Monday, July 06, 2015

The Great Safe Zones Projects

This week COP 24/7 journey's forward into the LGBTQIA construct as the latest "buzz" or "trending" catching fire is the new focus on creating "safe zones," within the gay community. So what's all the hub bub about?  Its' the latest tide reverberating from the tsunami of work dedicated to enhancing the lack of big data about what's not know about the gay community. Or scaling up
activities to provide statistical pathways to support the demands of funding apparatuses to offer logic models, dazzling stats, replicable models and other funding speak that could make your head explode.

On this platform we  have been constantly searching, exploring and discovering all that we thought we knew and just how much we don't about who's trying to find out about gay challenges or issues . In this process, we've determined that depending on where you look there's lots of information that's been created or if you are in Arkansas, not so much.

However, believe it or not, there have actually been an array of dissertations and scholarly writings on many topics and various perspectives highlighting what was happening in the state. Amazingly, many of these papers as far back as the 1980's all alluded to or in some manner referred to the lack of "safe spaces," for the gay community. Yet as these pieces note this conclusion, many of the papers don't take into account that the gay community had created some safe spaces within its entertainment venues or bars which served as quasi community centers.

These bastions of "community," although certainly imperfect and often times a petri dish of the larger issues such as racism, ageism, and classism, these venues did serve a purpose that is now being called into question as not a "safe zone." Even though every year the Stonewall is held up as the shrine of activism, such places as this are now slowly fading away as more gay bars close their doors as other mainstream businesses are flinging their doors of acceptance open wide.

COP 24/7 has waxed on that as other mainstream business compete for our dollars, gay owned and operated business would have to up the ante in customer service and welcoming surroundings that don't just mean being seen as regular patron but a valued customer each and every time they come through the doors.

Meanwhile, there continues to be serious moves to offer learning safe spaces for those understand more about identity, self-awareness, and more behavioral alterations as we are suppose to collectively understand "who we are," as we are suppose to build bridges with allies or those whom wither don't or didn't understand who gay folks have been all along.

Obviously there is much to debate and dissect around this issue concurrent to the re-imaging and the move to deconstruct the old "gay infrastructure," in lieu of building anew aligned with all the new data sets, research and development, plus new definitions of what is considered "safe," or acceptable among these new fangled approaches and comprehensions.

As the waves of diversity keep washing ashore, what will emerge is new "OZ," where the yellow brick road is replaced with a rainbow road leading to a more enlightened, accepting and empowered LGBT community ready to enjoy these new found freedoms without regrets or at least we would like to think so...stay tuned.  

Creating the Zone
The Each Other Project Uses Art as Activism

"We created this site to be a direct reflection of us: a community," state Donja R. love and Nick Brandon Nick founders of the project on their website. ( )They continue, "we do that through Arts and Activism. We feature both aspects because they are crucial components in bridging gaps and providing unity.This community that we strive to build, at its core, will be a refuge for Queer Men of Diversity filled with opportunities and possibilities."
This project also features an assortment of videos, photo's and web series that is designed according to the curators, as a place to make visitors be inspired, insightful and a zone to "get to know each other."
It’s the hopes of the originators that the featured content would  uplift, educates, challenges, inspire, entertains, and speaks to a wide audience while directly focusing on matters impacting the Same Gender Loving community such a visibility and health related issues. CO 24/7 will feature additional content in regard to our mission to provide a spectrum of interesting content and videos.


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