Goodpush Member

Sadly, due to societal prejudice and exclusion, queer youth are at greater risk than their straight and cis-gendered counterparts of experiencing violence, homelessness, suicide, imprisonment, dropping out of school, and substance abuse. What do you do to make your skate project queer-friendly? How do you navigate this question in various cultural contexts?

At Skateistan we have had trouble directly addressing these challenges for our participants. The discourse around LGBT+ rights doesn't always translate across religious values and national/political borders. Our work began in a conservative Muslim country, and this has sometimes meant avoiding hot topic issues in order to preserve the political neutrality and security of our project.

We hope we are contributing something positive by creating a space where bullying or harassment are not tolerated, and where everyone is regarded as equal.

Please share any tips you have for creating LGBTQI+ friendly social skate programs.

References:

Advocates for Youth - LGBT Youth in the Global South

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2019/01/22/lgbtq_youth/

Huffington Post

Comments

This article breaks down in really simple terms some of the experience of being excluded from skate culture, and some tips for being more inclusive (to women and LGBTQI+ folk. Borrowing from Pushing Boarders' website: "If you are someone who enjoys privilege of any kind within skateboarding, understand that not everyone does, and use it to bring those people in. If you need advice on how to do that, click here." 

I get a lot more hellos and goodbyes and acknowledgements in general at a skatepark now than a few years ago so I do think things are gradually improving.

As a skatepark grant-maker, we consider how healthy and inclusive a facility is likely to be based first on geographical factors. To be more inclusive, the facility must be accessible; it should be physically near where the community lives and plays, and it should be near public transit. The shortest and most likely routes to and from skatepark to places nearby should be carefully considered; barriers for skateboarding youth can be traffic, lack of pavement (or rough pavement), poor lighting (as skaters return home at dusk).

We've experienced that when the area around the skatepark is not comfortable, or seems concealed in some way, it tends to exhibit more hostile behavior. The area immediately around the skatepark should be active in other ways; diverse spaces are more inclusive spaces. Fixtures that provide comfort are particularly useful in creating a diverse, comfortable space; shade structures, restrooms, drinking fountain, and places to sit are a few things that can help create a more welcoming environment.

 

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