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Written By: Tasha Amezcua (The Audre Lorde Project), Ejeris Dixon (Vision Change Win Consulting),  Marisa Franco (Mijente), Elliot Fukui (Transgender Law Center)

trans march copyThe massacre in Orlando was a dramatic punctuation of what is now a clear backlash to progressive advances. From increased and persistent violence against LGBTQ people, especially trans and gender non-conforming people of color; religious liberty campaigns, the anti trans bills and the vitriol stirred up during this Presidential election – it is critical we take action as a community to take care, defend and protect ourselves.

We cannot allow this backlash that seeks to send us into the shadows. But the fear and concern in our community is real. One of the most critical needs right now is for information, resources and tools. Concretely, tips and protocols to increase safety are needed. We have options for safety beyond more police, security and surveillance. These tools are designed to empower ourselves to take back the spaces we deem as sanctuary.

Community Organizations and Office Safety Tips

  1. Do an inventory of your organization
    • What types of incidents are your staff comfortable and equipped to navigate?
    • Do folks have verbal or physical de-escalation experience?
  2. Create a Plan
    • Based on your values and your inventory.  Create a plan that includes:
      • What types of harm and violence will you intervene in?  Are there instances when you would call the police?
      • What other support will you gather?  What training do you need?
      • What will you do if the police show up?
      • Decide on point people to make decisions — based on skills and role within the organization.
      • Decide on how will staff and members know that violence is happening if they can not see it?  (i.e. email code word or code words on loudspeaker)
  3. Test your Plan
    • Create a list of scenarios and responses.
    • Practice in real time — consider safety drills.
      • Inform your community and your staff
    • Create and publicly share your guidelines and values for safety in your space.
    • Train all staff — even if they don’t have roles in the response plan.
      • Review your protocol annually – consider including it in your policies and procedures manual — and revise after new incidents.

Pride Safety Tips

  1. Travel with a buddy or in a group-Whenever possible, try to travel/cruise with at least one other person.
    • Make sure you have their number(s) written down and in your wallet or on your arm/hand in case your phone dies or is confiscated.
    • Some folks wear matching hats, or color coordinate for fabulousity and for ease of finding each other in crowds.
    • Traveling/cruising together is also a way to pool resources and create more safety when getting to and from pride.
  1. Have a Safety Plan
    • Make sure your crew  knows the following information about you and you know the following information about your crew
      • Name
      • Legal Name
      • Gender marker on my documentation
      • Birthday
      • Health Needs (e.g. Diabetic, Allergic to cats, etc.)
      • Medication that I am on in case of emergency or arrest
      • Emergency Contact Name and Number – In Case of Arrest
      • Emergency Contact Name and Number – Medical Emergency
  • Your safety plan can also include things you may need in case you experience harm or are triggered during the pride events (e.g. If I am triggered, please make sure I have some water and move me to a quiet space).
  • Your safety plan can also include things like folks who you are in conflict with and who you do not want to engage with, so your crew knows how you want them to intervene or what you may need if you encounter this person (e.g. if so and so shows up, please just stay next to me and encourage me to keep moving away from them).
  1. Have a Designated Meet up Spot
    • Have a spot that is somewhat removed from the inside of the pride festivities that you can all go to in case you are separated.
    • It is a good idea to meet there or convene there before hand so folks know how to find the meetup spot. A nearby coffee shop, or a corner on a less busy intersection, somewhere where you can find each other easily and quickly.
  2. Carry Quarters on your Person
  3. Have a plan for getting home in advance

Safe Party Tips

Safe Party Toolkit Zine, http://bit.ly/SafePartyToolkitZine (print double sided and fold down the middle)

Safe Party Toolkit (English), http://bit.ly/SafePartyToolkit

Safe Party Toolkit (Spanish), http://bit.ly/SafePartyToolkitenEspanol

  1. What kind of violence have you witnessed or heard of at recent parties? What kind of risks do you expect or anticipate at this party? Based on your own and community’s experiences, list the risks to event goers’ safety for a specific event or party. Generally, they can be categorized as “police/state/institutional violence,” “interpersonal/community violence,” and “internalized violence.” You may use different categories.
  2. Know and communicate your boundaries, triggers, and skills ahead of time. This helps the safety team know everyone’s roles and how we can support each other when something pops off.
  3. Plan ahead! Have a meeting to talk through and role play what strategies your safety team could use to increase safety, wellness, and self-determination for each of the risks you listed earlier. Practice your formations. At that meeting, create a safety plan, and talk about exits, nearest precincts, hospitals, safe spaces, public transportation hubs, etc.