The Queer Spirit ethos
Respect for the Earth
To seek to use sustainable resources as far as possible, protect the earth from further harm and work for earth healing through magical/spiritual practice and through supporting environmental activism. To 'tread lightly on the earth' and to 'take nothing but memories and leave nothing but love'.
Respect for all humans and their choices and boundaries
To create a safe space free from all forms of abuse and coercion. To respect the principles of consent and ensure that they are implemented in all activities, workshops and areas.
Respect for spirit
To honour all spiritual practices that are based on love for the land and its inhabitants. To remember in all we do that we are not working for profit but for the honouring of spirit, the land and its people. To honour all spirits, deities and Folk who live on the land (or are visiting for our events) and those who are their messengers.
Reflect the diversity of LGBT+ people
To attempt, in all areas of our events, to include people from a wide range of genders and sexualities, ethnicities and cultures, ages and backgrounds and from a wide variety of spiritual paths. To ensure that personnel are not composed predominantly of people from a small number of communities or identities.
Work for equality
To seek to make spaces free from homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ageism, racism, classism, the oppression of disabled people and young people and any other forms of oppression. To ensure equal opportunities for people from marginalised groups.
To aim to make our events as accessible as possible to all who wish to attend. This includes providing as much access support as is feasibly and financially possible for disabled people, providing suitable activities for people of all ages, and supporting others who may find events difficult to access due to marginalisation, mental health problems, poverty or for any other reason.
We continually work to minimise our carbon emissions for each festival based on our experiences in previous events. If you are coming to the festival by plane or car you might want to look at offsetting the carbon emission from your journey.
We are working to make Queer Spirit Festival as safe a place as we possibly can. As LGBT+ people we are often reminded of how unsafe the world can be for us, and the festival has, in part, been created out of the need of LGBT+ people for spaces free from homophobic and transphobic abuse.
Being safe can mean physical safety; we have procedures in place to deal with situations that might occur around this. It also involves emotional and energetic safety; having our boundaries respected and respecting other people’s boundaries at all times. We are a gloriously diverse community, and this will be reflected in the different ways that we perceive, enjoy, and react to, the contacts we have with each other. It is essential to not make assumptions about another person’s boundaries and limits, but to ask and take notice of what it there. It is also crucial that we listen our own ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’, that we understand what is right for ourselves and honour that. When a ‘no’ is present (for yourself or from others) that needs to be heard and met with kindness and respect, not with pressure, shame, guilt or criticism.
Consent is also fluid; this changes over time. You may have had a fabulous experience with a person in a workshop earlier in the festival and are keen to continue, but it is important to check in and see where they are at. Moreover, whilst words are useful ways of communicating our boundaries there are many other ways are feelings can be shown; our bodies, our breath, our facial expressions and energy that is present in the moment. If you notice a shift in the dynamic between you this is an opportunity to check in, both with yourself and others.
Issues of consent are incredibly important, not just in the sacred sexuality workshops but all over the site: when we dance, when we meet people for the first time and offer a hug (there are many people who don’t wish to receive hugs), when we admire another’s outfit or hairstyle, and when we say goodnight. It can also be relevant in our conversations with others, when we may wish to ask personal questions or open up a conversation about an emotive topic. When you are unfamiliar with a person’s boundaries it is essential to ask.
We understand that people can misjudge a situation, and will communicate with all concerned as respectfully as we can, and give people opportunities to change non-consensual behaviour. But we will take any incidents seriously and if necessary, ask people to leave site and involve the relevant authorities if appropriate. We will also support people who have had their boundaries disrespected and will not expect them to deal with situations alone. Instead facilitators, if in workshop spaces, and organisers or stewards, if generally on the site, will deal with the situation. We also have a 24hr Welfare and Access Team who are available to speak with (or simply just be with) any offer any support you require.