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Attending a Pride event can be both an exhilarating and empowering experience, especially for first-timers. It's a chance to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community and its varied history. However, as with any large event, there are always safety concerns, now more so than ever. As we gear up for Pride Month 2023 – and given the current political climate – we at Outer Peace thought it was essential to put together a few thoughts on staying safe whatever you’re doing this Pride Month.
In the current political climate, the LGBTQ+ community finds itself navigating a turbulent sea of conservative backlash. This wave of negativity, fueled by a rigid interpretation of tradition and a resistance to change, poses a significant challenge to the progress made in the fight for equality. It's a stark reminder that the journey towards acceptance and understanding is far from over.
The vitriol and prejudice that often accompany this backlash can be disheartening, or downright frightening, but it's crucial to remember that vigilance is our strongest shield. It's through our unwavering commitment to safety, solidarity, and mutual respect that we can weather this storm.
We must remain vigilant, not just for ourselves, but for every member of our vibrant and diverse community. Our strength lies in our unity, our resilience, and our unyielding determination to protect the rights and dignity of all. In these trying times, we must stand together, ever watchful, ever ready to support and defend one another.
We wish we didn’t have to write these stark warnings and reminders, but your safety is paramount. Read on for our Pride Safety 101 Tips.
Research the location and surrounding neighborhoods
Before attending a pride event, research the location and surrounding neighborhoods to identify any potential safety concerns. Know the routes to and from the event and identify safe spaces along the way. Check the local news and social media for any updates on safety concerns or potential protests.
Make note of emergency exits and safe spaces
Once you arrive at the event, make note of emergency exits and safe spaces in case of an emergency. Identify the location of medical tents, security personnel, and police stations. If you feel unsafe or threatened at any point, don't hesitate to seek help. If you take nothing else from this article, remember this.
Have a designated meeting spot
It's also a good idea to have a designated meeting spot in case you get separated from your group. Choose a location that's easy to find and recognizable. Make sure everyone in your group knows where it is and how to get there.
Consider bringing a buddy or joining a group
Consider bringing a buddy or joining a group to increase safety and support if your plan was to journey alone. Having someone with you can provide a sense of security and make the experience more enjoyable. Joining a group or organization can also provide a sense of community and belonging.
Pride events are a time to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community and its history. By planning ahead and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember, safety is everyone's responsibility, including participants, organizers, security staff, law enforcement – and you.
Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts
When attending a pride event, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Here are some extra tips to help you stay safe:
Don't attend Pride events alone
If it’s possible, don't attend Pride events alone. Try to go with a group of friends or family members. Let someone who won't be with you know your plans for the day/night.
Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings
Keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior or individuals. Be aware of emergency exits and safe spaces. If something feels off or unsafe, it's better to err on the side of caution and remove yourself from the situation.
Report any concerns to event security or law enforcement
If you notice any suspicious behavior or individuals, report your concerns to event security or law enforcement. They are there to help keep everyone safe. If it turns out to be nothing, you’ve at least proven that security officers are doing their jobs.
Trust your instincts
Always trust your instincts. If you feel threatened or unsafe, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Remember, your safety is the top priority and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Know your legal rights and resources
It's essential to know your legal rights and resources when attending a pride event this year. Here are some tips to help you stay informed.
Familiarize yourself with local laws and ordinances
Familiarize yourself with local laws and ordinances that protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination and hate crimes. This can help you better understand your rights and what to do in case of any harassment or discrimination.
Research organizations and hotlines
Research organizations and hotlines that provide support and resources for LGBTQ+ individuals in case of emergency or harassment. Some examples include The Trevor Project, GLAAD, and the National Center for Transgender Equality. By knowing your rights and resources, you can feel more empowered and prepared to handle any situation that may arise.
Be informed about safety guidelines
Stay informed about safety guidelines provided by event organizers and law enforcement. This can help you better understand the measures in place to ensure everyone's safety and what to do in case of an emergency.
Utilize safety apps and hotlines for additional support
To ensure additional support and safety at pride events, it's important to utilize safety apps and hotlines.
Use safety apps
Utilize safety apps such as bSafe and Circle of 6, which allow you to quickly and discreetly alert friends or family if you feel unsafe, while also providing GPS tracking and other safety features. These apps can provide an additional layer of protection and peace of mind while attending pride events.
Know hotlines for support
Be aware of hotlines such as the Trans Lifeline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline that offer confidential support and resources for those experiencing harassment or violence. Having these resources readily available can help you feel more confident and secure while attending pride events.
Remember, your safety and well-being should always be your top priority. By utilizing safety apps and hotlines, you can feel more empowered and prepared to handle any situation that may arise while attending pride events.
Pride is an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to come together, celebrate, and honor the history and progress made towards equality. However, safety concerns can arise at large public events, especially in the current climate. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it's essential to create a safety plan, familiarize yourself with local laws and resources, utilize safety apps and hotlines, and be aware of safety precautions provided by event organizers and law enforcement. Remember, your safety and well-being should always be your top priority. By following these tips, you can feel more confident and secure while attending Pride events.
Stay safe, and happy Pride! And if you see us out and about on the East Coast this Pride Month, come say hi! We’re always a safe and welcoming space.