code of Conduct or the guidelines around what is OK to talk about in that particular session, but we very much don’t want to censor people unnecessarily and will always tell you why we’ve done this afterwards, when the session organiser has spoken to the team.
Please respect people's privacy, and be aware that not everyone at BiCon may be 'out' about their sexuality or other aspects of their lifestyle such as BDSM or non-monogamy.
Ask permission before identifying anyone publicly. 'Publicly' includes write-ups on personal websites or on social networking sites such as Facebook, and includes comments on Facebook posts etc. This also includes remembering not to 'out' people you meet at other in person or online events later, for example by saying "oh, it's you from BiCon!".
For in person BiCons, please take care when taking photos, videos or audio recordings. Please seek permission and ask everyone in the photo or video for their express consent taking any photos, videos or audio recording, and check with people after to make sure they are happy with how they have been captured. It is your responsibility to do this.
For virtual BiCons, do not take any screenshots or recordings of BiCon sessions, even if for your own ‘personal use’ or notes. This can violate others privacy.
The only people who may record a session are the organisers and explicit warning and discussion of this will happen beforehand so people are aware of where it may be shared and why.
Some spaces within BiCon are restricted to certain groups of people, for example people aged 18 or over or those with a particular identity. These should be clearly marked on the programme/website and will be mentioned at the start of the session.
BiCon supports safer spaces and recognises their value. Please do not breach safer spaces that you are not eligible to be in. (Carers and interpreters are of course, allowed into the session of the person they are caring for, but should not take part in the session, and must keep the confidentiality agreed).
If you are unsure of your eligibility you can ask to speak to the session organiser ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help if you are unsure.
Discrimination & Anti Racism
BiCon is committed to providing a safe space for all attendees, regardless of ethnicity, class, gender, disability, age, religion or belief. We recognise racism can manifest itself structurally and on an individual level, and we acknowledge that this unfairly disadvantages Bi’s of Colour.
BiCon considers any of the below behaviour unacceptable.
Obvious Racism & Discrimination
- Harmful attitudes and/or behaviour towards an individual or group because of the colour of their skin, ethnicity, religion etc. For example; racial slurs, insults, treating People of Colour less favourably or differently than others.
- Incorrect and/or offensive terms, for example; using the wrong term to identify an individual’s racial identity. Instead, think carefully whether it's relevant to refer to someone’s racial identity and avoid using umbrella terms like, BIPOC, POC or BAME unnecessarily. Remember People of Colour are not one group or one community.
Subtle Racism (sometimes known as microaggressions)
- Comments, assumptions or stereotyping people on the basis of their skin colour, physical features, race, accent or religious belief.
- Comments of fetishization of people of colour on the basis of their race, accent, physical features, or religious belief. For example; "that's such an exotic name" or "your dreadlocks are amazing, are they real?" or “do you wash your hair with those braids”.
- Racial jokes, for example; “Your people love watermelon, don’t they”.
- Being culturally insensitive, for example about police brutality against People of Colour.
- Denial of racism or white privilege (including denying People of Colours experiences). For example; “I don’t see colour”, “There’s equal opportunities for all if you work hard enough”.
- Tokenism, for example; inviting Bi's of Colours opinions on only racial issues rather than on all issues.
- Cultural appropriation (taking something that belongs to or is associated with another ethnicity, religion, or social environment), for example; dressing up as Indigenous communities for the BiCon ball (whether in person on online) or hosting events/activities that originate from a different race or culture without consulting with or being from that community.
- Ignoring intersectionality (the many parts that make us who we are). For example; gender, race, sexuality, class, disabilities etc. Instead, try and acknowledge & respect individuals protected characteristics.
- Making people feel like outsiders, for example; “No but where are you really from?” – this is assuming that due to someone’s ethnicity, race, or religion that they are not truly from the UK. A rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t ask a question or make a comment that applies to everyone in the room (e.g., People of Colour and white people), then it’s probably something not appropriate to ask a Person of Colour.
- Gaslighting People of Colour, for example; “you’re so sassy”, “there’s no need to get aggressive”. These words are wrongly stereotyped as being attributes of some ethnicities (particularly Black individuals), and they are damaging and hurtful when used casually. If you really need to, try saying less harmful words in replacement, such as “passionate” (not sassy), “direct” or “authoritative/assertive” (not aggressive).
This is a very important time for anti-racism work, but it has also been a particularly hard time for People of Colour. If you are white please don’t ask People of Colour about how they’re feeling about the Black Lives Matter movement or anti-racism work, and don’t raise the subject of racism unless a Person of Colour asks you to.
Gender is a spectrum, and people who attend BiCon define their gender in a range of different ways. Please never assume someone's gender. If you are unsure of the pronouns someone uses we encourage you to ask them or avoid gendered language by using "they" instead of "he" or "she". The best way to ask for someone's pronouns is actually by introducing yourself and giving your pronouns. If the person is comfortable sharing theirs they will. Never force the issue as not everyone may be comfortable sharing.
If you ask someone or are corrected about pronouns, please try to use them correctly.
We accept people's self-identified gender for all purposes at BiCon including single-gender spaces.
People are welcome to attend BiCon regardless of how they define their sexuality.
As a community, we are what we tolerate in others. If you witness anything that you feel uncomfortable about, please do feel you can personally speak up and challenge the behaviour, speak to or message the session runner to let them know what's going on, or email email@example.com with as much detail as you can so that we can step in to help.
The organisers very much want to know about things that make people at BiCon less likely to attend a BiCon again, or any other Bi event. If anything happens that makes you uncomfortable or makes you feel unwelcome in any way, even if you do not want us to do anything about it, please do let us know, we may be able to learn something from it for the future.
Things We Can Do to Help
If something has happened that makes you uncomfortable, let us know and we can talk to the people involved. We understand it is difficult to personally challenge people, so you do not have to challenge others before asking us to intervene. We will listen to what you think would help, however you don’t have to feel pressured to come up with solutions for us.
Examples of things we can do
- Challenge the behaviour with the person
- Communicate to others that there is a problem
- Ask for an apology
- Ask them to leave you alone
- Require them to not be in the same space as you
- Exclude them from the rest of this years BiCon or future BiCons
- Pass their details/the details of the incident to future BiCons
- Ask them to attend a training or do some learning and reflection in a relevant or related area
- Ask them to repair any damage done in some way, for example by helping the local community somehow
These actions will be implemented at the discretion of the BiCon team.
Breaches of this Code of Conduct or reasonable requests around unacceptable behavior will, in most cases, be met with an initial warning from a member of the organising team. This decision is final, however if you feel an incident has not been dealt with correctly or appropriately, please let us know.
If warnings are ignored, or in the event of serious misconduct, we reserve the right to ask anyone to leave all or part of BiCon. We reserve the right to pass on details of complaints to BiCon Continuity Ltd or to future BiCon organisers.
Growing as a Community
If you are asked to think about your behaviour after offending someone, please try not to be defensive. If you are challenged, it may be uncomfortable or difficult, but you will not be as uncomfortable as the person on the receiving end of the behaviour. Ensure you listen to understand and not to argue; pause, reflect, and apologise. We are a community that needs to learn and grow together.