So, this is one of those posts that’s going to be mystifying to a lot of people but make perfect sense to others. It’s a busy day and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to go into the background. The short version is: WorldCon 76 is fudging up quite badly in how it treats attendees, up to and including finalists for its crown jewel Hugo Award. Multiple genderqueer, non-binary, and non-conforming members have spoken up about feeling unsafe and disrespected, and WorldCon’s safety team is not inspiring a lot of confidence.
Accordingly, I am taking one of my standing offers at WisCon and expanding and formalizing it for the larger WorldCon: I am forming a Queer Rapid Response Team. Before the convention next month, I will set up an automated channel that will text any messages onward to everybody on the team. The idea is that if anybody in the family needs an escort, needs a friendly face, needs emotional support, or whatever, we can form up on them like queer Voltron.
If you’re going to be going to WorldCon and you’re interested in participating, watch this space for info as the plan comes together. I am looking for other trans, genderqueer, and especially visibly queer people, however you define that for yourself; the point of this is *not* cis people using their cis privilege to intervene (which you should be doing that anyway) but creating a visibly queer presence to bolster and reassure. If somebody hits the panic button I want them to know when their support brigade has arrived, you know?
The Queer Rapid Response Team is *not* going to be picking fights, *not* going to be escalating, educating, or even mediating in conflicts.We’re not going to be armed, we’re not going to be getting in individual specific people’s faces and shouting at them. This is not about respectability or pacifism, but about making sure we’re allowed to operate within the convention itself.
Things the Queer Rapid Response Team will do: we’ll walk with people to and from their events. We’ll hang out with people so they’re not alone. We’ll sit with someone who has a difficult encounter and listen to them process. We’ll sit in the front row of people’s panels to cheer them on and glare at That One Guy who is making things uncomfortable for them. We’ll be a floating Safer Space for any queer congoer who is looking for a crowd they feel more comfortable in.
You do not have to commit to answering 100% of alerts during the whole length of the con to be on the Queer Rapid Response Team. If I can actually get more volunteers, I’ll make a spread sheet and you can put your likely availability on it. We’re going to be pretty informal, though. If a text alert comes through, you can answer it if you can and ignore it if you can’t. I (like most people who aren’t straight white cis people, apparently) am not on any programming items at WorldCon, so my schedule is pretty free and clear, which is part of why I’m doing this.
I’ll have more details as we get the ball rolling here.