Con season is upon us, and unfortunately, that means an uptick in horrific stories of people being harassed. People are made to feel unsafe at an event they paid to attend because they have a passion. That, frankly, sucks.
Being that I’m trying to decrease some of the suck output of the world, I would like to tell you about the Backup Ribbon Project.
So, I heard about this from Karina Cooper last year. (Oddly enough, I met Tina, the woman who started the Backup Ribbon Project, at a New Year’s party. Small world.) The Backup Ribbon is a purple ribbon you add to your Con badge to let people know that you are willing to help. If you see someone being harassed, you will step in. You will listen. You won’t judge or say, “Well look what you’re wearing. What did you expect?” I think this is amazing.
Anywho, I’d been talking with Emma Lysyk about it and we were going to do this, but in light of the recent tragedy at UCSB, it seems this is even more important. Next week, at Phoenix Comic Con, I am teaming up with Emma Lysyk to offer Backup badge ribbons.
The Backup Ribbon Project site (link above) says it like this:
If you take a Backup ribbon or you wear a Backup t-shirt, you are promising one very simple thing: You WILL help out anybody being harassed. Gender, orientation, presentation is irrelevant. You WILL find a way to help, whether by directly intervening, getting help from elsewhere, or simply listening the person being harassed. You WILL be there for them. You WILL accept that they believe they have been harassed. You WILL NOT question them or doubt them, You WILL give them whatever help they wish.
No judgement. No exceptions. We got your back.
And that’s what we mean. Emma’s booth (#1838) will not only have her awesome swag for sale, but it is also a Safe Place. If you need help, she or a likewise helpful person will be there. If you are being harassed or do not feel safe, if you need a ride or escort because you had too much to drink, if you are in danger… we want to be your backup. And if we can’t help you, we will make sure you get to the people who can and we will back you up.
So yeah… Emma will be at her booth. I’ll be at my table (#2432) when I’m not at panels, or gaming at night. I am a safe place. I’m an ear if you need it. And I’ve got enough friends on the PHX CC staff that I can get you to Security or whatever you need. We’ll have ribbons on us for $1 each (to cover the printing/shipping costs). If you choose to donate extra it will go directly to the Backup Ribbon Project. Supplies are limited to 250 ribbons. (I will have 125, Emma will have the other half.)
Also, this is not gender specific. Men, women, gay, straight, bi, cis, trans or Siamese… doesn’t matter. We’ll back you up if you need help. Everyone has the right to enjoy their con without being harassed or made to feel afraid.
EDITED TO ADD: When you get your ribbon, selfie that and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #PHXBackup!
Jamie Wyman is a pyromaniac who drinks too much chai. She enjoys writing, circus history, tattoos and has an unholy love of Tom Hiddleston. She also thinks you're pretty awesome.