AI: Safe Spaces
It has recently come to my attention that I live in a sort of bubble. I’ve lived within a 2km (or a 1.24 mile) radius of arguably Sydney’s (and Australia’s) most queer-friendly and left-leaning neighbourhood for the last seven years, and I’m afraid it’s lulled me into a sense of comfort and pride that I too often take for granted.
Newtown and its immediate surrounds is a haven for all things alternative. Take a walk down its infamous King street and you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at strolling lesbian couples doing their groceries, skin tones and hair colours that span the spectrum, dreadlocks and tattoos abound. This is by no means a bad thing, except for the instances when I leave the rainbow-coloured womb and step outside, to the inner city, the outer suburbs, where I’m suddenly reminded of how privileged I am to be living where I do. Not to mention the fact that the area is by no means cheap in terms of rental prices, although it has a high proportion of student accommodation as well.
Perhaps it hit me the most when I traveled to visit my partner last November. The city was metropolitan just as anywhere else, but I couldn’t find a similar space where I felt the same way, comfortable, accepted, safe. I’ve tried my best to live where I do and I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same way about another place again. In the meantime I try to appreciate what I have and do my best to push the boundaries of the safe space further, instead of staying safe and oblivious in my bubble.
Is there a place that feels like a safe space for you? How important is it for you to be near it and/or do you try to base yourself around it? Or do you try to take the space with you?
Image taken by Leonard John Mathews, of a mural in Newtown featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Australian Aborignal Flag.
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.