Sometimes, we don’t tell you everything.
Sometimes, it’s important to just tell a few folks. Sometimes, it’s safer to just tell a few folks.
I remember the first time I offered a Safe Space program at a school where I was working. This school, while made up of strong allies in LGBT communities, struggled in its dialogue about identity and LGBT inclusion.
Here was the rub, ya? Here we have a need to talk about and openly support our friends and family who identified as LGBT; and we needed to guide our community its own identity exploration.
So, for the first year, I just told a few folks. I just told a few folks that we would be doing “this thing called Safe Space training.” I didn’t advertise it. I didn’t want to make it political. I didn’t want to make it inflammatory. I didn’t even want to make it official. Because, official meant, quite possibly, that it wouldn’t happen.
That first year, we gathered people together and shared experiences, strategies, and insight into being LGBT or being allies. It was wonderful. It was important. And, it was necessary.
The next year, we made it a bit more public. We emailed it. We didn’t quite put it on the front page of the website, but we did advertise it through formal networks.
The next year, we had a waitlist.
The next year after that, we had to get a bigger room.
The next year after that, we had to offer multiple sessions in those big rooms.
The next year after that, no one had know that there was a time when we had to just tell a few friends.
It is so important, in the first time/year, that we are intentional about the support of people and groups. For example, a colleague of mine had asked, “Liza, people want to know why you didn’t advertise that you were hosting a Parents of Children of Color Group. Why didn’t we tell everyone that Park was doing it? It sort of feels like it’s hiding it.”
Well, yes. For some, it’ll feel like we are hiding it. For others, (and its this group that I’m more interested in including), it feels safe.
Sometimes, only telling a few feels safer.
Sometimes, only telling a few means we can build community interest from within.
Sometimes, I’m not thinking about what the majority wants, but what the minority needs.
Peace and Park,