I'm no longer participating in events that are mostly men with only a few women, or mostly white with only a few minorities. If you think your event might have this problem, please let me know and I'd be happy to make recommendations for other artists or speakers who might be appropriate.
Thank you so much for considering me for your event! I’m honored to share my work, and I get excited when I have the chance to meet or be included in a group of old and new friends whether it’s at a festival, exhibition, or conference.
But as much as I enjoy it, there’s one problem I’ve seen too many times: events dominated by men*. That might mean having mostly men on stage, either during a panel or as speakers, or exhibiting work mostly made by men, or even hosting a workshop attended mostly by men.
I’m guessing that the above will not describe your event, and that organizing an inclusive event is a clear priority. But with this note I want to be proactive about encouraging diversity. I want to make it clear I feel strongly about this, and must refuse to participate if you do not.
If you are aware of this issue and plan on doing your best to address it, I’m happy to know you’re giving it some thought. But if this still results in a significant majority of men, I will cancel.
I can’t tell you what the right numbers are because every event is different. I do know that audiences get more out of panels and speakers when they can see themselves in the people on stage. I know that a token speaker isn’t enough, and that small events aren’t exempt. That in workshops, participants are more comfortable when they can relate to others in the room. And when browsing an exhibition, some kinds of appreciation stem from shared experiences that emerge from our identity.
Advertising your goal of creating an inclusive event can help, as does creating opportunities for people who would not be able to attend otherwise. I’m happy to discuss more and share some of my experiences or make recommendations if you think creating an inclusive event might be difficult.
Thanks for taking a moment to read and consider this rider, and I look forward to joining!
* To be more specific, it’s almost always cisgender heterosexual able-bodied white men.