Night club photo/YouTube

For many people gay clubs are a sanctuary

By Luke Grayson

On Saturday downtown Spokane was covered in rainbows and full of happy sounds of people coming together to support each other and celebrate our identities, while remembering our past and how far we have come since the first year Spokane celebrated Pride.

An all ages dance party and fireworks show at 10 p.m marked the end of Spokane’s 25th pride celebration.

About the time that many Spokane Pride goers got home, a man walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and shot more than 100 people, killing 49 of them. People ran for safety from a place so many LGBT+ people find sanctuary in, a place that people could go and know that no one was going to judge them for holding hands with their lover or dancing with someone of their same gender.

For those without supportive families, those that may have not been out yet, or those that just need to be around people that are like them, gay clubs are a sanctuary. Nothing in the outside world matters, nothing that hurts can make it through all the happiness that comes with being surrounded by the love of your community.

Early Sunday morning, someone took that sanctuary away from not only those in Pulse nightclub, but from an entire community across the country. One man, took the lives of 49 innocent people. One man, changed how the LGBT+ community is going to react for the rest of Pride month and potentially irreversibly change how many LGBT+ people feel about being “out and proud.”

I for one, question whether being out is causing me more harm than good. If I’m afraid to walk into public, even spaces that are built for people like me, what am I accomplishing? If I can’t even go into a place of sanctuary without being afraid of someone coming in with a gun wanting to kill me for existing, how can I be an advocate in my community.

About Luke Grayson-Skinner

Luke Grayson-Skinner is a 20-something, disabled, nonbinary trans-person who has been in Spokane since 2012 and is an advocate for the LGBT community and for transgender people.
They are also a slam (performance) poet who went to Atlanta for National competition in 2016 as a part of a team representing Spokane, and continues to be apart of the local writing and arts communities.
Luke doesn't currently know what faith-base they "belong in" but grew up in an Evangelical church that they left when they moved to Spokane and has attended an open and affirming UCC church off and on since they were 20.
Luke uses they/them pronouns.

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  1. Tough questions, Luke. Thanks for all your work in the community. ❤️

  2. I wish I had answers for you, easy or otherwise. I could point out that our sanctuaries have always been where we are most vulnerable, have always been where those who seek to do us harm have been able most easily to seek us out, as they did in the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, during the long-ago year of my birth. I could tell you that as long as we create safe spaces for ourselves, there will be those who seek to violate those spaces. I could tell you that as long as we carve out power and dignity for ourselves, there will be those who strive to take that away from us.

    But I won’t. I won’t, because I suspect you know all this already. But also, I won’t because ultimately it doesn’t matter. Because the safety I sought in some pretty unsafe places in my youth has now become the rule, rather than the exception. Because those with reservoirs of courage even they didn’t know they had showed the world what it could be. Because countless brave souls, by sheer force of their courage and compassion, inspired everyone they met to see differently, to think differently, to live differently. Just as you have inspired so many. Just as you have inspired me.

    So stay strong, keep moving forward, and never forget that you are the change we all wish to see in the world.

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