News & Blog

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring David Leon Morgan

November 21, 2017 Words by David Leon Morgan My younger self could not have possibly anticipated the person it was to become and still is becoming. Self doubt, low self esteem, and worry consumed my identity then. I accepted false notions that I wasn’t good, attractive, or masculine enough. I let others control my narrative, assuming that their lives and beliefs were the standards to which I should measure my own. My queer identity was tightly wrapped in Christian shame and guilt, which made affirming and celebrating my whole, genuine self very difficult. But, over time, I began loosening the [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Khyle Paylor

October 17, 2017 Words by Khyle Paylor, Safe Space NOVA Social Media Correspondent Growing up, I wish I was exposed to an organization such as Safe Space NOVA because I believed I would have accepted myself a lot easier and came into my own with a lot less apologies! Let’s be honest, life can be challenging if you are gay, fat, or a black male. Well, imagine being all 3!  The gays don’t have time for fats or fems. Most black males don’t want to be anywhere near the gays. Learning to accept myself was a challenge. Thank God for [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Thomas Philip

October 3, 2017 Words by Thomas Philip Compiled by Khyle Paylor, Safe Space NOVA Social Media Correspondent Growing up knowing something inside you was different from all the other guys started happening to me sophomore year of high school. I still played the part of having a girlfriend, sometimes putting on a persona that really wasn’t me, but just trying to hold face. Moving into my college dorm summer of 2003 allowed me to escape what I knew as normal life and start paving my own way on my terms. Being the first American born on both my mother’s side [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday: Love Wins

September 26, 2017 Words by Lashaurn and Elizabeth Compiled by Khyle Paylor, Safe Space NOVA Social Media Correspondent I honestly knew Liz was the one for me when we broke up for a few months to realize what we truly wanted. The moment she stepped out the door, my world went too. However, we know we needed that break and it was the best thing we did for our relationship. We decided to get married after being together 3 years. Marriage equality means to me that you can love who you want no matter their sexuality. Love is love. Raising two children [...]

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Discrimination Plain and Simple

Originally printed in Alexandria Gazette* Thursday, September 21, 2017 President Trump’s July 26th tweet banning transgender service members from serving in the United States military is discriminatory and unpatriotic. As former Vice President Joe Biden stated via Twitter, “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.” He’s absolutely right. Trump’s tweet is lacks the decency, honor, and respect for the more than 15,000 transgender troops that serve in the United States military. Everyday, they put their lives on the line for their country. The statement by the Commander-in-Chief makes these [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Paul Raker

August 15, 2017 Words by Paul Raker Organizations like Safe Space, Inc. are integral to our growth and advancement as a community and in the broader sense as a movement. Every person in our community comes with a unique lens through which we have viewed our journey and have been treated-- Those lenses are colored by varying degrees of support and acceptance from family, friends and other organizations. Safe Space serves to stand in the gap where support for our youth from other corners may fall short. It is important that our community utilize the tools that Safe Space is [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Zekiah Coleman

August, 8, 2017 Words by Zekiah Coleman Since a young age, I’ve always felt DIFFERENT! It wasn’t until my teenage years that I realized that I was more than gay and began my trans journey. I closely watched other transgenders. I was terrified to tell my family, thinking they wouldn’t understand or accept me. Thank God, they did and I began my transitioning around age 18. My message to the LGBTQ youth, especially my young trans sisters is to not be afraid! Be who you are in these scary times. You are beautiful! Live YOUR life. Live YOUR truth and [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Michael Riggins

August 1, 2017 Words by Michael Riggins Growing up as a young gay male in the inner city of D.C., being gay was like a disease no one wanted to catch. It was just that looked down upon. Being the only "OUT" gay kid in school constantly caused you to be teased or even threatened. Having more females friends than males friends seemed to be the norm because you could relate to the femininity whereas you couldn't with the guys and their sports. Often, with no one to talk to or even help you through whatever it was that you [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Omar Gardner

July 11, 2017 Compiled by Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator This edition of #TellYourStoryTuesday features Safe Space NOVA supporter, Omar Gardner. Gardner feels that an organization such as Safe Space is very important to the LGBT+ youth community and is excited to see how much of an impact the non-profit organization will have in the Northern Virginia area. “Often at times, individuals don’t have friends or family that they can talk to about some of the challenges they may be facing; such as coming out, relationships, dealing with bullying, etc.,” he said.   Challenges and roadblocks are faced [...]

Introducing Safe Space NOVA!

June 8, 2017 Did you notice? Safe Space VA is now Safe Space NOVA! In an effort to better engage with our target audience in the Northern Virginia area, we have simply changed our name and logo to reflect that. You can still connect with us across our social media platforms at @safespacenova and learn all about us at www.safespacenova.org. We look forward to serving the LGBT+ youth community in Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and surrounding areas.

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Emerson Evans

June 6, 2017 This edition of #TellYourStoryTuesday takes a look at what the “Coming Out” experience was like for Emerson Evans. Evans is a strong supporter of Safe Space, Inc. and has volunteered with the non-profit whenever called upon. "My coming out experience wasn't on my own terms nor was it easy. I was confronted by a family member and decided to face my truth at that time. After revealing my attraction to men, one of my parents told me that I was cursed. While this was a knee jerk reaction to my coming out  and I have that parent's [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Cedric Pulliam

May 23, 2017 Compiled by Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator This edition of #TellYourStoryTuesday features a strong supporter of Safe Space, Inc., Cedric Pulliam. Pulliam is a PhD candidate in Psychology focusing on Gender and Diversity Studies at Northcentral University. He has worked in human rights, LGBTI issues, vulnerable populations, domestic/global HIV/AIDS, and public/global health for the past seven years in the federal government. He continues to serve his community as an advocate for health for all Americans and eliminating stigma against HIV/AIDS. He serves as a mentor and career counselor to youth, college graduates, and veterans. He [...]

Mental Health in Virginia & LGBT Youth

May 1, 2017 By Safe Space, Inc. Vice Chairman, Jerome R. Hunt, Ph.D. Earlier this year, an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch revealed some disturbing facts when it comes to mental health and youth in Virginia. According to Mental Health America, Virginia was ranked 38th among states, down from the previous ranking of 27th. A major reason for this downgrade in ranking was due to the fact that youth in the state who battle depression are less likely to receive treatment compared to other states. Major barriers currently exist that prevent youth from receiving mental health treatment, including the fact that Virginia [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Board Member, Ambrose G. Sayles

April 18, 2017 By Courtney E. Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator Our newest board member, Ambrose G. Sayles, is featured in our latest installment of #TellYourStoryTuesday. Sayles previously served on the City of Alexandria’s Commission on HIV/AIDS from 2014 to 2016 prior to joining the Safe Space, Inc. Board of Directors. Sayles’ reasoning for getting involved with Safe Space centers around one single word -- belief. “My belief that people within our community can make a difference in the lives of LGBT+ youth who would benefit from it. My belief in the general goodness of our friends and neighbors [...]

Safe Space, Inc. Anniversary Event Recap

April 3, 2017 By Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator  Exciting raffles prizes! This past Friday, Safe Space, Inc. held its first fundraiser event which took place in conjunction with their one year anniversary. With the overwhelming support from invitees and regular patrons of Freddie's Beach Bar, the team collected donations as well as informed the masses about the mission of Safe Space and its importance in the lives of LGBT+ youth. The event kicked off at 6:30pm with donations being accepted and raffle tickets being sold upon entrance. With great prizes, such as gift cards, wines and spirits [...]

A Look at Safe Space, Inc. Over the Year…

March 29, 2017 By Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator Safe Space, Inc. Founder, Jordan L. Costen Safe Space, Inc. was founded on March 29, 2016 by Executive Director, Jordan Costen. As Safe Space is preparing for its one year anniversary fundraiser event this Friday, Costen took a moment to reflect on what the past year has meant to him. “Safe Space has accomplished so much in a year. The first thing that comes to mind is the building of relationships. Going into this, I was unsure how other LGBT+ organizations would receive us. However, there has [...]

SAVE THE DATE: March 31, 2017

March 13, 2017 In recognition of Safe Space, Inc.’s one year anniversary, we are pleased to announce a fundraiser for Safe Space’s programming initiatives, and would like to invite you to celebrate this special event with us. Safe Space’s mission is to provide a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBT+ youth. With the current legislations that are threatening the rights of the LGBT+ community, primarily the transgender population, we, at Safe Space,  are striving to make a difference by fighting to protect LGBT+ rights, and to be an outlet to [...]

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Danny Marquez

March 7, 2017 This week's #TellYourStoryTuesday features our wonderful intern, Danny Marquez. In this video, Danny opens up about "coming out" to his family, why he became involved with Safe Space, Inc., and the importance of surrounding yourself with supportive and accepting individuals. Everyone's experience is different and we appreciate Danny for being so transparent. You never know who your story may inspire. Check out the video below:  

#TellYourStoryTuesday featuring Charles A. Sumpter, Jr.

January 31, 2017 Compiled by Courtney Eiland, Website & Social Media Coordinator Charles A. Sumpter, Jr. serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Safe Space, Inc. The mission of Safe Space, Inc. is to provide a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBT+ youth. Although the organization targets Northern Virginia -- primary Alexandria, as well as Arlington and Fairfax County -- Sumpter feels the work of Safe Space, Inc. is also needed in many places across the country. “Growing up in New York City, I saw firsthand social stigmas, [...]

Loudoun County School Board Declines to Specify LGBT+ as Protected Class

January 25, 2017 Written by Hilary Hultman-Lee Safe Space blog contributor At the November 2016 meeting of the Loudoun County School Board, Sterling, Va. representative Brenda Sheridan proposed a change to School Board Policy 7012 that would include language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The board voted to delay their decision until the January meeting. Since that time, the issue has been debated very publicly on the Loudoun Times-Mirror opinion pages, including a contentious piece by Del. Dave LaRock (R-33rd), whose district covers much of the western part of the county. When the Loudoun County [...]

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has filed HB1612

January 9, 2017 By Safe Space, Inc. Secretary, Charles A. Sumpter, Jr. Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has filed HB1612, a bill that would ban access to restrooms for transgender Virginians—similar to North Carolina's infamous HB2. Safe Space, Inc. stands with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as he promises to veto the proposed bill that would allow people to sue the state if they found a transgender person in the restroom. What makes this bill even more invasive is that it goes further than just bathrooms – it also requires principals of public schools to notify a parent or legal guardian within [...]

World AIDS Day 2016

December 1, 2016 Words from Safe Space, Inc. Board Member, Charles A. Sumpter, Jr. To many across our country, HIV/AIDS has been conquered and is a disease of the past. It is true that over the past thirty years, we have much to be proud of. New and powerful drugs have essentially put HIV/AIDS in the category of a chronic illness, much like diabetes. Through science and education, we've been able to stop many from succumbing to the disease. However, in the United States and across the globe, there are still too many without access to life-saving treatment options. Expanded [...]

Facts and ways to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic

December 1, 2016 By Jerome R. Hunt, Ph.D. -  Safe Space, Inc. Board Member On this 28th annual World AIDS day, we here at Safe Space pause to honor and remember all of those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. In addition, we take this opportunity to educate ourselves about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. While much has been done to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and help those who are living with HIV to live long healthy lives, over 36 million people globally are living with HIV—1.2 million in the United States. In particular, gay and bisexual men of [...]

Take a Stand against Bullying during GLAAD’s #SpiritDay Campaign

October 20, 2016 Observed annually since 2010, millions of people go purple to take a stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. From public figures to sports teams, major companies to schools and individuals, October 20 marks a day where there is an overwhelming amount of support for the LGBTQ community. Purple symbolizes “spirit” on the rainbow flag. According to STOMP Out Bullying: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying is alarming.  In fact 9 out of 10 LGBT students reported being harassed and bullied last year. Over one-third of LGBT students are physically assaulted at school because [...]

National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2016 For 28 years, National Coming Out Day has been held annually on October 11. The idea was sprouted at the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987 which was the second such demonstration in the nation’s capital and resulted in the founding of several LGBTQ organizations. On October 11, 1988, the first National Coming Out Day was held. Each year, National Coming Out Day continues to be recognized worldwide as a day where the LGBTQ community encourages individuals to live openly and in their truth. For more on the history of National [...]

An Interview with Safe Space, Inc. Founder, Jordan Costen

September 30, 2016 By Courtney Eiland - Safe Space, Inc., Website & Social Media Coordinator Safe Space, Inc. was founded in March 2016 by Executive Director, Jordan Costen. A seed that had been planted over three years ago is now beginning to blossom into a reality. The mission of Safe Space, Inc. is to provide a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBT+ youth. "Starting a non-profit for kids has been something on my heart for years. I've always worked with kids, whether tutoring or mentoring. In early 2016, I started to [...]

Safe Space, Inc.’s Statement on State Restrictions on the use of Restrooms and Locker Rooms by Transgender Students

September 6, 2016 Contributor: Derrick Petit, JD-MPA Photo credit: www.action.aclu.org In addition to providing a supportive environment for LGBTQ youth facing challenges and social stigmas, Safe Space, Inc. is also dedicated to preserving the rights of LGBTQ Americans in all areas. Similar marriage and the practice of consensual intimacy with an adult of one’s choosing, using facilities that correspond to one’s gender identity should be considered a basic human right. Safe Space, Inc. firmly opposes the efforts by North Carolina and any other state that seeks to take away the rights of LGBTQ Americans. In Romer v. Evans,[1] [...]