Yeovil Diversity Project are proud to display the Safe Space Alliance logo as we have been verified as a safe space for LGBT+ people. By being a Safe Space, we are making it known that we support the well-being of the LGBT+ community; we accept you, we celebrate you, we value you – and we are you. While we champion many causes here at YDP, one of the things that unites all of our current trustees is that we all identify as being somewhere on the LGBT+ spectrum.
Why do we need Safe Spaces? Many LGBT+ rights are relatively young and, as we have seen in the UK with the current assault on the basic human rights of our trans siblings, not always a constant we can rely on. There are also people in the LGBT+ community who have lived through a period without certain rights and as a result have been impacted negatively in some way. Damage may have been done, and healing takes time.
Regardless of how many LGBT+ rights a place in the world has, this doesn’t necessarily equate to acceptance of the LGBT+ community. There are individuals and groups out there who will refuse to accept our community for various reasons, and it’s important that people know where they can go and be their authentic selves. Anxiety takes its toll on emotional and psychological health; feeling like you need to have your guard up at all times can be exhausting and emotionally taxing.
Safe spaces can provide a break from judgment, unsolicited opinions, and having to explain yourself. It also allows people to feel supported and respected. This is especially important for marginalised groups, such as members of the LGBT+ community. We’re looking at creating safe spaces for other marginalised groups as we continue to grow.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, 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.” Our events take place in public spaces and venues open to everyone, and we can never guarantee 100% that nothing bad will ever happen if you are spending time with us. No-one can. What we can guarantee is that if anything happens; we will not be silent, you will not be alone and we will do everything we can to protect you from any kind of harm.
We work with business and venues that are LGBT+ friendly and that we have spoken to in advance to make sure that if any homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse were to take place, that they would support us and do whatever was necessary to keep us safe; including removing perpetrators from the premises and calling the police, in line with a victim’s wishes.
The vision of the Safe Space Alliance is “To live in a world where the LGBTQI+ community can freely express themselves without fear and be free from violence, bullying, and hate speech no matter where they are.” We’re doing our bit in our little corner of the world to make that a reality, and we’d love you to join us in it.