By Eleanor Sevigny
Monday May 31 President Joe Biden made a proclamation recognizing Pride Month. Pride Month occurs to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which happened in June of 1969. On the local level the Galesburg community will be recognizing Pride Month.
Cofounder of Safe Space and Miss Trans Illinois, Christina King, took the time to answer questions regarding Pride Month, Safe Space, and the annual Pride Picnic.
Question: What is safe space?
King: Safe Space is a non-denominational group for people ages 18 to 30 to have discussions openly about spirituality, LGBTQ issues, and faith. It is a place to be your authentic self and ask questions. We have LGBTQ friendly clergy who attend. Safe Space is a judgement free zone to be your true self. Safe Space has not met recently because of the pandemic, but we hope to start meeting again soon.
Question: When did Safe Space start?
King: We started Safe Space in 2016.
Question: Why was Safe Space formed?
King: My church was having a deep discussion about current issues and we decided to be an affirming church to the LGBTQ community. Historically speaking the LGBTQ community has been ostrachized and abused by Christianity, so we wanted to create a Safe Space to have an open dialog with them. We also wanted to validate feelings and create a judgement free zone. Safe Space was born out of this need for a safe LGBTQ space to create dialog and dispel myths.
Question: What kind of topics are discussed in safe space?
King: We have talked about relationships, gender identity, spirituality, faith, catching up on life, etc… it is an open space to talk about whatever you need to talk about. We are here for you.
Question: Will the Pride Picnic be happening this year?
King: Unfortunately there will not be a Pride Picnic this June. We want to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. The hope is to have it in the fall as things continue to open up. There are other Pride events happening in Galesburg.
Sunday June 6 at Central Congregational Church Isaac Simmons/Ms. Penny Cost discussed the art of Drag and how it has been a spiritual experience for many.
Monday June 7 Mayor Peter Schwartzman announced the local Pride proclamation right before the city council meeting. The Pride flag will be flown for the month of June at City Hall and the square.
Saturday June 12 PFLAG Galesburg will be meeting in person for the first time since the pandemic 3 p.m. at Lakeside Nature Center.
Sunday June 13 All of Our Sacred Worth 2 p.m. at Central Congregational Church PFLAG President Holly McDorman will talk about how to raise kids who identify in many expressions of sexuality and how to live wholly as a blended family.
Sunday June 27 All of Our Sacred Worth 2 p.m. at Central Congregational Church Christina King will talk about her journey of identity and faith.
Question: Is there anything you would like to say about safe space and the Pride Picnic that I have not asked about?
King: We’re hoping to start having meetings again and the Pride Picnic in the fall. Follow our Facebook page for updates (https://www.facebook.com/SafeSpace4all).
Question: What is something you would like to say to the Galesburg Community?
King: Pride month is about celebrating your identity, your true authentic self, and the work to get us here. 12 years ago the Supreme Court finally allowed gay marriage. We still have work to do to achieve equality. We are far from done. We’re hoping to change hearts and minds. We’re just like anyone else. We’re daughters, sons, mothers, nieces, cousins, etc… It’s been a rough couple of years with the pandemic. Hopefully the old normal is coming soon.