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LGBT Safe Spaces

Updated on June 16, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies and LGBT advocacy.

Everyone Should Feel Safe

As a teacher who is very involved with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance at the schools I've taught at, what occurs to me most of all is that the LGBT community has very few places where they can feel free to be themselves. We as a society talk about it, we try and show "live and let live," and yet in society today, those who identify along the LGBT spectrum generally don't feel safe to be as they are.

"We are with you," President Barack Obama said in his address to the American people following the horrific shootings in Orlando June 12, and it was one of the few times that an American president openly addressed the LGBT community. Yet, there are so many who continue to use derogatory references when referring to those who are gay or make offhand remarks that demonstrate a significant lack of understanding of that particular branch of society.

In my article "LGBT Community Reminded Once Again Why Life Can Be Particularly Dangerous," I talk about how dangerous the world as a whole can be for those who identify as members of the LGBT community. LGBT youth make up a shocking 25 to 40 percent of the homeless youth, while hate crimes continue to dominate in the community - the Orlando shooting notwithstanding.

Safe spaces for everyone need to start somewhere. Parents need to come to terms with the idea that their child may not grow to be the hetero superstar that they had hoped for. Friends need to realize that their friend who has just identified as trans needs their support, not their ridicule.

Finally, if we are to truly stand by the line that "we are with you" when we are talking about support for the LGBT community, we need to stand by that and instead of staring at a same sex couple when they engage in a public display of affection - no different than any other couple in love, they have the right to hold hands and kiss in public just as everyone in society who's in a healthy relationship does - we need to celebrate that love still does exist, in any form.

With all the hatred and cynicism in the world today, wouldn't that be a really great way to start? Just love each other with true respect and affection? It's not just about the LGBT community; it's about all of us. If humanity is going to survive, we need to embrace the idea of just letting people be who they want to be - punish the lawbreakers, sure, but why vilify those who are merely trying to survive life, just like the rest of us?

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