In a perfect world, everyone would feel safe and welcome regardless of what their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression is. Sadly, the reality is that LGBTQ+ individuals face unique safety challenges in various aspects of their lives. However, knowledge and preparedness can go a long way towards ensuring your safety and well-being. Below are five crucial safety tips for LGBTQ+ individuals.
It Is Imperative To Be Aware Of Your Rights:
The importance of understanding your legal rights is paramount. Make sure you research and are aware of your country’s laws and regulations regarding LGBTQ+ rights. This knowledge allows you to assert your rights when necessary and seek legal protection if faced with discrimination or harassment. I understand that this is not true in some societies and countries, as queer people are not afforded the right and the luxury of authentically living in their truth and existence. This can be really dangerous for queer people. The best thing to do is to take care of yourself. Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind in places like this. Knowing your right as a human being who deserves existence will not be enough, as some of these countries have Draconian laws that are of considerable detriment to LGBTQ+ people.
You Should Trust Your Instincts:
Always go with your gut instincts. If a situation or person makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, remove yourself from it. Your instincts serve as a valuable resource for ensuring your personal safety. As a queer individual, I frequently rely on my instincts in public settings, even when I am uncertain of my safety in certain settings. Additionally, I have learned to avoid being in the company of individuals who do not share my values or accept me as I am. Whenever you feel any unease within you in any space or at any given time in any type of situation, it is time to remove yourself from there for your safety and well-being.
Your gut feelings will rarely disappoint you. We all have this feeling that something may not be 100% right for us.
Online Privacy And Safety Are Important:
Online safety is important in a world where everything is digital. You can control who can see your information by using privacy settings on social media platforms. Be careful when sharing personal details online, especially in the early stages of getting to know someone. Please do not share everything about you with everyone, not everyone has good intentions. Never give out vital details about you that will make it easy for people to know how to harm you or blackmail you.
If you live in a country where LGBTQ+ rights are not legal, you need to be cautious about whom you talk to online and what you say. There have been several stories of queer people being blackmailed by law enforcement agents in certain countries. Please be careful not to trust too easily.
It Is Important To Travel Responsibly:
The experience of travelling can expose you to unfamiliar environments and potential risks. Before visiting a new place, you should research its LGBTQ+ acceptance and local laws. You should share your travel plans with someone you trust, and consider connecting with LGBTQ+ support groups or communities in the area you’re visiting.
Make Sure You Have A Support System In Place:
Building a strong support network can make a significant difference in your safety and well-being. Establish and nurture connections with acquaintances, family members, or LGBTQ+ support organizations that can provide assistance, guidance, and a secure environment to which one can turn when required. This is important. As a Nigerian individual, it can be challenging and lonely to be openly gay, as you may lose friends and family members may decide not to communicate with you any more. However, I have encountered individuals who have become my preferred family, and this has been a great experience. A well-designed support system is ideal, as it tends to provide a significant amount of assurance and tranquillity.
While the world is moving towards more acceptance and equality for LGBTQ+ people, it’s critical to stay safe. These five recommendations are merely a starting point, and your safety requirements may change over time.