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Updates and Clarifications to Code of Conduct Change

Posted July 6, 2018

Last weekend we posted an update to our code of conduct that received a lot of vocal feedback. We want to let you know that we hear and see your comments, concerns, and frustrations. As an event that prides itself on being inclusive, the code of conduct change was born out of the desire to revise all of Kumoricon's policies that affected our attendees based on their gender identity. For 15 years, our previous policy forced staff to make judgment calls on what was a breach of policy based on attendee gender presentation. That should not be the case and we are sorry that this was not addressed sooner.

We want to acknowledge that the recent policy change needs to be clearer and we hope the new image and policy wording provided clears up many of your concerns. We believe this update more accurately depicts our original intent, and we used your feedback to help us determine the best way to express that.

The recent update to our code of conduct changed only one small, but very important, part of our rules. Previously, our coverage rules had a separate diagram and coverage requirement for females, and one for males. The change that we made last weekend erased any differentiation of gender. It was not our intent to make any other changes to our coverage rules or enforcement. After the announcement of this change, we received many questions about particular costumes, as well as questions about existing sections of the code of conduct. Today, we have updated the visual coverage diagram to be more clear, and rewritten a few additional sentences in the code of conduct to help provide some important clarifications.

With this new wording, can you clear up some of our concerns about cosplays like Gray Fullbuster or the Attack on Titan bodysuit cosplays?

It was not our intent to hinder these cosplays to the point that they could not be worn. Gray has a jacket that can be worn over the chest meeting the minimum coverage policy, and it can be removed outside of convention space for photos. The Titan bodysuit was always intended to be allowed, because it has opaque cloth covering all appropriate areas, and we updated our wording to help clarify this point. However, any bodysuit that is so tight that it reveals details of genitalia will not be allowed. We suggest using a dance belt to assist in these cases.

Why are you implementing this now? Have there been incidents?

We made this change due to feedback from attendees, suggestions from members of our community, consulting the policies of other anime conventions, as well as concerns raised by staff and concerns brought to staff. We are not aware of any previous incidents arising from gender identity issues when enforcing the coverage policy, but we wanted to act before it occurred.

Why do you even have a dress code?

We've always had a dress code for health and safety reasons. We've just recently acknowledged that our previous policy was unequal and based on gender, so this year we moved to be consistent with our mission to create a safe and welcoming environment for all our attendees.

Oregon law does not prohibit being shirtless. Why do my breasts have to be covered?

While Oregon law does not prohibit being topless; cities, venues, and events may set their own rules and restrictions. Because we have had a minimal coverage policy already in place, and our venues do request minimal coverage, so we have maintained this policy, but have adapted to make it equal for all attendees. We want to ensure Kumoricon is consistent with its standard of inclusivity and equality while maintaining our respect for all persons in attendance.

No other cons do this.

Quite a few cons have or are moving toward becoming gender-neutral. Colorado Anime Fest, San Japan, and Naka-Kon are just a few examples of conventions that have adopted (or started out with) a gender-neutral policy that inspired the image we are now using to illustrate our coverage policy. After feedback from attendees and staff who felt the old policy was unequal to impose, we resolved to change the policy.

Why'd you make this about Pride?

We decided to announce and promote this change during Pride Month to show our support for our friends, family, attendees, guests, and staff because not everyone conforms to or presents a specific gender. We believe this change to be an important step for our event and to acknowledge those attendees that have felt excluded from our event because of that policy.

Why are you trying to make everything kid-friendly / family-friendly?

Kumoricon has always considered itself to be an all-ages event. We always hope to encourage and support our attendees coming together in a welcoming, safe, and accepting environment where they can celebrate what they love: anime, gaming, and Japanese culture. However, we would like to be conscious of the age demographics that attend our event and not create an environment where people would not feel welcome.

Why did you delete the original post?

With the way social media works, there's a higher chance for miscommunication and misunderstanding. We would like to reduce the amount of confusion the previous post would cause as its content is now, outdated with inaccurate information.

We acknowledge that some of our official social media comments posted in response to many of your inquiries on the original post had some inconsistencies. This presentation is the product of your requests for clarification. Thank you for helping us expand our policies to be clearer.

If you have further questions, our Operations team is equipped to handle specific questions. They can be reached at operations@kumoricon.org

Thank you KumoFam. We'll see you at the con.