We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2018 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the southern Appalachian Mountains. DIRECTIONS TO THE GATHERING ARE HERE (and contain road closure info, and other critical information. This post is updated frequently so check back for the latest.To learn how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Explicit Consent: putting being an ally before attraction

Today's guest post was written by The Professor. Enjoy!

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Going to the gatherings I am always excited at the prospect of interacting and networking with other humans.

The level of attention that most people give you is one of the aspects that really distinguish it from most of the rest of my life, whenever I am where I am not already surrounded by friends or family. Strangers taking time to actually make eye contact and smile, generally prepared to do some conversing.

Generally I feel that there is a high level of respect, but there are camps and individuals who don't seem to hold all the tenets of consent as dearly as my peers do. Some people come to pray for peace and others really just want to party.

Last year we decided to have a consent circle. We had another that got relabeled "How to have great sex, and talk about it" in an effort by some to lure in "creepers", the big irony was the name change was not done by consensus.

At vision counsel the topic of consent and creating a better culture came up and these were some things we could agree on:

  • We practice peace. 
  • Education about consent allows us to better respect others' boundaries and to seek nonviolence in all actions.
  • We in this circle reaffirm our vigilant loving commitment in ourselves to a gentle and conscious approach to our personal interactions, our circles, and our choices.
  • In consideration for the health and well-being of all who gather, we, as peacekeepers, lovingly and kindly urge respect, discernment, and discretion, in ourselves and others, especially with regard to the use of sacramental and or mind-altering substances.
Spend much time at the gathering and you will notice the disparity of male to female bodied people. With so few females it can feel like if you don't jump on the first one that smiles at you, you might go without. This is a reason it serves to be extra sensitive in acting on any attraction without explicit consent. Some people love hugs and touching but others really value their personal space and the power to chose both when and how they are touched.

This is so important in conjunction with the freeze response: some people don't go into flight or fight more but instead just don't react. In such cases a person might not even be able to tell you to stop the behavior that is triggering them.

I find myself to be a hopeless romantic and fall in love with the admirable qualities of individuals on a regular basis, I also place high value on touch and find great joy in massage and cuddling. So I understand the urge to want to say the beautiful poetry that a muse has inspired, but it is important to consider what you want out of the reception.

The part of rejection that I fear is imposing on another person. To get a no is just a useful data point, that lets me know that person isn't interested in me or some certain subset of activities with me.

Even with all my emphasis on explicit enthusiastic consent, I as a 6 ft 160 lb male bodied person have been pressured into going further then I wanted.

Thanks to my privilege I have always been able to physically leave, slow down, compromise, or talk my way out of it. Sometimes though I let my affection and desire to not hurt someone's emotions convince me to go further then I would.

Mostly creating a better culture of consent is important for everyone everywhere, but at rainbow I think we have a chance to really make some rapid advancements.

On the basic level consent is important just so the sensitive and gentle people will be asked for hugs rather then hope they don't freeze and can't even ask you to stop.

More specific to courtship, the more open the conversation and the more observant to your partners' desires, the better the experience.

I like to think of touching and really all interacting with another is a game: a kind of logic puzzle where the goal is to make the other person feel as good as possible and the rule is to only do what they would want you to do, and the best method is asking and observing.

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