A “Safe Space” or “Brave Space” is a community where different points on a journey of learning and growing are acknowledged. Community members engage in critical dialogue through conscious questioning and active listening. While all are expected to make their best effort to be respectful, there is an understanding that someone may say something that results in unintentional offense and/or hurt feelings for others. A primary assumption of safe space is that everyone speaks with the positive intent of seeking greater knowledge and understanding.
No Outside Sharing –– Be respectful of what others are posting on this site, while it is generally okay to reference another’s story within the boundaries of Project TRANSlation, it is not okay to spread another member’s private information, or story, outside of this site. Do, however, learn and listen from what other’s say and make sure to be respectful of their choices and individual situation, and share with discretion.
Random Chat Invites –– Be sure not to randomly invite someone to a live chat session without getting to know them and asking for their permission first. In order for this to be a safe space, we need to make sure that people have the ability to ‘give permission’ to be contacted, it is after all, their right to refuse. Don’t be hurt if someone wants to keep to themselves, it’s not your job to open them up. They will when they wish.
Watch What You Presume –– What we presume to know about others is often based on stereotyping or profiling and gets in the way of learning. If we set aside our presumptions, we open ourselves up to what is real and authentic. Avoid language that presumes that all people are in the majority (e.g., heterosexual, Caucasian, Christian, male, middle class).
Disagree But Don’t Debate –– Find points of agreement as well as points of disagreement. We are not here to debate or to establish who is right and who is wrong. Debating create barriers rather than bridges to open dialogue.
Speak For Yourself –– When speaking, speak for yourself only. This relieves speakers from the pressure to speak on behalf of all others with similar identities and precludes generalizing about people with other identities. Recognize that your experiences, values, and perspectives are unique.
Aretha Franklin Rule –– R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Validate and support the ideas, feelings, or experiences of others. Strive to learn about experiences other than your own. Ask permission to ask questions about another person’s identity or experience (e.g., “would you be willing to tell me more about…?”)
Be Empathetic –– Try to understand where someone is coming from even if you’ve never experienced it before. Showing empathy fosters good communication and stops the urge to fight dead in it’s track. Remember that everyone is a unique individual in their own right, and their beliefs and experiences deserve just as much understanding and respect as yours.
Practice Forgiveness –– Never assume that someone has bad intentions right off the bat. Everyone is generally good until they are offended, and inevitably you or someone else will be offended at some point. Forgive and forget, however, and move on. Practicing forgiveness is difficult at times but it is necessary to stop things from getting out of hand. You might just make a friend after it all anyway!
Everyone Deserves a Voice –– Don’t hog the mic, be aware of how much you are controlling or leading the conversation. Everyone deserves a voice, including you, and you will be able to have a turn again! Be mindful of your chat sessions with other members and make sure to let them have a voice as well. Everyone needs to get something out!
Political Correctness –– Everyone has a different way of wording things, there is generally more than one way to refer to something. Chats can get way off track when someone makes a point of their way being the only “correct way.” The LGBTQ+ community is full of wonderful terms and labels for everything, and remember that sometimes there are more than one. Don’t be a stickler about it!
Understand, not Understood –– Seek to understand others, instead of seeking to be understood. Ask questions to seek clarification when you don’t understand the meaning of someone’s comments. Be as objective and fair-minded as you can be.
If anyone has any other suggestions of things we can add to this list to keep it a safe space, please let me know and we will grow with it!
@natalie, on behalf of Project TRANSlation and all of our valued Members.