For decades, trans people have found solace in communal congregation. Whether in private or out in public, queer communities of color sought refuge in spaces where they knew they would be seen, respected, and protected. Nightclubs and secluded bars gave homes to people that could not comfortably exist in their everyday lives. Often cast away for being queer, trans, or whatever other insensitive reason, these people turned to the safe spaces available to them.
These spaces were necessary for their survival and livelihood. During a time when being queer was strictly prohibited by law, trans people needed places where they could be authentically present. The ball scene of the 80’s and 90’s thrived on an intricate system of mothers and daughters, chosen family, and ride-or-die friends. Stonewall Inn was a notoriously queer bar where people of all walks of life could go and let their hair down. The cisgender patrons of Studio 54 did not exclude members of the LGBTQ+ community from coming out and having a good time. These and few other establishments provided queers with the opportunity to revel in their queerness, and their community, while also garnering resources to stay alive.
Today, safe spaces continue to house the marginalized members of society by giving them the freedom to express themselves, without repercussion. Here, knowledge is shared among community members, healing conversations are had between those that experience similar levels of oppression, and, most importantly, queer people are allowed to be themselves unapologetically.
Watch as Culture Editor Iv Fischer discusses the importance of safe spaces in a new episode of The Trans Agenda.