Are you feeling uneasy about going to public spaces or events during Pride Month? We get it. We know hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly trans people, are on the rise, and that can be scary and isolating. But here's the good news: You're not alone. And more importantly, there are things you can do to protect yourself if you ever feel threatened or bullied. Want to learn some tips and tools for staying safe? Let's dive in!
1. Trust your gut instincts
Your instincts are your best tool when it comes to staying safe. If you feel uneasy or sense danger, don't ignore those feelings. Trust yourself, and either remove yourself from the situation or seek help immediately.
2. Be aware of your surroundings
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to be aware of what's going on around you. Pay attention to who is around you, and if you notice anything suspicious, leave the area or get help.
3. Keep your phone charged and with you at all times
Your phone is one of the best tools you have in an emergency. Make sure your phone is always charged and with you so that you can call for help if you need it. If your phone is older, consider bringing a small power bank and cable to keep your phone going strong all night long!
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you feel like you are in danger, don't hesitate to ask for help. Contact the authorities, call a local domestic violence shelter, a crisis hotline (i.e. The Trevor Project or Colorado Crisis Services), or call a trusted friend or family member who can help you. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
5. Know your legal rights
It is important to know your legal rights as an LGBTQ+ individual. Familiarize yourself with the laws in Colorado or your area that protect you from discrimination and hate crimes. You can find a directory of local, Colorado legal professionals here. This knowledge can help you take action if you are ever a victim of a hate crime.
6. Look out for one another
Most threats come from outside of our community. But let's be real, we all have learned messages that may have influenced our internal biases. We may unknowingly hold onto racist, homophobic, or transphobic beliefs. That's why it's crucial for us to be aware of these biases and work to challenge them. It's important for us to look out for each other and celebrate our diversity.
Here's a tip: try the "P.A.U.S.E." method to build your awareness. Practice this technique in everyday situations, even when you don't feel threatened. The more aware you are of your internal biases in different situations, the better equipped you'll be at identifying appropriate response options.
Remember, there may be more response options than you initially think. Let's all commit to being mindful and supportive of one another. Together, we can create a safer and more accepting community for all.
Harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes are scary and isolating, but you are not alone. Trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings, keep your phone charged and with you, don't hesitate to ask for help, and know your legal rights. These are all important tools to help you stay safe in difficult situations. Remember, you are valuable, you are loved, and you deserve to live in a world where you feel safe to be yourself.