Our Diversity Statement
The IMsL/IMsBB weekend should be an inclusive and sex positive space for all people. All are welcome, and racism, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination have no place here. An important part of the weekend is exploring how the intersectionanality of race, class, gender, and ability affect experiences of leather, kink, and sexualities. We must make a commitment to enriching these intersectionalites not only at the weekend but throughout our communities. We will work toward this goal.
Some Background from Sharrin Spector, Producer IMsL/IMsBB Weekend
A bit of history and context, in 2013 when I took over the production of the IMsL/ IMsBB weekend we had just under 6 months to pull together an event and many financial and organizational challenges. The relocation of the event to a new event space in a new city with little supporting documentation to smoothly accomplish this, was a rather a daunting task. Like many organizations, in hindsight we certainly would have done many things differently.
The proposed IMsL 2014 tee shirt generated many conversations between BIPOC, IMsL Productions and organization, and allies. What emerged because of these often-challenging conversations is an organization that has had the opportunity to examine and change many of its previously held positions and thoughts. Some of these were accomplished right away and some have required longer term systematic changes. Although the conversations have not always been easy, I am grateful to the members of the BIPOC community for their willingness to do this work for the betterment of the IMsL community, and the larger Leather Community. This is an evolving process, one that I as the producer of the IMsL/IMsBB weekend, am committed to continuing.
Several concrete things have emerged from this work.
Every person who registers for any part of the Weekend signs a Code of Conduct (available on the IMsL FAQ page) that reflects our values as an organization. We as an organization are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive weekend that reflects all aspects of the community.
As a result of the 2014 post event survey, it was clear that we needed to address not only racism, but ageism and trans phobia as well. We created three senior, year-round Staff/Foundation Liaison positions. The Liaisons serve on the workshop and scholarship selection committees, and began to work on programming to ensure the IMsL/IMsBB Weekend reflects the totality of the Women’s Leather community and those who love them.
In 2016, in conjunction with the IMsL Foundation, the Liaisons joined with the Education Committee during the presenter’s orientation webinar and brought their awareness to workshop presentations. A recording of this can be found on the IMsL page ( LINK to recording). All IMsL presenters are responsible for reviewing this material. The Liaisons also began an extensive outreach to the communities they represent to increase engagement and visibility and featured targeted program during the 2016 weekend.
In 2016 a group of white community members developed a resource flyer about racism in leather communities. The flyer was workshopped during the non-BIPOC caucus and Open BIPOC caucus sessions during IMsL/IMsBB Weekend and has been made available for the community to use.
A web version of “Tools for fighting Racism from White People to White People“, is available via the link. For a print-quality version of the flyer, please email email@example.com. The team that assembled it would be overjoyed to share it for distribution.
The work and dialogue continues as we plan for 2018 and begin to find ways to equalize opportunities for everyone to be part of this amazing community. Please join us in putting these concrete changes into reality!