APEX works very hard to protect our culture and to make APEX a welcoming space regardless of your kinks, interests or identities. As members, we are held to a higher standard of behavior than people who might meet in other situations.
Like the BDSM/Lifestyle/Kink Community, the APEX Community is made up of a wide variety of people with various education, communication, and experience levels.
While our diversity is one of our huge strengths, it can also lead to many issues in communication styles, boundaries, and levels of tolerance for conduct and behavior.
It is up to each of us to monitor our conduct and language to adhere to our membership agreements. There are lots of tools available, and they all begin with our new member orientation.
For example, below are some important things from your orientation:
- Our orientation reminds us to mind our words. Our unsolicited opinion about other people (either positive or negative) is always inappropriate.
- Orientation tells us how to be a non-interfering spectator.
- Orientation helps us discover how to talk to people without accidentally being a jerk.
- Our orientation teaches us that if someone interacts with you in a way you are not comfortable, it is your responsibility to tell them clearly and draw boundaries with which you are comfortable. It is perfectly OK to say “I am not comfortable, can we talk about something else.”, or some other similar language that draws your boundary.
- Helps us understand what informed consent means, and makes it clear we must take responsibility to make sure our interactions with people have shared enough information so everyone is providing informed consent.
- Orientation teaches us that “No” means “No”. If someone draws a boundary with us, it is our responsibility to respect it without question or coersion. Nothing will happen to us or with us at APEX without our consent. It is our responsibility to make sure that is true for everyone with which we interact. While “no” only means “no”, it is unequivocal and permanent. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”…EVER.
- Orientation tells us what to do if something you see at APEX concerns or disturbs us. We have lots of options! We can 1. Talk to the DM (at a party) or other volunteers 2. Talk to someone you are comfortable with who can explain 3. Take your opportunity to leave the room, or even the building, knowing you will always be welcomed back.
- Each member is responsible for their own well-being. All APEX Members have “The Opportunity to Leave.” If any subject or demonstration makes someone uncomfortable, rather than stay and make others wrong, take the opportunity to leave. This may mean going outside for a few minutes, or leaving for the evening or longer. Because of the variety of subjects covered and the intensity of the subject matter, many people take the opportunity at some point or other, and are appreciated for taking personal responsibility rather than staying and making other’s feel “wrong”.
- What consent means in our club, which is WAY more than “not touching without permission”
- How to handle consent violations of ANY kind, because we want to address consent, EVERY TIME, with EVERY PERSON.
- What to do when you need help to handle a situation. For example, we put up posters with our process for incident reporting. Do you remember where to find that? That process is both on the [APEX website][ http://www.arizonapowerexchange.net/volunteers/incidentreport/] or there are blank forms at the front desk and the front desk staff can help you to send it to the right people!
There are also posters up in the space with tips on How to be a non-interfering spectator, when to mind your volume, and other super useful things.
We are held accountable for our behavior at APEX. It is important that each of us knows what is expected of us while we are at our club.
If you need a refresher, or want some help, here are some things you can do:
- Sit down and watch orientation again! You don’t have to come to a regularly scheduled orientation, just turn on the TV and hit “play” anytime that room is not in use.
- Talk to a member of the Executive Committee if you aren’t clear about what we all expect from one another, or have specific questions.
- Talk to other members! Be open to feedback, and be open to providing other members with feedback. Self-policing is the how so many of us can get along in the same space. Be willing to participate in the process!
If you witness something that is contrary to how we should conduct ourselves, you are within your rights to speak up. It takes all of us to make this club the special place it is.
To support the efforts of every member, APEX will be launching “Membership” events to help everyone be more successful members. Look for announcements about Membership 100, 200, 300 in the near future.