Community Safety: Its Simplicity and Complexity

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

  • Learn about the actual and perceived conditions of violence, and the expectations of safety, that the LGBTQ community experiences 
  • Learn from those who have hands-on daily experience with these issues – and not just the study of the issues, but experience providing protection, remedial action, and experience with suffering that is the result of hate crimes as well as family abandonment and community neglect  
  • Learn about a visioning workshop created to help a community reflect on and imagine what a hate-free space would be and look like using an innovative public-engagement and community-visioning method that uses art-making as its medium

MORE COURSE DETAILS

In spite of progressive policies and increased cultural sensitivity, generally, homophobia and violence against the LGBTQ community in the U.S. and around the world persists. A general tenet of community planning is to promote the health, safety and welfare of a community, and a specific mission of several APA National Divisions is to provide a voice to the issues that minority and disenfranchised populations face.

This course provides an in-depth look at actual and perceived conditions of violence, and the expectations of safety, that the LGBTQ community experiences.  The course includes speakers who have hands-on daily experience with these issues – and not just the study of the issues, but experience providing protection, remedial action, and experience with suffering that is the result of hate crimes as well as family abandonment and community neglect. 

The issue of safety and protection from harm and violence is not new to the LGBTQ community, and is in fact, a shared experience and interest comprising a continuum that stretches between fear and activism, long defining our community as “a community.”  Recently, Orlando, Florida’s community was the victim of a hate-crime attack of unprecedented proportions. In response, James Rojas developed a LGBTQ “Place It!” Workshop to help the community reflect on what we do and do not take for granted, how our perceptions vary and how they seem to compare to the American norm, how this has changed over time, and how we can address it socially and through planning and design. 

But direct attacks are only part of the broad range of issues our community must address.  One example:  Ali Forney.  Ali was a homeless gender nonconforming youth, who had been forced to live on the streets at the age of 13. He kept a close group of friends and educated anyone he encountered about HIV prevention and safe sex. Ali took pride in helping others like him. Ali was well known by the police because he aggressively advocated that the NYPD investigate a series of murders of other homeless queer youth he had befriended. Carl Siciliano, met Ali while working as the director of a homeless youth drop in center.  In December of 1997, Ali was murdered on the streets. He was 22 years old. His tragic death called attention to the atrocious conditions for homeless LGBT youth in New York.  In 2002, committed to making a difference and honoring Ali, Carl founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC), which houses and protects homeless LGBT youth living on the streets of New York. The AFC Street Outreach Team educates teens about safe sex and HIV prevention; and the AFC provides medical and mental health services, volunteer mentors, educational and career programs, and life skills training to transform the lives of these young people so that they may reclaim their lives and never live on the streets again.