Samantha Roberts.

Why an LGBTQ safe space is important in Revelstoke

Samantha Roberts writes about why she hosted an LGBTQ & Allies get together at Castle Joe Books last week.

By Samantha Robers, Special to the Times Review

On Thursday, June 26, I hosted an LGBTQ & Allies get together at Castle Joe Books. (LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, but is inclusive to pansexual, questioning, two-spirited people and people who would prefer no label, etc… and allies are people that support them.)

The purpose of hosting this SAFE SPACE get together was to have an environment where people could meet without prejudice or judgement. The activities during this time were open for but not limited to having discussions, researching and finding books on LGBTQ and allies issues, reading poetry or plays, acting out skits, painting and creating art in all its forms, and planning group trips outside of this monthly get together.

Since the creation of this space I have fielded many questions, such as, “Since when are you gay?”, “are there that many gay people in Revelstoke?” and “why do we need to single people out by having a group? I have no problem with gay people”.

I am by no means an expert, I don’t have statistics, so I don’t know how many LGBTQ folks there are and quite frankly it’s doesn’t matter, but I still try to answer the first and the latter.

The first question is one that is of importance because it shows the social norm of having to categorize and label. This is the question and frame of mind that keeps allies from coming and being supportive. (I’ll be happy to chat with anyone about social justice and social inequality another time.) It also, in many cases including my own, keeps people from coming out and living in their norm.

Revelstoke needs this group because invisibility is not the same as integration and acceptance. Visibility is the first step to living OUT in the open. People need a place to express themselves that is safe from fear, judgment and violence.

It’s important for allies to attend as well because they are our individual safe spaces. You don’t have to have a huge knowledge base on social justice issues (that’s a whole other group), you just have to care and be supportive.

Businesses and community partner’s can show opposition to discrimination by displaying a small rainbow flag in their window or doorway. Just a quick reminder that the rainbow sticker on a business is recognized worldwide as the symbol of a safe space that is free from discrimination, judgement and violence — whether it’s shopping, doing business or otherwise. It does NOT mean you are having a pride parade in your lobby.

Thank you to those of you that attended, took posters/rainbow flags, gave me positive feedback and plan to attend in July, and thank you to the folks that helped me with donations and ideas.

I will be hosting $2 drop in nights from 7–9 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month, making the next get together July 24 at Castle Joe Books. If weather permits we will be doing poetry/play readings and possibly painting in the courtyard. There will be snacks and refreshments provided.

 

Just Posted

2019 Budget: Revelstoke city staff recommending a five per cent property tax increase

Additional options that would expand services total another six per cent

Liam’s Lowdown: My housing story

I always ask for people’s housing situation in Revelstoke, so I thought… Continue reading

Stoked on science: Resolve for your resolutions

Jade Harvey Guest columnist As we progress further into January and the… Continue reading

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

Revelstoke Secondary School enthralls the audience with Trap

With a twist ending that had audience members laughing, perhaps uncomfortably, the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Heavy snowfall expected for Coquihalla, Okanagan valley

Coquihalla highway, the Connector, and Highway 3, from Princeton to Allison Pass are getting snow.

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Video: Runaway Coquihalla dog returned to owner

Archer, the dog found roaming along Coq. Hwy. on Jan. 19, has been reunited with owner

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Province proposes Shuswap cannabis retail outlet

BC Liquor Distribution Branch pursues new store at Salmon Arm SmartCentres site

Most Read