let's get down to business
May 1, 2014
“to defeat the Huns!”
Er… I mean. Let’s talk about the bits and bobs to actually making an accessible event.
First some resources. I did some digging and found three guides that cover a lotof of the necessary ground:
- The SCIE Accessibility Guidelines how to make events accessible1
- The Fresno State accessible event planning guide2– The Council of Ontario Universities’ Planning Guide for Accessible Conferences3
One of the key things that one of the above guides mentions (can’t remember which) is trying to include various people with various disabilities in your planning process. Not in some tokenized fashion either… Diverse teams, as is often the case, can make for more diverse events. Basically what I’m saying here, is that if your team isn’t diverse, then you should also be doing some really hard thinking about your current context, since why isn’t it already diverse?
Somethings to consider that aren’t contained in the guides…
1) Gender considerations
So, like, especially if we are talking about tech conferences/spaces, making your event accessible for women can mean
- Childcare (and a willingness to help pay for the child to travel with parent)
- Very clear policies and procedures about sexual harassment and sexual assault. And one key, here, is a super, duper, mega clear statement that victims and/or survivors come first. This means: any accusations or reported incidents will be implicitly believed and action taken against the perpetrator.4
- Remember that trans people exist. This means briefing staff, organizers, and other participants that trans people have the right to use whichever washroom they feel most comfortable. You should also inform all participants where (and their really should be one) the gender neutral washroom is.
- Related to above. Check the local laws regarding trans women and public accommodations. In many US states and jurisdictions, people are legally allowed to discriminate against trans women (ie, the hotel can say “oh, sorry, you can’t stay here, lol” without consequence).