Copenhagen queerfestival 23-29 july 2012

Politics

Over the last six years we have worked with different areas of politics. Some of these have resolted in political texts. On this page we will try to gather theese texts.


Queerfestival manifesto

With the Copenhagen queer festival we wish to create a queer space. But what is queer? How do we define it, use it, make it part of our lives? How do you define 'queer' in relation to 'non-queer'? These are just some of the questions we want to work on understanding during the festival. We wish to create a forum where people from all over the world can exchange impressions, viewpoints and ideas. Where we can play, learn, teach, move our boundaries and go places we didn't know existed.

The festival is strictly D.I.Y. meaning that YOU as a participant must take an active part in making the festival successful. A few things have been planned in advance by the organizing group, but otherwise it is up to the participants to decide in unity how they want the festival to proceed. It is expected that everyone help out as much as they can to ensure that the festival will be a fun and enlightening experience for all. Non-profit is another keyword for the festival. We wish to create a space which is not based on money, as we find this is the case in society today. The festival is open to all, whether or not they have money.

To create a place that is free for all it is important that we all try radically confront some, if not all(?) of the structures exiting in society today. We need to help each other to break free from structures and norms imposed on us by the capitalist, heteronormative, racist society. At the festival we need to respect each other, listen and think before we act and keep in mind that calling the festival 'free' and 'queer' doesn't automatically make it so. We expect everyone to analyze their own actions and what effect they have on other people.

And even though the list is long, we still won't tolerate racism, sexism, heterosexism, homo/bi/queer/hetero/trans-phobia, in other words No discrimination based on sexuality, age, gender, ethnicity, class and so on. There will be room for those who make room for others. Despite our political agenda we must not forget that the festival is also about having fun and meeting new exiting people of all genders and sexualities We hope to see you in late july for a great week of discussions, workshops, parties and politics!


No safer spaces 2011

The SSP was a long text encouraging everyone to confront their phobias and 'isms before entering the QF, and also a summery of all the things we don't accept at the festival. It was centered around the idea of a space that is 'survivor-centric.

The text in its self is very good, and is covering some very important issues. The reason why we don't want to use it as a backbone for the festival this year, is that the text it self became a set of rules or guide lines, around which we structured the festival. It became an important tool in conflict resolution, something you could always refer back to when solving a problem. Which is all good except for the fact that the policy at the same time became a promise of a fictional "safe space". A sort of contract that automatically guarantied a safe space when you entered the festival.

The organizing group alone can not promise or be in charge of general safety at the festival, it is something that everyone participating is expected to take part in. We feel that having a set of rules like the SSP has taken some of the individual reflection and responsibility away, and we would like to bring that back.

Everyone approaches the Queerfestival with different backgrounds, and we would like to try to remember this, so that we don't force academic terms or PC queer language upon each other. We don't want to end up agreeing on words or terms without actually knowing their meaning, as might have been the case with the SSP.

When all this is said, we still wish for the festival to be a space where we fight structural oppression, where we take it seriously that no one falls victim to it, and no one performs it. We still wish for the festival to be a space where we spend time and energy realizing and challenging our own positions and privileges.

Therefore we are not sure that everyone should feel safe at all times. Not every position is safe, while feeling safe as a queer is important at the festival, feeling safe as a white person might not be an exclusively good thing. We have to remember that every time we interact with each other we represent different positions. Sometimes our privileges are limiting other peoples freedom some times our freedom is limited by other peoples privileges. And so, to really challenge or positions we might have to give up on the idea of personal safety from time to time to be able to make a safe space for others.

And this very process in it self is not safe. It is scary and challenging and even painful at times.

Because let's face it, entering the QF doesn't mean that you enter a safe zone where all the struggles and troubles of everyday life is stripped away. A safe space is not something we can just claim to have, it is something we continually need to work very hard to create.

In doing so, we should assume that everyone who takes out a week of their life to attend the QF does so, because they want to spend a week with other queers, learning and developing both as individuals and as a group. And because we want to destroy heteronormativity, fight capitalism and build alliances between queers all over the world.

Unfortunately we experienced that having a set of strictly defined rules (the SSP) actually created a bit of paranoia. It generated a very strong fear of fucking up and a constant expectancy that someone else would.

One goal for the festival can be to make it a bubble-like space, where no borders are crossed and no toes are stepped on, a refuge from all the hierarchical shit that we deal with every where else. Somehow this might have been what we tried to create by having an SSP the previous years. But unfortunately we can not set our selfs above hierarchy and structural oppression just by having a policy that forbids it. So we talked about trying - at least for this year - to burst that bubble. Because even though the bubble might feel really good to be in - at least for some, it might also be a space with very little place to grow, learn and develop.

We will be working the racist structures at the festival - continuing some of the discussions that started last year. And for this we all need to be brave enough, not just to pretend that we automatically generate a safe space by being “The Queer Festival”. We will all need to dare to challenge our selfs and each other. To face our privileges, our oppressors, and our positions. And we would like for this to be a integrated part of the festival.

We would like to stretch the idea of safety - so that safety also means a space where fucking up isn't something so painful and shameful that no one dares to even really try to change their ways. We would like for the festival to be a space where we are not afraid to challenge our selfs and each other. Where we can develop our politics, theory and social behavior together, where we can fight our ism's and phobias together. We have spend a lot of time and energy talking about the goals for the festival and how to best realize them. And we are looking forward to continuing this discussion with you all during the festival.

We are working on finding a different way of integrating the notion of safer spaces in the festival. Workshops, discussions, actions and so on. As we have already pointed out this is a job for everyone at the festival, so we very much encourage you to discuss it in your groups at home, before coming to QF.


Safer spaces text used untill 2010

We hope that everyone at the QueerFEST is made aware of the idea of 'Safer Spaces'. We say 'safer' realizing that no space can be entirely safe for everyone. We can start by listening to one another, being openminded, knowing that we have come together to learn from one another. We aim for an environment where differences are not only tolerated, but respected, celebrated, supported and defended. Let's expect that everyone has something amazing to contribute.

The Queer Fest is a DIY event so its up to all of us make it a Safer Space for all: Safer spaces are welcoming, engaging and supportive. We want the Queer Fest to be a space where people can take care of one another. We want people to feel that they can let their hair down (or cut it all off) and be themselves, knowing that they will be supported. We are asking people to be proactive in creating a safer space at the Queer Fest. Also, take responsibility for your own safety and get help if you need it!

Queers will not tolerate Disrespect for Queers at the Queer Festival!

This is no space for for being racist, ageist, sexist or any other behavior or language that may perpetuate oppression. You are expected to take responsibility for all your isms and phobias (sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, fatphobia, homo/bi/trans/intersez/heterophobia, kinksexphobia, asexphobia, classism and all the other hierarchical shit that's out there).

Violence will not be tolerated at the Queerfestival

Any group or individual engaging in violent behavior such as fighting, sexual assault, threats, harassment can be thrown off the site. This space aims to be survivor centric/survivor oriented so don't expect equal rights to participate if you have perpetrated non-consensual violence. If you know or have been told that you become violent or disrespectful under the influence of alcohol or other drugs please do not drink or do drugs while you are here.

Pay attention to boundaries

Different people have different boundaries when it comes to personal space and physical contact. Most of us want different things at different times, or different things from different people, Please do not make assumptions about peoples comfort or desires. Watch peoples body language. If someone is continuously turning away from you, avoiding eye contact, crossing their arms when you speak to them, looking awkward, bored or making excuses as to why they need to be away from you, this is often a good indicator that they are saying back off. And remember always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone- anything but YES means NO!

Subvert prejudice :

We may like to think of the Queer fest as an `alternative' space where people reject the prejudices and socialization of 'mainstream' societal values. But activist communities often carry the same prejudices as the so-called mainstream and we all need to address this. We want to encourage the expression of radically different opinions, choices and tactics at the Queer Festival, which means we must work hard not to silence each other. This includes engaging with others outside of a "radical clique" and relating to all sorts of people in honest, radical, and non-discriminatory ways. When we disagree lets do it in a way where we can hear each other. Communicate with care and respect and always consider the context in which you are speaking. Lets try to go beyond tokenism (being shallowly inclusive to create a false impression of a really liberated space, to challence our own awkwardness around people because of some percieved differences). Let's aim to explore and acknowledge the subtle (and not so subtle) forms of prejudice with in the space and tackle them head on.

Don't assume - ask

All identities are self defined. Don't presume you know someones gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, political positions or anything else to do with their identity. ASK, LISTEN and RESPECT what you hear. Analyze why you ask some people and don't ask others. The Queer Festival is also a place to challenge our own personal fucked up gender socilaization. Think about this also when you make decisions about what you do at the Queer Festival and challenge yourself!

NEED SOME SUPPORT?

If you experience or witness any behavior that crosses your boundaries or makes you feel uncomfortable or if you feel like you would like to talk to someone, please call (contacts???). Or approach someone with a grievance badge on. Note different people will wear the badges at different times, but people on grievance duty that day will introduce themselves at the daily meeting.
- We are not professionals or trained in this. We will do our best collectively to offer problem solving support at the festival, but it may be worth seeking support outside the festival for trauma. Know that our best may be giving you a support number to call.


Don't post the revolution on Facebook

The following text has some thoughts about publishing pictures on the internet. Facebook is fun, youtube as well. It's nice to share your experiences with friends from all over the world. Especially in our little queerbubble it's useful, cause we can't travel around the whole world every week to visit our friends and to show them what is new in your life.

So therefore Facebook comes in very handy. Unfortunately facebook is not only helpful for our self. Facebook is a very easy and helpful tool for the police, fascists, companies and evil journalists. With a few clicks it's possible to find a person's network of friends, where the person works, parties, does politics and so on. Maybe the Copenhagen queerfestival is not the top priority on the secret polices list, but who knows? Maybe some people participating at the festival are in the searchlight, illegalized or maybe the police finds it useful to have an overview over the international anti-capitalist queer movement. Just to use later on. Fascists are also on facebook. Maybe they are only a click away from your own profile. Maybe you are accidently friends with a fencewalker that has both right- and left winged friends, maybe your old school friend turns out to have a right winged brother or maybe someone just guesses your password and enters your account. There have been incidents before where journalists have used facebook in their articles. Not only to make jokes about stupid politicians, but also to incriminate left people.

So what I'm trying to say is that facebook is not just for fun. Don't post anything you don't want others than your friends to see, and don't post pictures were people, that have not agreed, are on. - They may have a reason for not wanting to be on the internet. I write this text especially for the queerfestival, because I don't agree with how the last year's festival and its participants have been shown on the internet. I didn't like to see the fabulous oilwrestlers end up in public facebook spaces, so stupid straight guys could comment on them. I get the creeps of finding groupshots with peoples name attached, visible for everyone - friends and enemies. The queerfestival is for us, the participants - have fun, enjoy, take pics of your friends, but please ask us first and don't put us on facebook.

-love from a concerned and paranoid queer activist


Drugs at The Queer Festival

On the festival we wish to create a safe space for people to experiment with their personal boundaries, therefore it is important that we are present and aware of each other. Please help us stay focused on politics rather than drugs and drinking.
Ungdomshuset, the space we are having the festival in this year, also maintains a strict No Hard Drugs policy, and we would like to respect this.

Even though the division between so called "hard" and "soft" drugs is a questionable political concept, we'd like to say: NO HARD DRUGS on the Festival.

Ungdomshuset defines hard drugs as all chemically produced drugs and mushrooms or other hallucinogens.


Sex party rules

Why have a sex party?

We want to create a safe space where everyone feels secure, thats why we want to create a respectful atmosphere for this party.

If you have a general disagreement with this sex party then please do not participate. As with any DIY event, this event is being formed by the people that particiapte.

Here are some of the expectations we have in common:

be considerate, respectful and friendly

transform yourself, dressup take risks and enjoy them

try to challenge yourself

be wonderful, learn, have fun

people's genders identity and sexuality have many different kinds dont expect to find the genitals you thought, dont be predjudiced

just watching is ok, (give people space to enjoy themselves and each other), and to tell people not to watch is also ok

ask people around you for information or help if you need it

lets all help each other

some of us are taking shifts where we will be available with help and try to solve problems these people will be wearing a red sash.

one exciting thing about sex parties is asking questions and talking about what you want to do

be aware of yourself, be aware for others

to be aware means listening and communicating clearly

no means no

yes means yes

if someone asks what are you doing? It is a question that you need to answer please leave me alone, means leave them alone and dont be in the space around them

any heavy SM, especially blood or water sports has to happen in the BDSM space

Be aware that not everyone is comfortable being around SM play.

you're welcome to leave the place at anytime, you are welcome to come back again

get a stamp from the door person before you go

be respectful toward people who are not a part of the sex party and who might not wish to be confronted with the sex party

please think about having safe sex

take care about sexually transmitted diseases you have and please dont get any at the queerfest

sex is about enjoying each other and yourself, not about competition.

No bragging afterwards.

Keep what happens confidential and respect people's privacy outside the party

there will be a women and trans space, an SM room, a male and trans room, and a mixed space, cuddle space and dance floor

Please respect the spaces (gender according to own definition)

use drugs and alcohol respectfully to yourself and those around you,think about other ways that you can be courageous and feel good about yourself

the party room is pretty dusty and dirty. There is a place where you can wash your hands. Theres a fire escape in the back, and a fire extinguisher by the entrance.

No smoking inside

cleanup after yourself, keep the place clean, clean up any sticky mess!

Condoms and gloves need to go in the trash cans and needles in special needle containers.

Remember that you are responsible for yourself and others, that includes diseases, emotional traumas, stress, new relationships, old relations, boredom, lack of sleep, muscle cramps and other (possible) unwanted consequences about participating or not participating in this party

take good care of yourself!!!!


Fuck money, theme from 2009

More about this years theme

The preparations for the World Outgames have been going on for more than a year. In the queerscene it has risen some interesting discussions. The 'Fuck Money'-theme is a broad and open theme, and the following is only meant as an inspiration and information about the thoughts and discussion we'we been having in the queerscene in Copenhagen:

The fact that the state and the local bussines-owners is working hard on portraing Copenhagen as a gay-friendly 'pink city' because they don't want to miss out on the opportunity of making money on the expected 5-10.000 paricipants and guests. This stands in contrast to the increasing numbers of gay-bashings and hatecrimes that the city has experienced through the previous years, and the lack of will to deal with this issues on a political level. As an active part of the queerscene in Copenhagen, we also experience a huge contrast between the official picture that the municipals is trying to paint, and the daily-life diffilcuties and struggles that we deal with as radical act The fact that the Outgames itself has chose to base itself on a capitalistic concept where everything costs money and the fee for attending conferences is sky, which makes it impossible for low/non-income persons to participate, especially people attending from non-european countries. As a radical queerscene based on the left-wing, it brought up a conflict that the World Outgames seems so eager to adopt a capitalistic and western centered aproach with racist consequenses, in setting up the event.

The fact that one of the largest LGBT events in the world is taking place in Cph has risen a lot of interesting discussions about the 'queerscene' versus the 'LGBT-scene'(in the extend you can talk about, and define, such scenes): The differences betwen the two scenes, politics, capitalism, aestethics, activistculture, racism, mainstreaming of the queerscene etc.etc. These are on-going discussions that is relevant to us all and which can include a number of perspectives, and we would like to use the festival to explore these discussion further.


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