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Monday, August 13, 2012

A Titanic Misunderstanding

One of my most commented on articles in James and Dana's Second Life Newspaper was "We Don't Allow YOUR Kind Here," dealing with people shut out from locations just because of their appearance. Written a few years ago, it was my observation that it didn't happen as often as it seems, and while often against furry avatars by human sims it wasn't always so.

A few years later, I still get occasional complaints from friends about being made to feel less than welcome at a place. The most blatant example was from May of last year when a friend of mine was banned from a small store in Zindra, "get out of my sim." "What the hell is your problem? … What have I done to deserve this harassment?" "you are a furry that is enough to suspect you are a griefer and a copybot and other bad things too … furrys are annoying malicious griefer copybots" I didn't report on it then as I didn't want to end up accidentally give the small-time store owner more business, and was confident if this was an example of his mannerisms, his unprofessional attitude would soon lead to his bankruptcy.

More often, the complaints I get are of being ignored at a social spot. This might be a mater of perception as some clubs and other public places can get pretty quiet at times. It has still been my experiences most stores and clubs have no problem with furry, neko, tiny, or other avatars. So I was surprised to hear about a complaint about a place I had written about earlier this year: The Titanic.

I had gone to the Titanic sim a few times before, notably when I wrote about it during the Centennial of the real Titanic's first and last cruise. A few friends had the impression the staff of the place didn't like furry avatars. But no one bothered me while I was there. At the docks, it was explained the place had a dress code: formal attire and no child or "animal" avatars. Later when one of the staff was asked, he answered this meant four footed creatures. Furry avatars were welcome as long as they were formally dressed. Also when checking the staff page, they had one neko catgirl among their number.

More recently, one of my friends, a neko, come to me with a complaint, "Did you know that the 'wonderful' Titanic sim  is now banning people just for being a furry?" She and her furry partner had went to the ship, after changing their clothes to formal wear. They went to the ballroom, began dancing, and "we got told to change your av or leave: 'Now I have to ask all the furries to please change avatars or leave the ballroom.' … so much for them being a welcoming place for everyone."

Their response was to get a few friends and make a protest at the dock with signs, "Furs are people too!" It wasn't too long though before they were ejected from the sim, and were banned.

Considering how this contrasted with my earlier experiences, I went to the Titanic that night. It was after the party at the ballroom, and there were only a few people there, though a couple were staff. I was automatically sent a notecard as a reminder about the dress code, but no one raised a peep.

The staff member whom had cleaned up the protest was Joyful Finesmith. I contacted her, and she answered. She hadn't been on the Titanic at the time my two friends were asked to leave, she told me. She had returned only when several regulars complained about the protest. She found the protest amusing, calling it "well organized," but it still had to go. She did say she did inform the owner of the incident and what the protestors were complaining about.

But there was no ban on furred avatars, she explained, "we have several furry couples who come regularly." How could this have happened? Joyful did admit it might be due to an inexperienced hostess whom was confused by what an "animal" avatar met, saying they had a "lot" of new staff. She did add that even avatars not normally allowed sometimes are, saying the dress code is not always enforced away from the ballroom, and on weddings child avatars can be allowed. She also described one pony wedding, saying all they insisted on was that the party be formally dressed.

So it would seem what happened was not a change in policy by the venue's owner. Instead, it would appear to be the result of a single staff member booting people whom while unusual for the place still fit in it's dress and appearance codes, either out of ignorance or possibly malice. It's safe to say if the new hire was uninformed it was corrected, and if done due to prejudice the person will be looking for a new job if this is kept up.

Before closing, of the one place in "We Don't Allow YOUR Kind Here" that asked me to leave, it later began letting only club members enter, and membership cost five hundred Lindens. Five hundred Lindens just to be allowed to go to a laggy hole in the hall, in my opinion. Also at least one roleplay place that once disallowed furry avatars later changed their mind. The now defunct Firefly sim once wouldn't allow them, but later wrote them into their rules so one could play one as character there. When I wrote about the New Bastogne combat role-play, I stated the German army group had a policy of not promoting furs. One of the officers later told me that's not the case, but promotions in the group can be slow as they try to keep the higher ranks small.

Bixyl Shuftan

2 comments:

  1. If it's just the hostess not knowing the rules, she needs to be corrected. If it's the ship's rules, while it's their sim and they can set the rules however they like, what would happen if the ship banned Black avatars? How is this any different?

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