Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality: an invitation to share stories

6 September 2022

PACFA’s Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship, and Sexuality (GBKS) Leadership Group is hosting an online Listening, Witnessing, & Reflecting Space facilitated by GBKS Leadership Group Convenor Dr Gávi Ansara (he/him) and Phoenix (she/her) as part of the PACFA Safety Through Diversity Conference on the morning of Tuesday 15 November.

 What is "GBKS"?

Gender, body, kinship, and sexuality (GBKS) domains include LGBTQI lived experiences, as well as Sistergirls, Brotherboys, fa'afafine, fa’afatama, asexual/ace people, aromantic/aro people, non-binary and agender people (including those who do not identify as “trans”), people with intersex characteristics who seek recognition distinct from “LGBTQ”, polyamorous and/or multi-partnered people, people in BDSM/kink and/or queerplatonic forms of kinship, and many more people who matter.

 Invitation to share stories and insights

 The GBKS group invites practitioners and community workers with marginalised or excluded GBKS lived experiences to share stories and insights from 10am on the GBKS Day of the conference – Tuesday 15 November. Please contact the Leadership Group Convenor Dr Gávi Ansara: [email protected] and copy in (CC)  Deputy Convenor PJ Menon, by Friday 30 September if you wish to share.

 Some people may want to share their story upfront, by reading or telling their own story, whereas others may want to share in a yarning, spiral talk, or ‘fireside chat’ style in an interview with a facilitator, or conversation with a designated person or people with whom they feel safe. This diversity of formats will reflect the diversity of people with marginalised or excluded GBKS lived experiences. There will be short breaks between segments.

 Safety and accessibility for story-sharers and participants

This will be a trauma-informed event, to create a safe environment for our story-sharers. As the GBKS Group begins the event, facilitators will provide an orientation to how they will create safety. Because safety is paramount at this event, newcomers will not be admitted to the event after the orientation. After the orientation, speakers will share their stories in a style of their own choosing.

 All participants will need to follow the Community of Care Guidelines. Story sharers will be able to withdraw from participation at any time. We will also work with our story sharers ahead of time to curate content notices to alert people to potentially distressing content in each story.

 Participants (both story sharers and listeners/witnesses/reflecting partners) will also be invited to complete an accessibility needs survey and provided with a brief running sheet in advance of this event to increase accessibility for people with neurodivergent and disability needs.

 Why a Listening, Witnessing, & Reflecting Space?

 PACFA is committed to the ongoing process of improvement through listening and reflecting on the insights of people with marginalised lived experiences, so that all practitioners can feel welcome and safe in the PACFA community. We know that people and communities with lived experience are the best authorities on those experiences.

 The GBKS Leadership Group hopes to address some issues related to privilege, oppression, and exclusion through listening to, witnessing, and centring the voices of practitioners and community workers with diversity in GBKS lived experience. 

 The group hopes that centring and elevating the feelings and perspectives of practitioners and community workers with historically marginalised or excluded GBKS lived experiences will provide a healing and supportive experience for the professional community to witness and validate their stories.

 Conference participants who bear witness as reflecting partners can engage with new perspectives that increase understanding and capacity, reflect on how our community can repair historic ruptures, and contribute toward building safer, more liberating professional environments within PACFA and the wider communities we serve.

Read more about the PACFA Safety Through Diversity Conference, 14-18 November - registrations will open soon.

Read more about the conference and a Q&A with Conference Committee Chair, PACFA Secretary Nigel Polak.