Now, more than ever, it’s important to speak openly about things we can do to make the world a better space for those most vulnerable. Right now, it feels like a week doesn’t pass without another story about LGBTQ+ violence or assaults on women.
It is our responsibility as allies to work towards safer spaces. There are a thousand ways we can all support this. Even though I’m currently focusing on making events safer, it can also be how we behave as a participant of events or just as a member of the public. Whether at a conference, a club night, or a community event organised by the community, a recent post from Tina Edwards made me think long and hard about what I can do to help make people feel safer.
When asking someone to participate in the production of an event, more consideration needs to be given to how that person interacts with the event, the environment, and its organisers. How do they get to the venue? How do they get home? Are they met and escorted in unfamiliar surroundings to ensure they feel safe? Are the travel (and accommodation if applicable) arrangements put together in a way that they feel safe?
I am acutely aware that I don’t have to think about whether the shoes I’m wearing are fit for running away from danger due to my own identity. Or whether I have excess baggage on me that might make this more difficult. I don’t have to think about how speaking on a stage puts me in increased danger due to my visibility. I probably wouldn’t question someone gifting me a drink in the same way others would.
There are so many thoughts surrounding how to be safer that must go through the minds of so many. The onus is not on those vulnerable to make these environments safer, and it is institutionally wrong to expect them to. I wanted to document this somewhere as a pledge. To show that effort is being made to make events (and wider communities) safer.
If you’ve got any more thoughts on things I should be considering as part of this, please get in touch.