World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0018138370
Reproduction Date:

Title: Safe-space  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bear flag (gay culture), LGBT symbols, Women only space, J-FLAG, Higher education in Canada
Collection: Autonomous Space, Lgbt and Education, Lgbt Symbols, Sexual Orientation and Society
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


An inverted pink triangle surrounded by a green circle, as used to symbolize alliance with gay rights and space free from homophobia.

In educational institutions, safe-space (or safe space), safer-space, and positive space are terms used to indicate that a teacher, educational institution or student body does not tolerate perceived anti-LGBT violence, harassment, hate speech or disagreement, but rather is open and accepting to opinions aligned to his or her own, thereby creating a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all students.


  • Definition 1
  • Origin and History 2
  • Rationale 3
  • Other countries 4
    • Canada 4.1
    • United Kingdom 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, intellectually challenged, unwelcome or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to agree with others.[1]
— Advocates for Youth

An institution which supports a safe space for LGBT students and employees may offer staff training on diversity; includes being a safe space in the organization's coalition, encourages the coalition to include being a safe space in its mission and values.[2]

Origin and History

The concept originated in the women's movement, where it "implies a certain license to speak and act freely, form collective strength, and generate strategies for resistance...a means rather than an end and not only a physical space but also a space created by the coming together of women searching for community."[3] The first safe spaces were gay bars and consciousness raising groups.[3]

In 1989 Gay & Lesbian Urban Explorers (GLUE) developed a safe spaces program. During their events including diversity-training sessions and antihomophobia workshops, they passed out magnets with an inverted pink triangle, "ACT UP's...symbol", surrounded by a green circle to, "symbolize universal acceptance," and asked, "allies to display the magnets to show support for gay rights and to designate their work spaces free from homophobia."[4]


In gay-only groups, the desire for safe space may represent a "special ritual time spent in a ritual space" where "heterosexuals are cautiously avoided".[5] However, this may allow the comfort necessary for other actions. Mike Homfray observes, "Gay and lesbian people may perceive the pub or bar as being 'their' space, and so as somewhere they can 'perform' and be open without the fear of rejection or hostility from the heterosexual majority, which may be perceived as hostile." Homfray adds, "In this situation, the perception of safe gay space can allow the development of a sense of community and confidence, which in turn may contribute to the creation of rights-based movements."[6]

Other countries


Positive Space initiatives are prevalent in post-secondary institutions across Canada including McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and Queen's University.[7][8][9]

United Kingdom

In early 2015 the increasing adoption of safe spaces in UK universities aroused controversy due to accusations that they were used to stifle free speech and right-wing political views.[1].

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • "Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit",
  • "Safe Space Coalition",
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.