The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence is just around the corner. A day-long vow of silence will be taken by the Americans to symbolize the silencing of LGBTQ bullying and harassment.
Gender identity and sexual orientation are the foremost reasons why lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender peeps are trolled, both on the internet and in person.
A survey conducted by vpnmentor with 695 LGBTQ+ participants revealed that over 73% had been personally attacked or harassed.
Certain risks are associated with LGBTQ activities, and relying only on law enforcement bodies and service providers is not enough. Your safety is crucial for the community. Therefore, the following are some safety tips you can endorse to keep attackers at bay.
Before we move on to the exclusive safety advice for LGBTQ, it is significant to revise some general precautions that apply to all.
Always go to public places, clubs, bars, and community centers with a friend, so you are not alone in case of an emergency.
Watch out for your drinks while partying. No one should add anything to your drinks except the bartender. Also, don’t overdrink; you’ll be more prone to attack if you are dizzy. You won’t be able to combat attackers/assaulters well.
While going out, always leave bread crumbs behind. Let someone among your friends or family know about where you are heading, who you are meeting, and how long it will take.
Be aware of what is happening around you. Your surroundings can help you decide about personal safety real quick.
Trust your instinct, and if you feel the slightest discomfort at any place, leave as soon as you can.
Now let’s move on to safety tips for LGBTQ.
Most cases of personal attacks on the LGBTQ community take place while they plan to hook up with someone they have met online. It may be in the form of physical violence, threats, and intimidation, verbal harassment, or sexual violence.
When you are hooking up, make sure that the plan is safe. Search your partner up on Google and social media to know if they have been involved in any fishy activity in the past.
Meet at a well-lit public space, so it is easy to call for help in an emergency. Do not leave any of your drinks or belongings unattended.
Carry supplies that will ensure safe sex. Discuss your boundaries beforehand. Even then, if you feel threatened at any point, say no. You can always refuse to continue at any time when your safety is compromised.
About one of 5 lesbians, gay or bisexual Americans, experience hate crimes in their lifetime. With LGBTQ making 3.5% of the total US population, the probability of hate crimes is too high.
To prevent such incidents, always wear a personal safety device.
Silent Beacon’s Panic Button is a button device that can connect with your phone/watch and allows you to call any number, including 911.
With the touch of a button, you can report emergency incidents to crime prevention authorities or your family/friends at the touch of a button. You can also share your real-time GPS location via text, push notifications, and email alerts.
If you feel any suspicious activity, including being followed by a stranger, report it to the police right away. Mention important information on the call like your name and location, a description of the suspicious activity, and a rough sketch of the people involved. This way, they can come prepared according to your situation.
Carry a non-lethal self-defense weapon with you at all times. It could be pepper spray, an LED taser, tactical flashlights, or even a kitchen knife to deal with the attackers before help reaches out to you.
Traveling as an LGBTQ is no different than heterosexual, but different countries have laws against homosexuality that you have to be aware of. According to ILGA, homosexuality is illegal in 72 countries worldwide and is punishable by death in 8. It is better to go for documentation and accommodation as single individuals than LGBTQ couples in these places.
As a tourist, staying as discreet about your preferences and orientation as you can is the best advice to go with.
Avoid drawing attention to yourself even in accepting places. Know the culture of the place you are traveling to, and behave accordingly. Never disclose any personal information with anyone while traveling.
Must Read: Travel Safety Tips
Your online social interaction, from likes & shares to the apps you download, can impact your real life. Understand the privacy and security settings on social media platforms and tailor your profile to share information you are comfortable sharing.
Protect your personal information while using the internet to find a daring partner. Oversharing information online can cause unintended consequences.
Search yourself on the internet with keywords of activities you do not want to be linked with. If anyone plans to derogate you online, you can catch them through this routine search. If you find anything you’re not okay with, reach out to website administrators and have it removed.
Be aware of what content you share and consume. Avoid letting pictures/videos/thoughts go wild on the internet that you won’t want your family and friends to see.
Do not sit back and blame yourself. If you have been subject to assault, it isn/t your fault; your harasser needs to be punished.
Collect any evidence of the incident; it could be some weapon, a description of what the attacker looked like, pictures, and videos of the crime scene.
Use your Silent Bescon Panic button to inform your family/friends or whoever you are closest to, and call 911. Share your real-time GPS location with people who can help you in emergencies.
Do not hesitate to reach out to an LGBTQ anti-violence authority. The National Coalition of the anti-violence program supports LGBTQ in all kinds of accidents pertaining to personal safety. Contact them at 212-714-1141.
Seek medical advice and emotional counseling to help you deal with the trauma. You are an important part of the country, and your safety matters.