SWTO2014 Countdown: Making activist spaces accessible

EDIT: Updated to include info on availability of active listeners

We're in to the home stretch, with only 6 days left until  SWTO2014: Who are you calling a slut?

One lesson we've learned (and are still learning and have more room for improvement on) is that in order to really get to the root of struggles against oppression, we have to make our activism accessible.

To that end we're going to have space reserved at the front of the march for folks with mobility issues and chemical sensitivities. The front will sent the pace for the march, and it will be a non-smoking, and scent-free zone. There will be clearly-labelled active listeners as part of our parade marshal crew for folks who get triggered or upset during the march, or just need someone to talk to/offer support.

Tomorrow we should get confirmation on our bookings of ASL interpreters for the speeches, and we will have speeches pre-printed and available to participants. In the future, we aim to have the funds raised to be able to offer closed-captioning for speeches as well.

We had thought that we were making our planning meetings accessible physically and for all LGBT participants by hosting them close to Wellesley Subway Station at the The 519 Church Street Community Centre, but we were wrong. As it turns out, there have been some criticisms of them not being sensitive to the concerns of trans women and not hosting a space that is safe for their participation. Knowing this going forward, we will book alternate spaces until such time as The 519 has remedied those concerns.

There is going to be a Trans* Contingent in the march, for those who would feel safer marching amongst peers and allies.

If there are other ways we can make our events and movement more accessible, we want to hear it. Our goal is to address all forms of sexual violence and victim-blaming, and the systems that keep those abuses going unchecked.