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What would you like to do?
17th July 2020
As a cis, white, straight, middle class, able-bodied man, I recognise my royal flush of privilege.
I'm very lucky. I was born into a loving and supportive family and I've had remarkably few obstacles
put in my way. Had I not been born with all those advantages, I probably would not have achieved
everything that I have achieved.
Representation is important. I understand that for various reasons it is not easy for events to
create agendas with speakers that fully reflect their community. I also understand that the community
is divided on how best to solve this problem. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I also don't
know what the right balance is between sharing my own knowledge and making space for others.
However, I do know that there are lots of events that I could support, and that I prefer to support
events that make a genuine effort to be inclusive, and I prefer to support events that achieve some
level of success. I know that I do not want to contribute to agendas that are overwhelmingly filled
with white men like me. That perpetuates ideas and biases that reinforce unconscious, or even
conscious, biases that negatively affect many people.
I also recognise that I am a fallible human. Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I'm careless.
Sometimes I'm selfish. No-one is perfect.
I choose to publicly share my Personal Speaker Inclusion Policy in order to be transparent with
everyone and accountable for my choices. With this policy I do not attempt to solve all the
problems, and I recognise that I have much to learn about how best to use my privilege for good.
However, it's better than nothing.
This policy is a living document that will be updated as the world evolves and as I learn how to be a
better ally.
I promise that:
1. I will only speak at events that have a Code of Conduct, Anti-Harassment Policy or other similar
document that is prominently displayed, covers all participants, and is proactively enforced.
2. I will only speak at events where the agenda is not overwhealmingly filled with white men. I
choose to define that as follows:
2a. Conferences:
At least 1 speaker per track/room, per day must be a woman, a person of colour, or a person
from some other underrepresented group.
2b. Meetups / User groups:
At the time that I accept the invitation to speak, at least one of the previous 5 speakers
must be a woman, a person of colour, or a person from some other underrepresented group.
2c. I recognise that the numbers defined above are still biased heavily toward white men. The
intention is not to define good. The intention is to draw a line under which I do not feel
comfortable.
3. I will only speak at events that offer some form of encouragement or extra support for new
speakers. If I am invited to take part in a speaker mentoring program I will accept.
4. I will use closed captions whenever I am presenting with a slide deck.
5. I will only speak at events that offer free conference tickets to any unpaid speakers on low
incomes.
If an event does not meet these criteria, I will politely decline the invitation to speak. If anyone
reads this and notices that I have not been true to this policy please either email me at
alex.yates@dlmconsultants.com or publicly tweet/privately DM me at @_AlexYates_ according to your
preference.
If I break my own policy, I will publicly apologise on my blog and on Twitter. If there is still a
reasonable amount of time before the event for the organisers to find a replacement speaker, I will
ask the event to invite a different speaker to take my place. If it's too late to practically find a
replacement speaker, I do not know what I will choose to do. However, I promise to reflect on why it
happened and to try to respond in a way that supports the community and promotes inclusivity.
Alex Yates
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