On Inclusive Spaces & Products

If you really stand for inclusivity, listen to those within your space or team who have the smallest voices. When they point something out, your first reaction should NOT be defensiveness, or "wait, tone it down".

This was originally a Twitter thread posted on May 21, 2020.


This is a bit of a personal manifesto.

To create an inclusive space or product, one needs to have the following things: a critical eye for blindspots and how their privilege creates them, an awareness of their own quirks and flaws, an openness to learn from them, and a willingness to call these things out.

An inclusive space or product is not one that "caters to all". That is impossible. To think that you can and should do this is inherently minimizing and harmful, especially since attempting to cater to everyone usually means catering to the cishet, white, neurotypical majority.

If you really stand for inclusivity, listen to those within your space or team who have the smallest voices. When they point something out, your first reaction should NOT be defensiveness, or "wait, tone it down".

If you're gonna hire or welcome POC, queer, neurodivergent, disabled folks, and folks from other marginalized populations only to tell them to "tone it down" or "be careful what they say" about your space or product in the spirit of "inclusivity", you're not being inclusive to them.

Something of note: the tabletop roleplaying game scene in the Philippines has this strange belief that being "inclusive" = the fun and comfort of the majority takes precedence. Folks who wish to participate but don't fit, give constructive criticism towards the management and curation of the community, or call out bad behavior are told to shut up and endure for everyone's sake.

It's wrong to expect that when you hire us, you're buying our silence over the things that affect us directly, and the issues that are close to our hearts or lived experiences. The more there are eyes on your space or product, the more you should look at yourself & what you stand for.

I've had the pleasure thus far of working with folks or groups who seem to understand what inclusivity really means - or at least they are willing to listen. They've made me feel confident that if there is an issue, I can approach them about it and feel like I have been heard.

I'd sooner walk away from a space/project or disavow it completely than let someone silence me on the pretense that they are paying me. This especially applies when I know what I'm saying is right, and that there really IS a problem.

You can take this money back. I don't want it. I don't need it.