A while ago somebody started a movement in fandom called The Backup Project. You can put a Backup Project ribbon on your badge, and what it signals is that if somebody finds themselves targeted by harassment or otherwise feeling unsafe at the convention, you will back them up: be their conversational partner to get them away from the dude who won’t shut up, escort them to where they’re going so they don’t have to walk alone, etc.

I never remember to get and wear one of those ribbons, but as this post by Laura Anne Gilman has reminded me to say publicly, I am totally willing to be your backup — or “leverage,” as Seanan McGuire suggested, after the TV show. If you are in that kind of situation, you can walk up to me and ask for leverage. Doesn’t matter if I’m headed somewhere or in the middle of a conversation; once I realize what’s going on, I won’t hold the interruption against you.

I will listen to you.
I will be your safe space.
I will walk you to the nearest security person you feel comfortable with, and stay with you until you’re okay.
I will follow up on what I know.

This kind of thing probably wouldn’t have helped Mark Oshiro, given the nature of the appalling litany of things he and his partner were subjected to at ConQuest 36. But his account of the ways that he was belittled and harassed all weekend long is a very pointed reminder of the crap that goes on far too often at our conventions, and for somebody else? This might be exactly what they need.

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