Safer Space and Accessibility
“Section 2: Phreak N Queer operates under the DIY/indie initiative and will work to create spaces free from alienation and ostracism and will highlight queer and transgender artists with messages relevant to our mission and community.”
We strive for the Pheak N Queer festival to be a space free from alienation, ostracism, and estrangement. In order to create an inclusive space for everyone, we are asking for mindfulness and action around safer spaces and accessibility. We are holding organizers, artists, venues, and festival participants accountable to this goal. We do not tolerate misogyny, white supremacy, fatphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. We strive to challenge racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, and ableism among other oppressions.
The political nature of art, music, and performance as social and cultural change agents is not always comfortable. Good intentions in art can still further supremacy. The reclamation of one history or space can actively displace and marginalize a disenfranchised group. “Freak” and “queer” are both terms of reclamation with stratified histories. Despite intentions, an entitled queer performance or art piece can actively displace people of color and those with disabilities. A cisgendered drag artist can be transmisogynist despite experiencing intersecting oppressions with trans women. To create art that provokes, envisions different worlds, and challenges conventional form is to risk transgression and to sit with discomfort. We value a space for risk and experimentation in art and within Phreak N Queer, and we will maintain accountability to the best of our ability.
The goal for a safe space is the imagined space of inclusion. The strategy of “safer space” is to recognize the shortcomings of the present, to embrace the subversive potential of art (comfortable and uncomfortable), and to celebrate what strides in liberation have been made. It also requires active participation to make oppressive spaces safer for various identities and communities. We cannot ensure a festival space is inherently safe because we do not know who will show up to a public event, exactly what an artist performs, or how a venue employee will act. We will do our best to foster a safer space and to counter oppressive situations as they arise, and we ask you to do the same.
Safety has emotional, physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual components. Be self-aware of how much space you are taking up. Take up less space when necessary, so others will make their own space. Get consent before unwanted touch or verbal advances. Ask about preferred pronouns. Be scent-aware*.
Our stance is that the festival space be a scent-aware environment. We are making this ask because we want to reduce the level of toxins for those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Environmental Illness. We do not have a scent-free policy for a few reasons: even if every Phreak N Queer attendee was scent-free, we cannot guarantee that others in our venues will not be scented and our venues will most certainly use chemically-based cleaning products. Further, we understand that perfumes, oils and hair products can be part of one’s gender identity, ethnic identity or spiritual practice. Finally, we know that if being scent-free or scent-aware is new for you it can be really overwhelming.
Minimize your use of strongly fragranced products and don’t add unnecessary fragrances like perfumes, colognes, smelly lotions, etc. If possible, use products that are scent or fragrance-free when you know you’re going to be in the shared spaces of the festival. While not all fragrance-free products are chemical-free (and therefore can still affect those around you who are scent-sensitive), it is still a good rule of thumb to follow when trying to be scent-aware. Granted, some of these products are not financially feasible for many, difficult to find depending on where you live, or will not work for certain ethnic groups.