Privileged folk ridiculing safe spaces is so funny as if men don’t refuse to enter “girly” stores and have “man caves”, as if white people don’t avoid black neighbourhoods, as if straight people don’t ostracise gay people from their social circles, like who’s really the one with the safe spaces lol

if you have people in your communities who make you feel unsafe or like you cannot criticize them, especially if they have risen to positions of assumed authority and leadership, question that.

people don’t make you feel uncomfortable for no reason. talk to other people in your community about them. you will likely find other people who feel the same. you may find the reason why you feel that way.

question people’s actions in an individual context. be critical of anyone who values ideological purity over kindness. be critical of how people use their identities to assume intellectual authority or silence others.

be critical of people who wield academia and intellectualism to gain power within our spaces. just because someone speaks eloquently or uses big words does not mean what they say is right.

abusers exist in every space. they exist within safe spaces. they exist within radical spaces. they exist within friend groups. they assume the language and behaviour of any group they are in and use it to their advantage. they will make you feel ignorant, they will make you feel like youre being oppressive if you question unsafe behaviour, they will make you feel “less radical” or less deserving of space. they will make you feel like your feelings and opinions and autonomy are unimportant.

be wary of this. please. i have started seeing this too much within trans/social justice/radical spaces.

if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, no matter who they are, even if you feel like you “dont have a good enough reason” to feel that way - talk to someone about it.

tl;dr: I regret ever bringing my Judaism online, because I’ve lost my safest space and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back. This is long, but *shrug* I found it helpful to spell out.

The Internet was the first place where I came out.

The first place where I shared my fiction.

The first place where I felt a part of something bigger than myself.

The first place where I felt activism could be meaningful.

The first place where I wanted to connect with other people.

The first place where I felt safe talking about mental illness.

The first place where I felt safe talking about survivorship.

The first place where I felt safe talking about Judaism.

I’ve started and stopped this post many times over the last six weeks. I wanted to write a “where do we go from here?” post after the Kate Breslin and Nazi Romance issue in August.

But that dragged on, and then there was the concentration camp diet suggested, and then there was Gawker, and then there was a diversity advocate in the YA community last night who flat-out said the only reason that his problematic comments on Judaism/Jewish people were getting attention was “Things that trigger Western ppl are attcked. Things offensive to non-W are not as much.” I’m not linking because he gave a public, heartfelt apology and genuinely listened. He does not deserve to be attacked.

Here’s the rub: it’s a constant build-up of microaggressions and microassaults. It is having to say, “Please do not tweet the Nazi flag into my timeline” when you’re pretty sure that should be a given. It is having to say, “Please stop emailing stories about your Good German Relatives.” It is having to say, “No, I do not want to watch your documentary on whether or not gas chambers were actually used.”

Every. Single. Week. after a lifetime of hearing, “But you don’t look Jewish!” and “At least you’d have survived the Holocaust!” and “yeah, I guess your nose is kind of Jewish.” “Are you cheap because you’re Jewish?” “Your parents only did that because you’re Jewish.” “Well, you’re only half Jewish so I guess it’s okay.” “Wow, your mom must really feel like she failed you if she’s Christian and you guys all grew up to be Jewish.” “You’re not Jewish because your mom isn’t Jewish.” “Oh Jews are okay with queer people?” “Wow, are you scared to fly into Germany?” “Do you like killing Palestinian children?” “Wow you must hate Arabs.” “I bet you laughed when we invaded Iraq.” “Why are you against the war? Don’t you Jews all hate Arabs?” “Why don’t you live in Israel?” “At least you know a lot of lawyers if you get in trouble.” “You’re such a JAP.” “You’re going to be a good Jewish mother because you’re so pushy.” “So you like effeminate guys then?” “You Jews control the media. Just call up your friends.” “Why did your people let the stock market crash?” “Why did you guys kill Jesus?” “Do you talk about killing Jesus at Passover?” “You’re trying to Jew me down.”

It’s traveling in Europe and telling your classmates that they can’t tell anyone you are Jewish. It’s one of them forgetting and shouting about your Judaism in a restaurant in Croatia. It’s the entire restaurant going quiet. It’s you wondering if you will be safe to walk to the bathroom right then. It’s you wondering if you’re safe to travel to a certain country in Europe. It’s you wondering if it’s safe to go to a Kosher market. It’s you walking past police to get into your place of worship. It’s the swastika on your locker. It’s it’s it’s

It’s the bus driver asking you where your horns are.

It’s a tour guide looking at you and saying “Well, we don’t really have a problem with Jews now,” when you’re standing in a genocide site.

It’s someone you consider a friend sending you a link because ‘there’s a debate about whether gas chambers were actually used.’ And his shock when you are horrified.

It is someone capitalizing off the deaths of your relatives, and reveling in it as they publish and refuse to change the racial slur in the first line of their book.

It’s running a diversity campaign and refusing to talk about, support, RT, or address Jewish issues.

It’s running a diversity campaign and failing to protect a dedicated chat space. So much that the contributors go into another, locked and private space, to have the chat and then to post the results when completed.

It’s running a diversity campaign, and then using racially charged language against people in your community.

I try to live my life without regrets. I don’t like them. They sit wrong with me. As a result, yes, I am not a risktaker. I play it safe. And I regret that too. It’s a vicious cycle. I can tell you this:

I have no regret in 2015 bigger than my decision to bring my Judaism into the public sphere. That is, Twitter, Tumblr, and my online spaces.

In doing so, I have destroyed in six months what took me sixteen years to build: a safe place where I can be my most genuine self. Because the constant barrage of anti-Semitism aimed at me, inside my communities, or brought to my attention (intentionally or unintentionally, and I say this without judgment to those involved) is unbearable. It has made me dread every notification, every mention, every email, every vibration and light of my phone.

I am lucky. In general, I can ‘hide’ my Jewishness in public. With blonde hair and blue eyes, I am not your average American’s racial (racist?) stereotype of what a Jew looks like. If I mention it, there’s inevitably, without fail, a microaggression that follows. I know I am lucky to pass. I know I am lucky that the online spaces are where I feel most at risk for my Jewishness.

I do not pass as a non-disabled person, a non-mentally ill person, or a heterosexual person. In the real world, I do not pass for these things, and for these, I fear for my safety, my job, and my privacy. The online world accepts these, but not my Judaism. Or at least, not me being loud about my Judaism. It’s fine if you aren’t loud. It’s fine if you’re not mentally ill, as long as you’re normal at a party. It’s fine if you are queer, as long as you don’t hold hands with your girlfriend in public. It’s fine if

If you do not hold up a mirror to our own faults.

If you don’t make me look at me.

I’ve had more kind comments than cruel ones, it’s true. More people saying I’ve opened their eyes to issues of anti-Semitism in the United States than people who have emailed me Holocaust denial, Holocaust jokes, tweeted swastikas at me, etc. But the cruel ones, the offensive ones, the hate…it sticks to your mind. It bends your back. It sinks into your bones. It exhausts you. It drains you. It destroys.

I don’t know how to make my online spaces safe again. I don’t know how to rebuild what I once had. I don’t know how to ignore things, now that I’ve spoken out about them. What I once emailed a friend about so we could rant in private, I’ve now spoken publicly about. And it now feels like a responsibility, for those who can’t. Both those living, and those killed in the genocide that is being used daily to manipulate, coerce, twist, and generate money.

I’ve thought a lot about how to be better at allying. Ally as a verb, not as a noun. I think and I hope I’ve gotten better at listening and following other discussions and signal boosting. I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I am trying to do better, for my own part. Possibly out of guilt, and maybe that’s not the best reason, but also because I want to do better. I was lucky: for years online, I just hid my Jewishness. And it was possible to hide my Jewishness with my last name and my appearance. But many others can’t do that. And their last ten years online are my last six months. How some of you have survived, I don’t know.

Every time I think my community and world will settle down again, it doesn’t. It might not. Twitter is no longer a place where I find my people and dread strangers. It’s where I dread my own. Holocaust denial from strangers? Sure. Whatever. Delete, block, move on. I’m never going to engage with a Holocaust denier. That’s a fruitless exercise and I have better things to do with my time.

But when anti-Semitism—intentional or unintentional, it honestly doesn’t matter to me right now, even if that’s wrong—comes from friends or from diversity advocates within the literary community, that’s where my heart’s hurt. That’s where I find that I no longer want to be a part of this. I no longer find this something enjoyable. I no longer enjoy getting to know new people in the community.

Because I no longer trust that they’re not one of these writers who wants to spend their afternoon telling me about their Good German family. Or how they’d love to support me but because of Israel killing Palestinian children (“here’s a photo, for example”), they won’t. Or how it’s sad that someone can’t put a swastika on their house. Almost as sad as 11 million people murdered by Nazis.

I wish my “this is what happened in the Summer of Anti-Semitic Bullshit” walkaway post was “And here are the good things that came of it.” Good things? I made a few new friends. And I’m grateful for those friendships. I am! I feel like a negative Nellie.

But right now, my takeaway is: I wish I hadn’t written that blog post about Kate Breslin’s terrible book. I wish I hadn’t seen it, or heard of it, or read about it. I wish it had stayed an obscure hit amongst evangelical readers. I wish I hadn’t supported someone who a week later tweeted a Nazi flag and then said exactly what was said during the Nazi Romance drama: that Jewish issues only get attention because we’re a “Western” religion.

I’ve learned over the last six months in the literary community is:

1. It is more important to the community if you are kind, than if you are heard and respected.

2. Your experiences are ignored or invalid if they are not endorsed by an organization

3. People do not perceive or believe anti-semitism to be damaging, hurtful, or violent because it happens to a majority white or passing white people.

4. Invisible marginalized identities are considered less valid, less truthful, and less important than visible ones.

5. I sacrificed a safe space in order to defend myself against racial stereotypes and erasure. And there was no other way to do it.

Jewish issues don’t often get addressed in literature. There are few YA books about Judaism or Jewish characters that aren’t related to the Holocaust. Your Holocaust bestsellers are written by non-Jewish people and/or centered around non-Jewish characters. Number the Stars. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The Book Thief.

Don’t google. Name me a YA fiction bestseller about a Jewish character written by a Jewish author. Name me a YA fiction bestseller about a Jewish character written by anyone. Tell me you haven’t made a joke about a Jewish lawyer, Jewish doctor, Jewish nose.

Maybe I should have been nicer. Maybe I should have been kinder. Maybe I shouldn’t get angry when people use racial slurs against me and my people. Maybe I shouldn’t—

I have regrets.

How to Be an Inclusive Comic Book Store

So, with all this discussion about how alienating comic book stores can be, here is a super anecdotal, but I think useful, list of ways stores can be more inclusive. Some of these can serve as signs of a welcoming environment for otherwise wary customers and others as advice for people who work behind the counter.

1. You’re a store, not a private club-house

This is one that boggles my mind the most about the gatekeeper culture. We’re businesses, we should be constantly working to expand our customer base. More customers means more business, and it’s not like we’re selling a high profit margin product.

2. Customers come first

When someone walks in the door, great them with a “Hello, how are you?” and some variation on “Let me know if you have any questions!” I can’t go 2 minutes in Best Buy without someone asking if they can help me find anything and comic book stores shouldn’t be any different.

3. Don’t assume why someone is there

Ask them what brought them in today. It’s a great way to start a conversation and makes it easier for you to help them find something to buy. The couple that just walked in, maybe the girl is introducing her boyfriend to comics for the first time. Maybe the guy in the Batman t-shirt has never read a comic book in his life and leaves happily with a subscription to Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and Young Avengers. (Both of these obviously are actual things that happened in my store)

4. If it’s popular online, it’s going to sell

Is a new comic generating a lot of buzz? Take a risk and buy some extra copies for the shelf and put it somewhere easy to spot. A recent example is Ms. Marvel. We bought nearly as many copies of it as our best-selling Marvel title and still sold out of it in the first two days.

5. Keep your store clean

There should not be so many people who feel the need to comment on how clean the store I work at is. This is kind of a Retail 101 thing. Once again, this isn’t your private space, make it welcoming.

6. Be willing to change

The comic book industry is (slowly) changing and stores shouldn’t have problems keeping up. There are comics to be found beyond the Big Two, with companies like Image and Boom are putting out new awesome and innovative books every month. If you walk into a store and you don’t see award winning (and lucrative) books like Saga on a recommendation rack, take that as a warning sign.

If you’re nervous, go with a friend. If you do/don’t feel welcome, make sure other people know using awesome resources like http://haterfreewednesdays.tumblr.com/. Comics should be for everyone!

Activists enforce segregation: ‘Black-only healing space’

Black Lives Matter: Banning Racial Segregation is Racist

At Princeton, black students demand segregation

Black Lives Matter slams public library’s ban on blacks-only meetings as racist

Black students demand segregated spaces from white students

Mizzou Protesters Segregate By Race; White Students Asked To Leave

Black Lives Matter Hosting ‘Blacks-Only’ Event In Portland

Black Students Demand “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever”

Black Lives Matter Cries ‘White Supremacy’ after Holding 'Color-Only’ Meetings

Black Students Now “Demanding” Segregation

Black Lives Matter Nashville Demands Racial Segregation. Yep.

Black Students Demand Segregation.

Black Student Groups Demanding Segregation, Safe Spaces

Black college students demand that they be segregated from white peers

salon.com
Stop mocking “safe spaces”: What the Mizzou & Yale backlash is really about
People who mock "p.c. culture" are ignoring the racial recklessness—and lack of safety—suffered by people of color
By Brittney Cooper

“The suggestion that Black college students who ask not to be confronted with Blackface on Halloween or not to be called “nigger” as they walk through campus are somehow seeking to undercut the power and importance of the Bill of Rights evinces a poor understanding of American History. If the defense of freedom means always defending the right of white people to engage in racial recklessness at the expense of racial minorities, then perhaps we should consider whether freedom is the thing for which we are really fighting.”

Read the full essay here <- VERY USEFUL FOR DISCUSSING THE ISSUE!

I’m gonna explain to you a thing.

Asking Louis to sign a rainbow heart symbolising promotion of safe spaces within a fandom that has historically been extremely anti-queer is completely different from a) asking him whether he’s gay or b) asking him whether larry is real.

It’s literally a rainbow heart. It’s not an imposition. It’s not aggressive. It’s. A rainbow. Heart.

That is all.

it’s not about straight people crashing our party

This has been floating around today.

So here’s the thing. Remember this tumblr post?

We’re not talking about straight people crashing our party (even though you’re doing that too). We’re talking about some of the handful of explicitly queer spaces that exist. Period. Outside of Pride gay clubs and bars are where most of us start to explore the queer community. It’s how we realize that there are other queer people out there. And even with all the fucked up stuff that comes with queer culture and partying gay clubs are also where we can flirt and make out and dance and wear girlboy clothing we’re not supposed to and just be really freaking gay

I feel for my straight friends but queer spaces should be for queer people. But these straight, cis (mainly white) women are deciding that they have the right to do what the want and fuck those gays cause of course we don’t get to feel safe. The gays love straight women, right? 

I remember talking about this before marriage equality and how incredibly thoughtless it was to celebrate your marriage in a place for people who didn’t have that right. And now that it is legal seeing a bunch of loud, drunk (generally white) straight, cis women in a queer space celebrating is still kind of rude. Like, our love and our relationships still aren’t acknowledged and celebrated. And when we get a crumb of representation it’s two white gays undergoing some trauma and one of them ends up dead.

That’s not even including how straight people go into gay clubs and act like they’re in some petting zoo. Gawking at drag queens and openly staring at trans people, especially trans women, especially trans women of colour, like they’re some kind of exotic creature. Straight people in gay spaces is why I’m never read as gay unless it looks like I’m there with a butch partner. Straight women go to gay clubs and then get offended when a woman hits on them because lesbians are gross. Gay women treat me and other femmes like crap cause they think that we’re taking up their spaces. Gay women barely get any space to begin with. Toronto has a huge queer community and doesn’t have a single lesbian bar. Straight people have every other street, every other bar, every other goddamned place in the world. But they come into the handful of spaces we have and make it unsafe for us and it’s really not fucking ok.

bullying is going to increase because liam’s interview made them feel justified. please please please stay safe, please visit blogs that make you happy, PLEASE unfollow anyone that says ANYTHING negative or upsetting to you or at least mute them, please block posts, please talk to anyone who makes you feel comfortable (MY ASK BOX IS ALWAYS OPEN and i am willing to give out any other social media i have as well), PLEASE BE HAPPY :) i literally love all of you so much!!!!!!!!!!!! 

"Where Do Rainbow Hearts Go?" - Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ fans

Join in and show your support for Safe Spaces for All 

Seeing rainbow support in public means a lot to an LGBTQ+ person. With our “Where Do Rainbow Hearts Go” action we want to show that there people ready to create safe spaces all around the world for LGBTQ+ One Direction fans. 

That’s where you come in! We’d like to ask you for your support. Whether you participate from home, a concert venue or anywhere else in the world, we want you to take your own Safe Spaces Heart using this link: here and do one (or both!) of the following:

  • take a picture of it in front of a landmark, building, significant spot in your home town or your very own safe space
  • take your rainbow with you to your One Direction concert and take a picture of it in front of the crowd, the venue or wherever else you would like to create a safe space

And then:

  • post your picture on tumblr, twitter or instagram, add your location and country / your concert and tag #rainbowdirection #WDRHG 

You can print you heart, or draw it by hand, using the template as your example.

Don’t forget that you can also pin the Safe Spaces Heart Badge to your icon on different social media 

Here are a few examples of what your participation could look like:

Coastingonthisdream, Kiev, Ukraine

the-love-laws and cosenoditea, Rome, Italy

larryhqjp, Osaka, Japan



We hope that many of you will take part and help the world become a happier, safer place with loads of rainbows, love and positivity. And show everyone around us just how far a rainbow heart can go.


Never underestimate the power of a rainbow!

youtube

In the Harry Potter series, Protego is a powerful shield spell, used throughout the magical world to make a space safer. Today - also the first day of LGBT Pride Month - we’re launching our trans rights and safe spaces campaign by the same name. 

Watch Jack’s announcement video, then learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Having taught quite a bit by now, I can say pretty confidently that kids who grow up without the privileges of straight white men grow pretty thick skin by college. They don’t break down in tears every time someone utters something wrong or even hurtful. This is not the first time someone has said something willfully ignorant about people like them and it certainly won’t be the last time.

And that’s why there are safe spaces.

Because imagine how fucking exhausting it is to know that that kid is going to graduate with the same degree as you.

Because so many students live at college, safe spaces are about getting to take a break from constantly being around privileged people who will spend four years of campus life blissfully ignorant about who you are, what your struggles are about and what you have to contend with to attend the same fucking university.

They fucking surround you.