Re: limited-access events in common space
From: Joanie Connors (
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2010 20:34:49 -0800 (PST)
Does anyone else want to use the commonhouse at this time?  Is the
group's presence preventing anything else from happening?

On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 8:54 PM, Rob Sandelin <floriferous [at]> wrote:
> We define events like this as interest groups. There are several and a few
> of them are exclusionary, for example women's gatherings. Never been a
> problem before that I know of here, the exclusion part is not malicious or
> mean, its just a particular interest and nobody seems to mind. The person
> who objects strongly should be asked about what their problem with interest
> groups are. Sometimes its not the particular group which causes the problem,
> it's some other thing that seems only distantly connected but when light is
> shined on it, helps everybody see what the problem really is. For example,
> sometimes political or social things might be causing the discomfort, for
> example a gay/lesbian group could cause objection. Sometimes the assumed
> politics of a group cause people who disagree to keep quiet rather than risk
> their relationships, and bringing out objections over an abstraction is how
> they express their discontent while pretending to go along with the status
> quo.
> Rob Sandelin
> Sharingwood
> Snohomish County, WA
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Muriel Kranowski [mailto:murielk [at]]
> Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 7:34 PM
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: [C-L]_ limited-access events in common space
> We're having an internal disagreement over an issue that is evoking some
> strong feelings, and I very much want to hear feedback from other
> communities.
> The situation is that a subgroup of members who feel they have a lot in
> common (let's say they are "left-handed redheads" or LHR for short) have
> been getting together once a week in the Common House, for a congenial
> snack-and-chat hour. These get-togethers are posted on the community
> calendar and everyone knows about them. The group has made it clear that
> only left-handed redheads are welcome.
> A member who is neither left-handed nor a redhead objects strongly to the
> idea that other members can be excluded from social events that regularly
> occur in a common space. This person would like to join in and have the
> pleasure of snacking and chatting too.
> But if these get-togethers became general y'all-come social events, they
> would no longer be of specific interest to the LHRs, who really value being
> able to talk about their own specific issues in the semi-privacy of that CH
> space.  They feel entitled to this private use of the common space, which
> doesn't appear to inconvenience anyone else.
> Other members occasionally reserve space in the CH for meetings or events of
> external groups that they belong to, and there don't seem to be any
> objections to those events being open only to the members of that group.
> The LHRs' gathering is the first time an internal subgroup has intentionally
> scheduled closed events in the CH and we have no norms or rules about it.
> So, is it legitimate for a self-defined subgroup to meet in a common space
> and exclude other members?  Has this come up, or does this occur, in other
> communities?  And even if not, I'd like to hear your philosophical take on
> it.
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