Back in the day, when we were first starting out the Backup Ribbon Project, we got a question from a girl who asked if the ribbons were only meant to be worn by women to protect other women. The reason she asked was because her boyfriend, who presented as very feminine, got harassed at a con and she wanted to know whether or not he qualified for backup.
We were a bit taken aback at this. Why should anybody have to jump through arbitrary hoops in order to gain protection against harassment or worse? Is there a level below which people get to just shrug their shoulders, say “Yeahhh…you look like you could take care of yourself” and walk away? The entire notion seemed ludicrous.
However, there did appear to be a faction that insisted that only women needed backup. While it is true that the majority of harassment and assault incidents at geek events will be perpetrated by men upon women, that’s not an excuse to forget about other dynamics.
I have too many LGBTQ friends who have been threatened with violence based on their sexual orientation, gender preference, or presentation to turn my back on them.
I have too many LGBTQ friends who have actually *been* victims of violence to turn my back on them.
I have too many male friends who have gotten unwanted attention from drunk women to turn my back on them.
No exceptions. Not gonna happen. Not on my watch.