Sarah’s house was amazing. Wow.
Jacksonville is super queer! A city of beautiful strange houses with chipped paint and royal windows.
Thank you for hosting us, Sarah & Sarah’s animal friends.
We love you!!
It confuses me when I hear the words “safe space” being thrown around in a place where I don’t feel safe. Is this selfish? Who is a space safe for if it isn’t safe for me? Other individuals like me? Not like me? Is it possible to even have a place that is totally safe? In my opinion, no. But I do believe that where and how we gather is intentional, impactful, and symbolic of what we are open to and not open to in the world.
Visiting a hostel in south Georgia today was an attempt to give back to and witness an inclusive, sustainable community while we travel. We had the intention of going out into nature during the 4th of July so that we could recover some of our energy before traveling to Atlanta. The result was a mixed bag - a beautiful place deep in the woods of Georgia, with a cultural atmosphere that was very unnerving to us as a group.
It was my impression upon first arriving at the Hostel that this was a space built for white people. Cis people. Straight people. It’s hard to describe this inner knowing. But, on the wall in the main dome, was a collection of photos of the Hostel’s manager’s - all handsome white cismen from the 1970’s onwards. There was a noticeable lack of People of Color present in both the historical and real-time space of the hostel. There was copious appropriation of Native American culture abound, without any Native people present. There were white people dancing haphazardly to music written by Black artists without any other presence of Black culture in the space. And, a manager who strictly enforced a no phone/no computer/no internet policy, harshly, on all those present. For me, being asked not to connect with my community outside of the Hostel made me feel misunderstood and unwelcome. Being touched without my consent by cisgender people made me feel pulled into a culture of connectedness that I did not agree to. Collecting wood for a sweat lodge ceremony for white people as a work trade for my stay felt like poison in my mind.
Space is a complex entity - one person can completely change its tone and character. One picture, when replaced with another, can indicate who and what is celebrated there. One word, one song. I was reminded today that everything we do must be self-reflective, and we must always strive towards our most open and courageous selves. We must be accountable for what kind of spaces we are creating for others while we walk through the world.
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