For the Magicians panel on Saturday, I'll be one of the moderators, and I'd like some opinions on trigger warnings. I mean, this panel will need them, so I'm wondering how I should go about this.
My trigger list at this time (may expand): on-screen rape, clinical depression, suicide ideation, suicide attempt, PTSD, animal harm
Potentially adding: drug overdose, semi-explicit violence, institutionalization
I have a preference on how I want to do this, but this isn't about me; this is about my audience and I don't want to risk hurting anyone or wrecking their fun weekend because I was careless. While I think all of these things are dealt with respectfully, there's also the fact that it probably doesn't matter to someone with a rape trigger how it's dealt with. I'm claustrophobic; it realllly doesn't matter if it's a super nice opaque enclosed space with pillows and puppies, if I can't see out and can't get out, I am still going to react badly unless I'm really drunk or taking xanax and can easily go into an obsessive thought spiral that sucks and can last for weeks or months. It's not the same thing, I know; PTSD is much worse, so I'm extrapolating if it's that shitty for me, it'll be hellish for anyone with triggers.
Now, it's not like we're going to show video of anything triggery, it will be confined to discussion, but again, that may not matter to some people with a trigger.
Discuss triggers at start of panel:
This is happening no matter what, just in case; it's not like all of us haven't wandered into a panel and forgot the entire description or we were hanging with some friends and sort of drifted in with them and only belatedly realized this wasn't the panel on creating believable sockpuppets.
(...that would be an awesome panel, btw.)
My plan is to start by going through the most common triggers that the Magicians has (see above) and also ask if anyone has any specific concerns.
Here are my options for more transparency
1.) Putting a list of triggers on the door/outside the door/inside the door:
This has the benefit of giving fair warning beforehand. It could be done in two ways: non-specific ("This panel will contain discussion of some common triggers please ask the mods or you can see fact sheet by the door" maybe???), or specific ("This panel will contain discussion of these triggers [list here]; if there is something else that concerns you, please see the mod").
(Note: but with better wording than those, promise. Hope.)
2.) In addition, I could add a blank sheet of paper people can write down their concerns when they come in so they don't feel put on the spot or feel they have to share something so personal. Then I can check it as the panel starts and address anything that's not covered by the triggers not mentioned.
3.) Or any combination of above or all of it or maybe ask who is going and give them my phone number and ask them to call me so we can talk about it??? I literally thought about doing this, which like, has to qualify as really goddamn weird and I just can't see how this will encourage people to like me and not carefully avoid me while looking spooked and/or wary.
(I want to make more friends, okay? One of my goals for Escapade is to hopefully lure at least one person into friendly email, and if I'm super lucky, chat at night and exchange fandom squee and so forth. So I'm kind of committed to making a good--or at least not uncomfortable--impression.)
Thoughts, anyone? I want this to be as fun and safe and interesting as possible for everyone involved.
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