By Sylvere ap Leanan, based on input from members of the vampire community
(Intro by Michelle Belanger)
This document was written in response to feedback and input from a number of community leaders involved in a networking group called the GVN, or Global Vampire Network. Although the GVN eventually ceased to be an active group, the principles covered in this document remain relevant to the community at large.
We recognize the intrinsic value of everyone, regardless of age, sexual orientation, color, spiritual philosophy, or gender. We do not adhere to or promote any particular religious or political creed. We strive to create an atmosphere in which individuals are not only free to create their own meanings, values, and convictions, but are, in fact, expected to do so. However, it is shortsighted to tell someone to think for him or herself without also providing some tools for building. To that end, we have created this document.
If we want others to respect us, we must be willing to offer them the same respect. Our beliefs evolve from our own experiences so there is no one set of “rules” that is right for everyone. We won’t always agree with each other and there’s nothing wrong with that. We promote fair treatment of others and keeping our minds open to their views. It violates our principles to accept or encourage arrogance and conceit. We will not grant respect to those who prove themselves unworthy of it.
Each of us is responsible for his or her own words and actions. We must be honest with ourselves and those with whom we come into contact. If we lie, we show disrespect to others. We will not tolerate those who lie to us or about us because this demonstrates that they do not respect us as individuals.
“No man is an island.” By the same token, no member of our community, whether vampire, donor, or enthusiastic advocate is isolated from the rest. What each of us does reflects not only on ourselves, but on the rest of the community as well. We discourage gossip, both the spreading of rumors and listening to them. We encourage everyone to be him or herself. We believe that adopting a phony persona robs us of the opportunity to form genuine, lasting bonds with others. We encourage more experienced members of the community to help those who come seeking knowledge. However, we recognize the existence of sensationalistic media and its threat to our safety and that of our loved ones. We expect those members of our community who appear in public, whether through print, film, radio, or the Internet, to conduct themselves in a responsible manner.
We, vampires and donors alike, are committed to protecting the safety of ourselves and our families. We will make every effort to educate ourselves on safe feeding methods, including but not limited to: basic anatomy, first aid, and prevention of HIV and other diseases.
We will not put ourselves or loved ones at risk by:
- feeding from those who carry a disease, whether it is HIV or a common cold
- allowing others to feed from us if our health is in any way compromised
- feeding from anyone who is intoxicated or otherwise unable to give informed consent
- failing to practice safer sex or feeding from those who do not practice safer sex
- feeding from someone whose psychological health may be harmed by it
- failing to screen donors carefully, taking into account both physical and mental health
- drawing unfavorable attention to ourselves by either flaunting what we are in an inappropriate setting or exposing ourselves to those who actively seek to exploit us for their personal gain
Copyright 2007, Sylvere ap Leanan. Reprinted in
Vampires in Their Own Words: An Anthology of Vampire Voices, edited by Michelle Belanger (Llewellyn, 2007).