#loveislove #lovewins #safespace
Last night we had our first GSA back in our home location. With our regular dates and hours.
We still were unable to go back into the building of St. Andrew’s United Church. This is where we have held our GSA meetings for the LGBTQ2S youth of our community of Spruce Grove and the surrounding area since January 2018.
We kicked off the evening by having a scavenger hunt, and exploring the vast grounds that we felt much safer meeting at.
Spruce Grove is filled with beautiful green spaces and parks as well as wonderful people. But it just takes one or two people to harm our group and undo everything we have worked to build.
When COVID-19 happened, we stopped meeting until we could get a handle on how we could keep everyone safe. We found the best way to keep our LGBTQ2S youth together was by meeting for pop up GSAs in green spaces. We could physically distance, but still meet as a group. Our kids absolutely need this interaction, especially with schools closed, and the difficulties seeing friends.
When we met in the green spaces or went on walks, it was nice. Our kids had fun at first! But each time I was left with frustration... and lately worry.
The teens across the park that yelled “that’s so gay!” When our kids held up the Pride flags.
The parent who scoffed at our sidewalk drawings, when she was walking with her kiddo and dog.
Then we’ve also had an older gentleman in a truck who just sits and watches us for 45 minutes while we were at Jubilee park the last few times. He eventually leaves each time. But it is distracting to our kids, and it worries me...
So yes... we feel safer, I feel safer in our home location. With access to the building, even if we don’t actually go inside.
Even as we were hanging out and tossing around the beach volleyball, two teens rode by and yelled “there’s only two genders!” ...The only thing that could have set us apart from anyone else was one of our GSA kids was wearing a Rainbow face mask at the time... but apparently we just looked too different.
Our teens need their Safe Spaces just as much as everyone else. They need a place to relax and to be themselves. Sometimes they aren’t able to do that at home or out in public. Sometimes they aren’t able to go by their own names or their pronouns. Quite often our LGBTQ2S kids and adults are very mindful of how they dress, where they go, how they act in public, who they hold hands with, and what they say.
So please... if you see someone, anyone in public who may be doing something, wearing something, singing something, dancing differently, or just having fun a different way than you are used too...
Please smile. Enjoy life. Be happy that someone is alive to enjoy life along with you.