Gender Free Calling Guide
This document outlines some guidelines around gender free calling, proposed by IVFDF 2019. If you are calling gender free at this event, we very much appreciate you choosing to do so!
Where you find the words "do" and "do not", we ask you to follow those guidelines to the best of your ability, but we do not expect you to be perfect! Everywhere else, we offer some suggestions to make gender free calling work for everybody (including attendees and callers who are not used to gender free calling), but we trust your judgement in making the right call (see what we did there?) for your dance or workshop.
- Gender free calling is an issue of inclusivity and accessibility
- Do not ask people to choose their dance role to be "the man" or "the woman" or other gendered terms
- Do not label people's position as "the man" or "the woman" or other gendered terms (it’s fine to mention how dances are/were done historically, traditionally, or even habitually but make sure there is a clear break in terms when it comes to describing actual dancers in the room)
- Do not ask people to choose the role associated with the gender they are perceived as
- "Larks and Ravens" are not just "politically correct" terms for "Gents and Ladies"
- Although inclusivity and accessibility should ultimately be judged by their impact, trying your best is great. You don’t have to be perfect!
- Consider avoiding gendered terms when addressing the room ("everyone", "folks", "lovely dancers" rather than "ladies and gentlemen"), and especially when addressing individuals.
- Gender free calling should not increase confusion
- Because people may not assume people’s dance role from their perceived gender, do call the dance such that people can "dance with whoever's coming at them" - in such situations, calling gender free will actually *decrease* confusion
- Because of the effort and cost involved, IVFDF 2019 is not facilitating methods to identify roles (e.g. by having bracelets or other markers that can identify who is in what role at a given time). If you feel this would be necessary for your workshop or dance, please facilitate it yourself or get in touch with us to see what we can do.
- Some attendees are unused to gender free calling. In order to provide IVFDF-wide consistency, where possible, do use "Larks" and "Ravens".
- If you use different terms, do make sure to clarify them at the beginning of the walkthrough/workshop and do keep them as consistent as possible across dances.
- What terms should be used?
- For each dance, choose the gender free role terms that make the most sense, whether it's positional related to their partner (lark/raven), related to the set (top/bottom, 1s/2s, 1st diagonals, 2nd diagonals, outsides/insides, etc.), related to some other position in the room (e.g. curtains and windows), or to the descriptive role in the dance (lead/follow)
- Some dances are danced as a couple and don’t appear to need terms for the roles. Look out for figures where the resulting position is affected by dance role (e.g. a partner swing may leave partners in the same place or swap their places, in which case some partners might find it useful to know their role for consistency).
- Figures that include gendered terms to determine who does the figure ("ladies chain", etc.) should substitute the non-gendered term
- In many figures, roles can be avoided with minor adjustments (e.g. in california twirl, it often does’t matter who is the twirler and who is the twirlee)
- When calling based on position, make it clear if you are choosing original position or current position (current position will often be preferred - though this might not be the case e.g. in irish set dancing, 1st raven identifies a specific person, not a position)
Gender Free Calling considerations http://barndancecaller.net/GenderFreeCalling.html
Which terms to use for roles? http://contradances.tumblr.com/post/113203981035/genderfree-contra-dance-term-faq
Thoughts about calling with positions rather than roles http://barndancecaller.net/PositionalCalling.html
Why calling gender free is important ttp://inclusion.folkdancing.co.uk/joe-gender-neutral/
Some thoughts about inclusivity in terms of address http://inclusion.folkdancing.co.uk/inclusive-terms-of-address/
Considerations specific to the Boston ECD community https://www.lcfd.org/gf-ecd-calling-conventions.html