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Brave Space/Safe Space Guidelines

For Critical Dialogue through Conscious Questioning & Active Listening

A "Safe Space" or "Brave Space" is a community where different points on a journey of learning and growing are acknowledged. Community members engage in critical dialogue through conscious questioning and active listening. While all are expected to make their best effort to be respectful, there is an understanding that someone may say something that results in unintentional offense and/or hurt feelings for others. A primary assumption of safe space is that everyone speaks with the positive intent of seeking greater knowledge and understanding.


Participants in this workshop are asked to create a safe/brave space by following these guidelines so that people from different life experiences and ideas are encouraged to learn from one another and challenge themselves.


Modified Vegas Rule

Be respectful of privacy and/or confidentiality. Don't share another person's private story if you are not certain it is for consumption outside this community. Be careful not to "OUT" others (e.g. lesbian, transgender, atheist, immigrant) without their consent. Do, however, take what is learned from others in this community and share liberally.

Move In/Move Out

Everyone speaks once before anyone speaks twice. It is essential to the health of this community that everyone be heard. Some people tend to speak up as their way of "participating" while others tend to listen as their way of contributing. It is important for everyone to step into the dialogue and for those who speak up frequently, it is important to step out and let others speak.

Check Presumption at the Door

What we presume to know about others is often based on stereotyping or profiling and gets in the way of learning. If we set aside our presumptions, we open ourselves up to what is real and authentic. Avoid language that presumes that all people are in the majority (e.g., heterosexual, Caucasian, Christian, male, middle class).

Disagree but Don't Debate

Find points of agreement as well as points of disagreement. We are not here to debate or to establish who is right and who is wrong. Debating create barriers rather than bridges to open dialogue.

One Mic/One Diva

Respectful dialogue means listening to others when they are speaking. Only one person speaks at a time. This means that when someone is speaking there should be no other conversations going on, whether directly or indirectly (through social media).


When speaking, speak for yourself only. This relieves speakers from the pressure to speak on behalf of all others with similar identities and precludes generalizing about people with other identities. Recognize that your experiences, values, and perspectives are unique.

Aretha Franklin Rule

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Validate and support the ideas, feelings, or experiences of others. Strive to learn about experiences other than your own. Ask permission to ask questions about another person's identity or experience (e.g., "would you be willing to tell me more about…?")

Practice Forgiveness

"Oops, Ouch." Remember that this is a community where we are all learning and growing. Assume good intent from everyone.

*Adapted from UC Berkeley Gender Equity Center