What Makes A Place 'Safe' For LGBTQ Community?

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 3:45pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 4:36pm
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(Courtesy Candace Hansen)
Candace Hansen

In the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, there has been a lot of discussion on the continued presence of homophobia in our society.

For some, the shooting is a reminder that many members of the LGBTQ community face the threat of violence in their day-to-day lives. In many communities, there have long been efforts to carve out safe spaces.

To learn more about safe spaces and why they’re needed, we talked with music journalist Candace Hansen. She wrote about safe spaces for The OC Weekly and spoke with Steve Goldstein on KJZZ's Here and Now.

What is a safe space?

"It's a space generally in underground or music culture when you walk into the physical space, it's known or agreed upon by all people who are entering the space that there is no racism, no sexism, no homophobia, no trans-phobia and no violence allowed in these spaces."

Why are they needed?

"Yes, we're living in a post-marriage society, but it doesn't mean just because I have the right to marry my partner that I'm going to be free from the violence or discrimination that exists within people."

"They give a place, at least, for everyone to have a moment of feeling safety, and people who don't actually exist in marginalized communities, they actually get to have that all the time. They get to go out and have their band apply to try and play on a show and actually get a response back and hit on someone in public and not be murdered over it."

"The immediate effect of walking into a space and seeing people like you, who are maybe 10 years older and realizing for the first time, that you could have a future. I think that that was the biggest thing I ever got out of a safe space."

On what everyone can do right now: 

"I think the biggest thing you can do is go back into your communities and say something when people make homophobic comments. Because the reason that violence against queer and trans people is accepted is because of all the little things that make it known that being gay is not OK, that being gay is a punchline, that being gay is an insult, that being gay is bad."