Discussion Guidelines

Gender Conference East is designed to be a safe and respectful community. Individuals travel from many places – both literally and figuratively – to be here, and it is important that there is plenty of room to explore ideas, express feelings or simply listen without fear of criticism or put down. In order to make room for each person’s perspective and give all of us the opportunity to learn with and from one another, we ask you to observe the following guidelines. If you have any questions or concerns, please check in with any of our conference staff or with the presenter or facilitator of your individual workshop or discussion. 

Guidelines and What Each One Means, Sounds, Looks or Feels Like…

Speak from your own personal experience, understanding, and feelings; use “I statements” and avoid generalizations.

Instead of: “Everyone knows that as kids get older…” 
Try: “As my child has gotten older, I have observed…” 

Recognize and respect the presence of many perspectives and truths in the room.

Each of us has had our own experiences. What may be true for one person may not be for another. Be open to the realities of others!

Avoid discussing your experience in a way that silences or erases someone else’s. 

Instead of: “I used to feel like you do, but now...” 
Try: “My experience has been different.” 


Be mindful that what is shared may not be something for discussion outside of the group. If you’re not sure, don’t share!

Step up/Step back

Consider speaking if you find that you have something to say, but aren’t sharing. 
Consider not speaking if you find that you always have something to say.

Assume positive intent

It's so easy to see a behavior and assume the worst – or even just assume that we know that person's motivation. Instead consider, "maybe they are saying something to me that I'm not hearing."

Please know that we take very seriously maintaining a safe and inclusive space. Should anyone feel as if they have in some way felt excluded, not heard or in any way disrespected while attending this gathering, we wish to know about it. We are committed to not only listening, but also truly hearing concerns about each conference attendee’s sense of safety while here. Please find a member of our team in the Registration area.