Hulk want do-over (zanyassmask) wrote in postqueer,
Hulk want do-over

Center Women: Ditch the Written Questions! (an email campaign)

When filmmaker Catherine Crouch last summer made several statements that equated gender transition with political apathy, cowardice, and violence, she said she hoped to have a community discussion about these issues.

But Crouch's film "The Gendercator"--which depicted trans people as coercive, violent, conformists aligned with the religious right--mostly played in venues without inclusive dialogue built in to the programs. And when the Los Angeles film fest pulled the film from its regular program in favor of screening it along with a community discussion panel, Crouch complained that being publicly challenged on her ideas made her feel "unsafe."

Now, a "Gendercator" screening scheduled for the SF LGBT Center this Friday, Oct 26 at 6:30 p.m. that was supposed to foster community discussion and build bridges is being heavily monitored to prevent any challenging exchanges from taking place. Audience members who wish to challenge Crouch's ideas or speak to panelists or each other will be required to submit written questions that will be randomly selected. This is a longtime method of avoiding actual dialogue, often employed by presidential candidates and others who wish to be shielded from difficult questions.

It appears that Crouch would not participate in any event that asked her to deal with complex challenging conversations or see the faces attached to the people who feel harmed. This leads many of us to ask why the goal of the event is being compromised for the comfort of a person who divided our community, especially when SF has a long tradition of organic and productive dialogue in politically charged environments.

A coalition of concerned community members is asking "Center Women Presents"
to revise its "index card" policy and instead allow for open mics and organic community participation at Friday night's event. We fear that the method of requiring written questions to be randomly drawn runs counter to the goal of creating dialogue, because:

1) It sets up the possibility for screening questions.

2) It does not allow us to see who is asking the question, potentially leading to false assumptions regarding tone and the identity of the person asking the question. Such anonymity is what causes email lists to regularly erupt into flame wars.

3) It does not allow audience members to challenge an answer or follow up with a secondary question. In fact, requiring all questions to be pre-written and read by a moderator is a longtime method of avoiding actual dialogue, employed by presidential candidates and others who wish to be shielded from difficult questions.

4) It sets up a scenario where those frustrated by a lack of dialogue have no choice but to protest the process in order to be heard. This paints people with concerns as troublemakers or somehow not community-minded or respectful.

If you want Friday's event to be an organic community dialogue, rather than a pre-scripted presentation, please voice your concerns to event organizers before the event begins.


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