SGSC-Accessibility-Policy

Accessibility Policy

I take accessibility seriously and am constantly learning and updating/upgrading whenever I can. Influenced and educated by those much smarter and less ableist than myself, I take the approach of universal design: aiming to make schedules, communications, and the physical environment usable by as many people as possible. As I become aware of information and situations, detailed, up-to-date information will be posted on this web page.

See an opportunity to better my events and want to make me aware of it? I invite you to email me directly or via side-channels at support@ReidAboutSex.com. I really do welcome questions, communications around extra assistance needs, observations, and requests. It is because of the generosity and courage of others who have spoken up that I have been able to grow and improve myself and my events.

Unfortunately, I can’t make an entire event barrier-free. As educators and event organizers, we are often limited by finances, volunteer and paid staffing, and the obstinate limitations of reality. As FogCon says so eloquently on their website: “…sometimes the accommodation essential to one person (a helper animal, for example) is a barrier to another (those allergic to animals). Let us know, please, if you encounter difficulties or if you can offer suggestions or help.”

At a minimum, I strive to offer these accommodations:

  • This is a camp… So we do our best to make sure classes, meals and restrooms are as accessible as possible. Depending on the layout of the campground, this will vary. For example, pathways may have tree roots to navigate, and stone steps carved into a hillside may be of non-equal distances. Please contact us to determine if we can accommodate your needs.
  • Reserved seating in classrooms to help those who need to see or hear, or need specific types of seating because of disability or size. (If the venue doesn’t have the seating you need, you may ship in something that would work for you. Please coordinate with us so we can be on the lookout for you!)
  • A No-to-Low Scent Policy for those with scent sensitivities (essential oils only when needed for health).
  • Lists of ingredients wherever possible for those with food allergies, and meals designed to accommodate a variety of needs. And the Sex Geek Summer Camp Application, which everyone receives upon registering, and which is mandatory to complete to be officially accepted to Camp, has a section for you to educate and alert us to your food needs, which we will endeavor to do our best to accommodate!
  • A wide array of food choices to maximize your chances to find nourishment that is both safe, comforting, and luscious.

Minimizing Stress and Maximizing Comfort

The weather both inside and out varies a lot. Bring layers to add in on chilly nights or when a rainy day makes things damp and cold. Feeling hot? Subtract layers or sneak off for a dip in whatever nearby water source is available… We invite you to plan accordingly to ensure you’re comfortable in the wide range of weather both inside and outside. Forgot something, or the airlines delayed your luggage? It’s Camp! Ask a fellow Camper if they’ll share!

Mobility

Again, this is a campground. The campground venue varies by year. We work with the venue to make the event as accessible as possible. Please contact us to determine if Camp will be a good fit for you. We love problem-solving and getting creative when we can!

Listening

For the convenience of speech-readers, we will reserve seats front and center as needed. Microphones are used whenever possible. If you need an ASL interpreter, please contact us at least a month before Camp starts. It takes time to arrange. Contact us at Support@ReidAboutSex.com for any such or other accommodations.

Seating

For those who need specific types of seating because sitting on the floor or on a bench isn’t comfortable or good for their bodies, areas in the back and along the sides of the teaching area are reserved for chairs. The venue may or may not have chairs that accommodate all disabilities or sizes, or may have them in limited number. If you have a specific need, please contact us about seating. In years past, individual campers have shipped in folding camp chairs to the venue for their needs and it’s worked great!

Eating

The menu has been chosen to allow a broad spectrum of delicious foods. You should be able to find gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, as well as options for omnivores. The Camp Application, which Campers get emailed to them immediately after registering, and which must be completed before you’re officially approved for Camp, includes a pretty comprehensive list of food needs you can choose from, with room for you to describe needs we might have missed.

Depending on the Campground, we try to provide access to a Camper Fridge so people can bring specific foods as well and keep them cold. Please check with us if you want to confirm this is available. Space is often limited.

We will do our best to post ingredient lists and avoid cross-contamination; however, we cannot guarantee how people handle food in the buffet lines.

Breathing

Our No to Low Fragrance Policy balances two needs. For some members, fragrances trigger asthma, migraines, or illness. Some members need to use fragrance to manage pain and mood. Please leave scented products at home if you can do so without detriment to your own health.

Quiet Time

Most areas are designated Quiet after 11pm and before 6am. No amplified music or sound outside after 10pm. Exceptions are Bon Fire Night near the lodge, the Play Space, the Teaching Area, and the swimming areas. We recommend you don’t camp near these places if you want quiet.

Are service animals allowed at Camp?

It depends on the venue. Camp’s Westcoast venue is able to accommodate service animals. Animals that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a service animal are allowed at this year’s venue. We endeavor to make Camp as inclusive and accessible as possible. Please let us know in advance so we can properly plan. Depending on the policies of the venue and the needs of attendees, when and if I can, there may be service animals at my events. If there are allergies that can’t be dealt with by taking allergy medicine, or other issues or concerns, please contact me at Support@ReidAboutSex.com.

Potential Barriers that Remain

Given whatever our fiscal limitations are and the venue for a particular year, and given the reality that sometimes one member’s accommodation is another member’s barrier, we can’t make Camp perfectly accessible to everyone.

We don’t want to make promises we can’t keep. And, we do want you to know about these potential barriers so you can make informed decisions.

“No” is not the same message as “we don’t care” or “we don’t believe you” or “we’re comfortable ignoring your needs.” Reid and the Camp organizers have, and will continue, to wrestle with these issues and seek out the most elegant and empowering upgrades and solutions they’re aware of. Contact Support@ReidAboutSex.com for background on these remaining barriers:

  • This is a partially outdoor event in the woods. There may not be 100% wheelchair accessible paths to all areas, and tree roots and pesky rocks have an agenda of their own. We do our best to accommodate different needs and we ask you to email and verify we can help you safely attend if you’re uncertain.
  • While we do our best to be scent-free or low-scent, we do allow some essential oils when needed for health reasons.
  • Some toilet and shower facilities are labeled “Men” and “Women,” and we recognize, as Sex Geeks, that humans don’t divide that neatly.
  • We cannot guarantee microphones in all areas.
  • It gets dark at night and not all pathways are lit. PLEASE bring flashlights or headlamps, etc., to illuminate your nighttime forays.

Allies: How Every Member Contributes to an Accessible Event

The most significant barriers can be created by thoughtless behavior, inaccurate assumptions, inexperience with and naiveté about people with disabilities. Part of Camp’s community values is to create an event that is accessible and a community that supports accessibility issues.

We all learn contradictory messages about people with disabilities. Disabled people are the archetypal “other”: the fate-worse-than-death, the sainted and spiritual, the cursed and amoral, the sub-human, the super-human, the sexless and the over-sexed. These conflicting stereotypes support a weird stew of fear and fascination. All members create a universally accessible event by paying attention to our own behavior and attitudes.

Offer help—don’t assume it’s needed. Most of us are taught to “help the handicapped” but not to ask “does this person want or need help?” If you think someone may need assistance, just ask. If they say yes, don’t make assumptions; instead listen to the details of what the person with disabilities wants. If they say “no thanks,” don’t be offended. What might look overly complicated or inefficient can be what that disabled person finds works best.

Don’t assume people with disabilities want or need fixing. Campers with disabilities are here for the same reasons non-disabled Campers are: to invest in themselves by geeking out and learning about better business practices, to build community and network, to rest and relax, to build some amazing Camp memories, and to have fun!

Bad ways to start (or continue) a conversation:
“My nephew cured his fibromyalgia with a yak-milk diet.”
“Don’t they have a wonderful new medicine for that?”
“Why take drugs when you just need a positive mental attitude and lots of masturbation?”

Better ways to start (or continue) a conversation:
“What are you looking to get out of attending Camp?”
“I see you’ve got an Android phone. How do you like it?”
“Don’t I know you from Twitter?”

Privacy. Please respect others’ physical and emotional boundaries. Do not lean on someone’s wheelchair or move it without permission. Be aware that sudden hugs, tickles, or touches from behind can be seriously triggering to folks (for example, someone with PTSD) and that you don’t know what someone’s lived experiences are unless they’ve shared them with you. Those with scent sensitivities or plant/animal allergies may have severe reactions to having such things around them or thrust in their face. Do not ask how someone became disabled or assume their experience is the same as another person with a similar disability. If you are wearing essential oils for health reasons or clothes covered in animal hair and are asking for or agreeing to receive a hug from someone, inform them of what you’re wearing so they know before they get too close. These protocols seem nit-picky and nuanced, but they allow us to help others avoid adding unwanted stress and distress to their Camp experiences.

Respect Reserved Spaces. Chairs marked with a persons name are reserved for those who must sit up front in order to lip read or hear. Spaces in the back may be reserved for chairs that help people who can’t comfortably sit on the floor. Please leave aisle ways clear so people can safely get through. Don’t create traffic jams, please.

Maintain clear paths. Camp provides fantastic opportunities to talk and network, but clogged entranceways, hallways, staircases, and groups waking in ways that take up an entire path make navigation time-consuming for all, and impossible for some of us. Tuck your belongings along the sides of an area, or directly in front of your feet or under your seat/backjack. As a community, we can kindly remind Campers gathered in entranceways, stairs and pathways of the need to share the limited space so all of us can move freely. When moving to participate in group activities, photo opportunities, etc., be mindful not to “rush the stage” and give folks who need more time to move locations time to “get their first” rather than having to navigate a crowd.

Share the air. Smoke and scents travel quickly, and air won’t move nicely just because you asked it to. Washing your hands after smoking makes a difference. The venue provides a smoking area with seating and containers to dispose of your ashes and butts. We ask that you limit your use of scented products if you can do so without negatively affecting your health. For those of us with asthma, migraine, and chemical sensitivities, fewer fragrances, vapors, and particulates help improve events dramatically. Some of us smoke, and some of us don’t. The more mindful and savvy we are of such things as a community, the more our combined efforts help create a kick-ass event that everyone can attend!

Share wha’cha know, if you’ve got the bandwidth. Universal Design simplifies life by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal Design benefits people of all ages and abilities. Reid welcomes input on how we can incorporate universal design more fully into his events. If you’re feeling called to it, feel free to send Reid resources and links you think kick ass to Support@ReidAboutSex.com.

Speak up! You don’t need to have a disability to advocate for access. If you see barriers, feel free to suggest how to clear them—whether this means talking respectfully to other Campers, alerting Reid or the Support Team at Camp.

Many thanks to the Fogcon Access Team, who very kindly gave us permission to use and adapt their fine document on accessibility.