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Dwelling in Probabilities - C. Lundoff's Journal

Projects and things and...harassment in fandom

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Anne Bonny
Dwelling in Probabilities - C. Lundoff's Journal
Catherine's website

Projects and things and...harassment in fandom

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Anne Bonny
Starting with the good, because that's how we roll today. I completed 2 guest blogs this week, one for writer Deborah J. Ross' blog (my post on promoting my first novel will go live on Tuesday) and one for the Clarion Foundation Writer's blog on depictions of aging in sf/f (waiting to hear re: posting date). Today, I overhaul the draft of my story to submit for the queering Dracula anthology and do some work on Blood Moon, Silver Moon's sequel. Next weekend, Diversicon will be upon us and I expect to be posting my schedule soon.

The weekend has been good. We caught the Rembrandt show at the MIA on Thursday and thought it was okay. Lots of attributions and "circle of" paintings, some of which were quite good. Friday night was spent writing guest blogs and sending out ebook contracts for Hellebore and Rue. Saturday was errands, yardwork, a trip to first 38th and Chicago Business Association festival, then off to
MN Center for Bookarts benefit, the Unabashedly Bookish Bash. Both of the latter were quite fun. We talked to photographer Wing Young Huie, who has a studio at 38th and Chicago, about his current projects and ours, and we may end up in one of his new projects, "We are the Other." We also stopped by the Chicago Fire Arts Center and chatted with one of the jewelers for a bit, then went over to Covet Consign and Design, which is now showing work by local artists as well as doing custom framing and furniture consignment. I bought the framed version of this piece by artist Abigail Slawik.

Other than that, I have an ear infection that won't clear up but I've slept more this weekend than I have in a month so hopefully everything will be on the mend soon.

And now we get to a few brief comments on the issue of how Readercon has handled the issue of sexual harassment. The details of this are covered in excellent detail in Genevieve Valentine's
blog and other blogs so I won't recap. But here's my two-cents: a con either has a zero tolerance for harassment policy or it does not. In this case, they had an issue with a repeat offender who is well connected in fandom harassing a woman at this year's convention and they opted to not follow their own policy. This sends a terrible message to others who've been harassed and assaulted at any convention.

It also points up another problem: it's not uncommon for well known authors and editors to have fans who cross the line into stalkers. Readercon strikes me as a convention that wants those sorts of authors to show up quite badly, seeing as they bring their fans as well as prestige to any convention. And the Board has just sent a message that says "You're not safe here if we decide that whoever's harassing you is too important for us to piss off." Not that this is a problem limited to Readercon, by any means, unfortunately. I've read reports of assault and harassment, usually perpetrated against female fans and pros, at Comic-con, Dragoncon, Worldcon, SwanCon and elsewhere. Some of these cons have anti-harassment and assault policies, some do not. Every con needs them and needs to have a consistent method of enforcing those policies.

I will say that the most direct approach I've seen was at this year's CONvergence here in Minneapolis. There was a stated policy, a definition of harassment in the program book, clearly marked "safe spaces" near areas where there were security and other con volunteers to help and signs on all surfaces that said things like "Costumes are not Consent." I gather that con security did indeed have to address some incidents and I want to extend my congratulations to them and to the convention volunteers for working to make a 5000+ person convention a safe space for all attendees. WisCon is another model of a convention that has worked very hard to address issues of harassment and assault. Now I think Readercon needs to learn the same lesson (again, since apparently they've done better in the past). I won't be going until this decision is revisited and the policy enforced.

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