Gaps in Safety within LGBTQ+ Leisure Spaces for Diverse LGBTQ+ People: White Homonormativity and Considerations for Inclusion in Safe Spaces
Given the white homonormativity of LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, diverse LGBTQ+ people (such as cisgender lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women, transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, and racialized LGBTQ+ people) have been found to have social and health inequities within LGBTQ+ leisure spaces due to their intersectionality as racial, sexual, and gender minorities, among other social identities. LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, such as LGBTQ+ community centres and recreation groups, provide opportunities for identity development and contribute to the overall well-being of LGBTQ+ people. These so-called ‘safe spaces,’ however, can be sites of discrimination for diverse LGBTQ+ people, arguably due to dominant groups reinforcing whiteness and white privilege in those spaces. This article presents literature that critiques LGBTQ+-specific safe spaces and provides recommendations for the practice of inclusion within these spaces for diverse LGBTQ+ people. Given the potential positive outcomes associated with LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, a better understanding of problematic LGBTQ+ leisure spaces is vital for professionals in social work and allied fields to develop interventions and policies for use within those spaces that support LGBTQ+ people’s overall well-being, as well as consider frameworks of diversity and inclusion. To construct inclusive LGBTQ+ leisure spaces for diverse LGBTQ+ people, an interrogation and deconstruction of both heteronormativity and homonormativity are necessary within and outside those settings. This can be done through the creation of safer spaces, such as “counterspaces.”
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