Well, the obvious answer is THEY need a safe space to celebrate being THEMselves in a world that is often harsh to people whom are deemed different.
But the less obvious answer was all around me today.
I went with the Sacramento Author's Group, led by our fearless leader, J. Scott Coatsworth, and met by my amazing friend Kim Fielding.
Mate came with me, as general muscle, and we ventured into the 106 degree heat of the day (Yes, I know. 106 in September is obscene) to set up a booth and sell books, and generally make people aware we're out there. (I know--it seems unfathomable, but people still aren't aware that gay romance is a thing. It surprises me too.)
We kept auspicious company.
Besides the Skivvies Club (underwear--go figure!) we were surrounded by the Coalition for Youth--that's ALL youth, with special services for LGBTQ youth, Women's Health Services--free pap smears, breast cancer screening, and birth control, a place that gave self defense lessons (not pictured), and The Golden Rule, which was a non-judgmental place to go for STD screening, including HIV screening and prevention.
Uh, not to put too fine a point on it people, but these health and counseling services benefit everybody.
Even the Lavender Library, which is exclusively volunteers and donated books, creates literacy and educational opportunities.
There was also a booth for shelter and counseling from and for spousal abuse.
And free drinks at Faces.
And a place in the food court that made kickass fries.
So the more obvious answer is THEY need to be safe. The less obvious answer is that we ALL need a safe place for health care, a safe shelter from violence, a safe person to ask to help us defend ourselves. We ALL need a friendly counseling ear. A place to celebrate. A place to cut loose and be free. A place to dance.
And if you belong to a group that is routinely marginalized, is routinely at risk for having its rights taken away, routinely fighting for basic safety, then this safe place is even more important.
So no--this place was not meant for cis straight men or women. But my husband helped me cart stuff there, and my friend and I talked to the participants and took pictures and marketed our books.
And we were welcomed warmly. And allowed to feel safe.
Safety really SHOULD be a right. Events like Rainbow Fest or Pride are all about reinforcing that idea.
Everybody should have a safe place.
EVERYBODY should have a safe place.
And everybody should have a group of people that treats them with respect and pride.
|The hot, shirtless young men were from Faces-- |
their job was to wander the
streets, look amazing, and offer drink tickets. They
were VERY kind about allowing me to take pictures.
|The even asked me to join in.|