Safe Spaces Explained
What are Safe Spaces?
The concept of safe spaces is one that is often ridiculed or misunderstood as an environment that stifles free expression or exposure to differing beliefs or opinions. For our purposes, a safe space is “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.” (Dictionary.com)
Why are LGBTQ+ Safe Spaces Necessary and Important?
Many LGBTQ+ individuals often feel uncomfortable in their daily lives due
to fear of or exposure to discrimination, estrangement, physical or verbal
harassment, bullying, and assault.
LGBTQ+ people’s romantic lives and behaviors are frequently stereotyped,
over-sexualized, and scrutinized.
Social opportunities for LGBTQ+ individuals can often be limited to specialty
bars or clubs, which are not appropriate for those under 21 years of age or
who wish to avoid alcohol for any reason.
Safe spaces provide substance-free, nonsexual, communal environments for personal interaction, social and emotional support, and opportunities for community involvement.
In safe spaces, heteronormative orientation and cisgender identity is not automatically assumed and/or expected.
Safe spaces provide opportunities for free sexual orientation and gender identity expression without fear of discrimination, scrutiny, or unauthorized disclosure.
Within a safe space, it is not necessary for LGBTQ+ individuals to hide or compartmentalize their various identities to fit in or feel safe and respected.
Safe spaces often provide resources and services for individuals at greater risk for violence, self-harm, homelessness, or substance abuse.