Code of Conduct

If you'd prefer an audio version of our Code of Conduct, you can listen to it here.

When you attend BiCon 2022 at the venue (in-person) or through your computer (online), you agree to follow this Code of Conduct. 

This Code of Conduct has been built over several BiCons, and Adeola (a-takisanya@outlook.com) has recently revised parts of it. This year, we have tried to find a balance between including everything and making it easy to read.

This Code of Conduct was revised for plainer, clearer English on 29 June. No sections have been added, removed or had their meaning substantially changed. The original code of Conduct is available here.

Why do we need a Code of Conduct?

People come to BiCon with different experiences and different ideas of how they should behave and how others should behave. A Code of Conduct makes it clear what is expected from everyone (including organising team, workshop facilitators, volunteers, attenders) during BiCon. 

We all need to remember the Code of Conduct,  and we need to remind each other of it. That way, we can all have a great experience. Most importantly, we be fairer to people who we have let down in the past.

This Code does not cover everything. Organisers are allowed to ask for things which are not in this Code. Organisers are volunteers as well as being members of the BiCon community. They will try to deal fairly and respectfully with any issue that someone brings to them – especially those relating to areas like racism and classism where BiCon has let people down in the past (see below for definitions).

Admission to BiCon

For the in-person part of the event: you will be given a BiCon pass (a badge with your name and a number on it) when you arrive. You should wear your pass to all events, and make sure it is showing. If you don’t, you might not be allowed into BiCon spaces until it is showing. 

BiCon passes have numbers on them, and you can’t give yours to someone else. If you give your pass to another person, you are cheating BiCon out of money.

For the on-line part of the event: when you book, someone will send you a room code to your email address. Do not share your room code with other people, because the organisers need to know that each person has a contact email address so that they can contact them if they need to.

If two or more people will be sharing the same screen (and if the second person is not just acting as a carer or an interpreter), we will ask each person to book their place separately.

Health and Safety

Everyone is responsible for themselves, their actions, and their own health at all times during BiCon.

You do not have to stay in any sessions. If you leave, please do it quietly. You do not need to tell anyone you are leaving. 

If you have any concerns about a session (whether you left it or you didn’t), please contact the organisers. We really want to hear from you (see the ‘reporting concerns’ section below).

Consent and Anti-harassment

No one at BiCon should be put under any pressure to join in with things they do not want to do.  Things they might not want to do range from a chat through to any kind of touching. 

It is fine to ask someone once if they would like to do something. For example, you could say "Can we chat privately?". If you keep asking even after someone has said no, this is harassment, and it is against this Code. 

If someone asks you to leave them alone, leave them alone. If someone is not saying yes keenly, then they are not giving consent and you should also leave them alone. 

If you are uncomfortable asking someone to leave you alone, you can ask someone who is wearing a purple sash, or a member of the BiCon team, to ask them for you. 

Sexual Harassment

It is particularly important to be aware of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes a range of ways of acting, from saying or asking things that are sexually suggestive through to touching someone in a way that they don’t want you to. See more examples in Appendix 1.

It can be very difficult and uncomfortable for someone to clearly say “no”. This is especially true for women and people who have been brought up (‘socialised’) as women. They have often been taught to put up with things they are unhappy with so as to be polite. It is also especially true for people who have had horrible things happen to them (traumatic experiences) in the past, when saying 'No' has led to abuse.

Every person at Bicon should look out for when someone is saying no, even if they aren’t saying it out loud. Everyone should look out for when someone is not giving consent (see examples in Appendix 2). 

In all BiCon spaces, including our private Zoom rooms, on Discord or anything else, the words: "no", "stop", "don't do that" or similar words and phrases will be understood to mean exactly what they say (taken at face value) by the BiCon organisers and volunteers, regardless of the context or intent.

Common tricks of sexual predators

Sexual predators are people who try to exploit or abuse other people in a sexual way. Often, sexual predators will test out what is acceptable to a group or to a person by making sexually explicit 'jokes'. This lets them see how far they can get, and to see how likely they will be able to pressure people into uncomfortable situations. If someone else challenges someone like this, the person will pretend that it was all a joke or a misunderstanding. For these reasons, BiCon will listen to its attendees, and we will not allow "I was joking" or anything else as an excuse for misconduct.

Public Behaviour

BiCon should be a place where people feel free to express their sexuality, but it is not a sex or fetish party. We ask you to keep any overtly sexual behaviour in private, and out of the public areas. Please act in public in a way that is normally publicly acceptable.

The people you need to ask for consent (whether they are OK with what you are doing) includes anyone who is watching as well as anyone who is taking part. Remember that this may include not just attendees, but people who work at the venue and the general public.

BiCon is supports people who breastfeed their children. Do not make negative comments if you see someone feeding their child.

Everyone needs to have their bums, nipples (apart from people breastfeeding) and genitals covered at all times in all public BiCon areas. Some sessions may be counted as private areas; these will be clearly marked as private.

BiCon is an adult event and there may be mention of sex, swear words, or talk about upsetting experiences in BiCon spaces (except in some particular sessions that are suitable for children). If you don't want your child to hear those things, it is up to you to prevent that, for example by avoiding the space. If you are attending online Bicon and you don’t want someone in your room to hear those things, it is up to you to prevent that, for example by wearing headphones.

BiCon is committed to being a safe place. Shouting or swearing at people is never allowed for any reason.

Things that apply just to Online BiCon

Even if you have video off on Zoom, please do not *say* that you don't have clothes on. You do not know how others might react to that.

You are responsible for what other people online can see and hear behind you. Please turn off your video or mute yourself if something inappropriate is happening in the background (like someone walking around with no clothes on, or a heated argument).

Things that apply just to In-person BiCon

When you walk around, do not to touch anyone without asking them first, and do not touch anyone’s disability aids (wheelchairs, sticks, etc) without asking. 

We don’t allow animals on-site, except for assistance animals (such as guide dogs).

Alcohol

BiCon is not an alcohol-free event, but we do have areas where alcohol is not allowed, because some attendees need this (it is an access issue).

  • No alcohol is allowed in in-person workshop sessions. No one who the session organisers can see is drunk will be allowed into sessions.
  • There will be clearly marked social spaces that are alcohol free at all times.
  • If you are going to online BiCon and you want to drink alcohol, please drink it from something people can’t see through, such as a mug. Don’t talk about alcohol in online sessions.

Smoking and Vaping

At in-person BiCon, if you want to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes (vape), please only do it in smoking areas. These areas will be clearly labelled and physically accessible. We ask this so that we can make BiCon accessible to people who don’t like smoke or vape fumes. Do not smoke or vape anywhere indoors (even if you are leaning out of a window) – doing this is illegal in the UK.

At Online BiCon, please turn off your camera if you are smoking or vaping.

Illegal Drugs

Do not bring drugs to BiCon (except your own medication that has been prescribed to you by a doctor). If you have taken illegal drugs, you won’t be allowed into Bicon, including the in-person or online spaces. If someone finds that you have illegal drugs with you, you may be asked to leave.

For online BiCon, do not take drugs (other than prescribed medication) where others can see you or talk about taking illegal drugs while attending the event.

Video

In online BiCon sessions, you can usually turn your video on or off at any time.

Audio

In online BiCon sessions, please keep your microphone muted when you are not speaking. Keeping yourself muted makes it easier for other people to hear in sessions. When you have your microphone on, please try to keep background noise and conversations as quiet as possible. 

Session facilitators may mute people who say anything that is against this Code of Conduct or that goes against the session topic or the session content guidelines. Facilitators should warn people before they do this and after the session they should explain why they muted the person.

Confidentiality

Please respect people's privacy. Not everyone at BiCon is 'out' about their sexuality or about other things such as BDSM or non-monogamy. 

Ask someone for permission before you mention anyone’s name publicly when you are talking about Bicon. This includes posts or comments online (for example Facebook) or talking about (outing) people at other in-person events. If you don't have permission, don't identify anyone.

Recording

Do not take any photographs, videos or other recordings of people unless they have clearly said that this is OK. 

If you take a photo or a video, make sure everyone who is in it is happy to be in it and that they are happy with the final photo or video. Anyone who is in a photo or video can ask for it to be deleted at any time. 

If you are uncomfortable asking for photos, video or other recordings to be deleted, you can ask a BiCon organiser or volunteer to do it for you.

If you agree to be in a photo or video, you should assume it may end up online, and that it might be linked to you. This is because people might not remember what you said about giving permission after BiCon.

Online BiCon

Do not take any screenshots or recordings of BiCon sessions, even if for your own ‘personal use’ or notes, as this can violate others' privacy.

Only Organisers will record sessions. A clear warning and explanation will happen before it starts so that everyone knows how and why the recording will be used.

Press/Media

Members of the press should identify themselves to the reception desk and at any sessions they attend.

Safer Spaces

Some spaces within BiCon are restricted to certain groups of people, for example people with a certain identity or age (for example people over 18 years old). Restricted sessions are clearly marked on the programme and on the website, and the restriction will be mentioned at the start of the session.

BiCon supports and recognises the value of safer spaces, which are spaces that are only open to people in certain groups so that they can feel safe. Do not go into spaces if you are not in the category of people they are for (if you are not eligible to be in them). Carers and interpreters are allowed into sessions with people they are working for. They should keep everything they hear and see in a safe space confidential.

If you are unsure if you are eligible to go into a safe space, you can ask to speak to the session organiser before the session starts by contacting BiCon. We are always happy to help if you are unsure.

Discrimination and Anti Racism

BiCon is committed to providing a safe place to be for all attendees, regardless of ethnicity, class, gender, disability, age, religion or belief.

We recognise racism can happen on a structural level and an individual level. We acknowledge that racism unfairly causes more problems for Bis of Colour.

Obvious racism and discrimination

  • Harmful attitudes and/or behaviour towards a person or group because of the colour of their skin, ethnicity, religion etc.
    • Examples: racial slurs, insults, treating People of Colour less favourably or differently than others.
  • Incorrect and/or offensive language
    • Examples: Using the wrong term to identify an individual’s racial identity. Instead, think carefully whether it's relevant to refer to someone’s racial identity and avoid using umbrella terms like BIPOC (Black or Indigenous People of Colour), POC (People of Colour) or BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) unnecessarily. Remember that People of Colour are not one group or community.

Subtle Racism (sometimes known as microaggressions)

  • Comments, assumptions or stereotyping people on the basis of their skin colour, physical features, race, accent or religious belief.
  • Comments or fetishization of people of colour on the basis of their race, accent, physical features, or religious belief. For example; "that's such an exotic name" or "your dreadlocks are amazing, are they real?" or “do you wash your hair with those braids”.
  • Racial jokes, for example; “Your people love watermelon, don’t they”.
  • Being culturally insensitive, for example about police brutality against People of Colour.
  • Denial of racism or white privilege (including denying People of Colours' experiences). For example; “I don’t see colour”, “There’s equal opportunities for all if you work hard enough”.
  • Tokenism, for example, inviting Bis of Colours' opinions on only racial issues rather than on all issues.
  • Cultural appropriation (taking something that belongs to or is associated with another ethnicity, religion, or social environment), for example, dressing up as Indigenous communities for the BiCon ball (whether in person on online) or hosting events/activities that originate from a different race or culture without consulting with or being from that community.
  • Ignoring intersectionality (the many parts that make us who we are). For example, gender, race, sexuality, class, disabilities etc. Instead, try and acknowledge and respect individuals' protected characteristics.
  • Making people feel like outsiders, for example, “No but where are you really from?” – this is assuming that due to someone’s ethnicity, race, or religion that they are not truly from the UK. A rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t ask a question or make a comment that applies to everyone in the room (for example, People of Colour and white people), then it’s probably something not appropriate to ask a Person of Colour.
  • Gaslighting People of Colour, for example, “you’re so sassy”, “there’s no need to get aggressive”. These words are wrongly stereotyped as being attributes of some ethnicities (particularly Black individuals), and they are damaging and hurtful when used casually. If you really need to, try saying less harmful words in replacement, such as “passionate” (not sassy), “direct” or “authoritative/assertive” (not aggressive).

This is a very important time for anti-racism work, but it has also been a particularly hard time for People of Colour. If you are white, please don’t ask People of Colour about how they’re feeling about the Black Lives Matter movement or anti-racism work, and don’t raise the subject of racism unless a Person of Colour asks you to.

Gender

Gender is a spectrum, and people who attend BiCon define their gender in a range of different ways. Please never assume what someone's gender is.

If you are unsure of the pronouns someone uses, we encourage you to ask them. Avoid gendered language by using "they" instead of "he" or "she". The best way to ask for someone’s pronouns is actually by introducing yourself and giving your pronouns. If the person is comfortable sharing theirs, they will. Never force the issue, as not everyone may be comfortable sharing.

If you ask someone about their pronouns or if someone corrects you about theirs, please try to use them correctly after that.

We accept people's self-identified gender for all purposes at BiCon, including single-gender spaces.

Sexuality

People are welcome to attend BiCon, regardless of how they define their sexuality.

Do not criticise someone based on labels they use or don't use to define their sexuality.

Challenging misconduct

As a community, we are what we tolerate in others.

Everyone is encouraged to challenge people whose behaviour makes them feel uncomfortable or that is against this Code of Conduct. However, we recognise that this isn't always possible.

You can contact the session runner to let them know what's going on.

You can use one of the methods below to contact the team.

BiCon very much wants to know about things that make people at our events feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in any way – even if you aren't sure that you want anyone to do anything about it.

If the Code of Conduct doesn't cover an issue you can think of, please let us know.

How to contact us:

  • Online session: Person running the session.
  • In person: BiCon desk or person wearing a purple sash.
  • Post box at the desk: Write something and post it in.
  • SMS or phone: 07984 906 534 (only reliably monitored during BiCon itself)
  • Email: biconuk2022@gmail.com 

Things We Can Do to Help

When you make a report to BiCon about something, we will do our best to listen first. If we ask questions, it will be to help us understand rather than 'not believing' you. You are welcome to ask BiCon for help regardless of whether you attempted to challenge anything, as we know doing that is not always safe or easy.

We will listen to what you think would help, but there will be no pressure for you to find solutions for us.

Examples of things we can d:

  • Challenge the behaviour with the person.
  • Tell others that there is a problem.
  • Ask for an apology.
  • Ask someone to leave you alone.
  • Require someone to not be in the same space as you.
  • Exclude someone from the rest of this year’s BiCon.
  • Pass someone’s details, or the details of the incident, to future BiCons.
  • Ask someone to attend a training or to do some learning and reflection.
  • Ask someone to repair any damage they have done in some way.

Minor and clearly accidental breaches of this Code of Conduct will mostly result in a discussion and warning by the Organisers. 

More serious misconduct or more poor behaviour after a warning may result in someone being asked to leave some or all of BiCon. If you are asked to leave, you will not get a refund. 

The organisers reserve the right to pass on details of complaints to BiCon Continuity Ltd or future BiCon organisers. 

While the Organisers decision is final, if you feel a complaint has not been appropriately dealt with, you can contact the Organisers or BiCon Continuity Ltd.

Growing as a Community

If you are asked to think about your behaviour for example after offending someone, please try not to be defensive. If you are challenged, it is probably going to be difficult for you, but you will not be as uncomfortable as the person on the receiving end of your behaviour. Try to listen to understand rather than argue. Take time to pause, reflect and apologise. As a community, we need to learn and grow together.

Appendix 1: Examples of sexual harassment

The following are all sexual harassment:

  • Suggestive or personal comments about someone's body or appearance.
  • Sexually suggestive comments, jokes or gestures.
  • Unwanted physical contact such as touching, hugging, stroking, kissing etc.
  • Indecent exposure (showing your genitals to someone without their consent).
  • Sharing images, videos, emails (including those of a sexual nature) without consent.
  • Persistent unwelcome questions about someone’s marital or relationship status, sexual preferences, sexual conduct, or any other personal information.
  • Making someone feel guilty for not doing something (for example, calling someone frigid or accusing someone of being too friendly to justify your misconduct).

Appendix 2: Ways in which someone might indicate ‘no’ without saying ‘no’ explicitly

Things someone might say when they mean ‘no’ could include:

  • "Maybe later"
  • "Perhaps another time"
  • "Oh look at the time"
  • or by changing the subject.

Things someone might do when they mean ‘no’ could include:

  • Staying silent or not replying.
  • Leaving the space.
  • Moving away from someone.
  • Asking a friend over to join them.
  • Taking or pretending to take a phone call.
  • Freezing, sweating, or appearing anxious or scared.
  • Laughing or smiling nervously.