There's been a lot going on in the geekysphere with sexual harassment recently. Lurkerbynature posted an excellent summary last week, so I won't repeat what has already been said.

But I did want to draw your attention to John Scalzi's convention attendance policy. He's already provided a place for Elise Matheson to speak about her experience with harassment and reporting it, so his feelings about sexism in scifi are pretty well known. But now he's decided upon a more direct way to tackle the problem: by refusing to attend (either as a guest or as an delegate/attendee) conventions that do not have and enforce a clear sexual harassment policy.

... moving forward from this very instant, the following will be a hard requirement for my being a panelist, participant or Guest of Honor at a convention:

1. That the convention has a harassment policy, and that the harassment policy is clear on what is unacceptable behavior, as well as to whom those who feel harassed, or see others engaging in harassing behavior, can go to for help and action.

2. That the convention make this policy obvious by at least one and preferably more than one of the following: posting the policy on their Website, placing it in their written and electronic programs, putting up flyers in the common areas, discussing the policy at opening ceremonies or at other well-attended common events.

3. In cases when I am invited as a Guest of Honor, personal affirmation from the convention chair that a harassment policy exists, that it will be adequately publicized to conventiongoers, and that all harassment complaints will be dealt with promptly and fairly, with no excuses or rationalizations for delaying action when such becomes necessary.

Why? Because I want my friends and fans to be able to come to a convention and feel assured that the convention is making the effort to be a safe place for them. I want my friends and fans to know that if someone creeps on them, there’s a process to deal with it, quickly and fairly. And I want my friends and fans to know that I don’t support conventions that won’t go out of their way to do both of these things. I want them to know that if I’m showing up as a guest, it’s at a convention that has their backs.

John Scalzi is a big name in scifi and he's a genuine draw for convention attendees, so his refusal to participate in cons without a harassment policy is a serious financial incentive for conventions to develop and enforce real sexual harassment policies. And even more importantly, this encourages the wider community to take the same stance and brings attention to the fact that harassment policies are needed. It's also started a good conversation on Twitter (though I wish there was a hashtag to help keep the conversation going and amplify it a little).

So thank you for this, John Scalzi. It was needed.

ETA: Here's a useful Con Database that lists conventions and their policies!

ETA2: Lurkerbynature also pointed out this exhaustive list of links to posts and discussions and Twitter convos.

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