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Ottawa Area Center For Pride Safe Space Guidelines

(Approved by the Board of Directors, August 9, 2022)

*Based on the work of Eric Law, The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb


We are not here to debate who is right and who is wrong. We are here to experience true dialogue in which we strive to communicate honestly with one another. We invite you to open your hearts and minds to experience new ideas, feelings, situations and people even though, at times, the process may be uncomfortable. We promise to be honest.


While our leaders provide structure and our panelists and speakers have in depth knowledge regarding our subject matter, everyone at the table is an equal and valuable contributor to the discussion. We promise to be equals.


We recognize that we might have preconceived assumptions and perceptions about topics being discussed and about other people. Some are conscious; some are unconscious. We invite you to be aware of how they influence the way you listen and interpret others’ words and actions. We also invite you to be aware of how these assumptions affect the way you speak and act in the group. In doing so, we can better maintain our respect for and acceptance of self and others as valuable human beings. We promise to be respectful.


We invite you to listen intentionally. We hear at a rate of 400-600 words a minute, but most people speak at a rate of about 125 words per minute. That makes it easy to start thinking about other things – our response, for example – when someone is talking. We can expand our listening sense to include not just words but also feelings being expressed, nonverbal communication such as body language and different ways of using silence. We promise to listen.


We invite you to take responsibility for what you say and for your own feelings as they surface. Most of us have “hot buttons” that set us off, often without our fully understanding why. When that happens, it’s difficult to enter into open discussion and truly consider opposing views. We sometimes mistake our hot button reactions for conviction. But hot buttons are about feelings, not careful reasoning or examination of the facts. When your buttons are pushed, simply communicate the feeling without blaming others. In doing so, members of the group can hear and learn constructively the consequences of our words and actions. We promise to be responsible.


We invite you to hold the personal information shared here in confidence because only in this way can be feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts. We promise to keep confidential information to ourselves.