We are tired of online discussions about gender disparities in debate dying out without resulting in any concrete changes. We are tired of sexism becoming the talk of the day, and then fading away as people settle back into their normal routines of cutting cards and trying to win tournaments. We are tired of waiting for someone else to do something, so we are taking a stand now.
The biggest problem is not that tournament rules are written to disadvantage women, or that workshop and institute policies don’t account for sexual harassment (although policies lacking enforcement are meaningless). The biggest problem is the way that we as a community behave. Gender discrimination is so prevalent because we fail to embrace mature dialogue, underestimate the power of disparaging remarks, and stigmatize victims.
We need to examine the way we think and behave as a community; no real change can occur until we do.
I believe that all debaters, judges, and coaches, regardless of gender identity/expression deserve to feel safe and supported at tournaments, at workshops and institutes, and within their teams. By signing this pledge, I promise to:
* Avoid using discriminatory language or slurs when speaking about other debaters, judges, and coaches.
* Be willing to a) point out problematic language when I hear it and b) accept responsibility if I say something harmful out of ignorance or privilege.
* Support efforts to end gender discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment, and encourage others to take a stand.
* Intervene, if I safely can, or tell an adult about situations where members of the community are being sexually harassed or bullied.
* Respect and empower victims to have confidence in themselves.
To sign the pledge, go HERE