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Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop

Home of Word power Books

Safer Spaces

Lighthouse aims to create a respectful, understanding and kind space where all people feel able to discover books and authors, express themselves and ask questions without fear of reprisal or humiliation.

As a bookshop we want to be a safe, empowering, welcoming space of discovery for all readers, especially those of us traditionally on the margins. We believe open debate on many things is vital, however having the right format for dialogue on challenging, deeply personal topics is crucial for such discussion.

So we do curate our events. Although we do not know or necessarily agree with all the opinions of all our speakers – by offering our bookshop as a platform we are at the very least showing a degree of trust and respect, inevitably giving speakers a certain credibility. We do not take that responsibility lightly and will never knowingly give an unchallenged platform to individuals whose ideas we view as problematic.

Our Safer Spaces Policy

This document is a guideline, it draws on the policies of others, including Sisters Uncut and the Edinburgh Autonomous Centre, and it should change as we learn and grow.

It should tell you what you can expect from Lighthouse and what you commit to as part of our community. We have high expectations of how we behave towards each other in the shop and at our events.

Please know, we will not wait for issues of harm to happen but will proactively challenge oppression & hierarchy in everything we do. Our bookshop and our events should be inclusive and supportive spaces for all, and in particular women (trans, intersex and cis) and all nonbinary, agender and gender variant people. Self-definition is at the sole discretion of that individual.

The Booksellers and volunteers at the Lighthouse form a diverse group. Like our readers some of us experience different kinds of oppression & violence at the same time, including racism, disableism, poverty, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as others. These oppressions are not separate from each other which can be exhausting & painful. We want to create a community that recognises and challenges the oppression & exploitation that some of us are harmed by and some of us benefit from.

We define the following as abusive behaviours which are not tolerated in the Bookshop or at events:

Verbal abuse

  1. Personal insults – Insults or aggression towards an individual.
  2. Oppressive language –This includes (but is not limited to) any racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or disablist language, including misgendering. The reason for this is not “political correctness” or fear of criticising people’s values. The real problem with such language is that it normalises prejudices and recreates the very hierarchies that we aim to oppose, as well as creating a space that is unwelcoming to anybody outside of a narrow demographic.
  3. Verbal Harassment, sexual or otherwise- repeated uninvited personal comments or requests. 8.Verbal abuse in writing – all of the above in written form.

Physical abuse

  1. Violence and threat of violence – unless in self-defence.
  2. Use of force and threat of force – unless minimal to protect users of the bookshop.
  3. Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment

We ask the following of all readers, speakers and performers in the Lighthouse:

  • Consent; before you touch anyone or discuss sensitive topics ask if they are comfortable with that. Don’t assume your physical & emotional boundaries are the same as other people’s.
  • Be aware of your privileges; including less obvious or invisible hierarchies. Think about how your words, opinions and feelings are influenced and who they might exclude or harm.
  • Calling out; if you have acted or spoken harmfully, even if unintentionally, someone will bring this up with you. If this happens, listen and reflect on what they are saying even if you think they may be wrong. Don’t try to absolve yourself of responsibility.
  • Learning; if you don’t understand something, just ask. You may be directed to a book, website or skillshare to learn more. We are each responsible for our own learning and if we feel able, for sharing it with others.
  • Security; please don’t use the names/details of people who have been involved in organising or attending events without their permission. This makes sure that journalists, Police or other unknown people don’t hold information that could put individuals at risk of harm.