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 by many, and in different ways. Some of the challenges that Gardner personally faced included weight issues, dating, and socializing. He believes that Safe Space can be an outlet that offers mentorship and support for individuals that are facing these kinds of issues and more, and allow them to realize that they are not alone.

“When these issues are remedied when an individual is new to the scene, it can be very beneficial, as often at times, many individuals are molded by their negative experiences, making their experiences everyone else’s (individuals that they encounter/date),” he stated.

Safe Space aims to prevent bullying, depression, suicidal ideations, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, loss of confidence, and low self-esteem issues, among other social stigmas that plague the LGBT+ community. Gardner reflects on a situation where he witnessed someone firsthand deal with some of the very issues that Safe Space aims to prevent. “The friend that I had at the time had a sex, drug, and alcohol addiction, as well as suffering from depression [which led] to a failed suicide attempt,” he recalled. “Should an organization such as Safe Space been available to him, he would’ve been able to find ways to deal with suicidal ideation and his addictions.”

Gardner continues to support the mission of Safe Space and encourages like-minded individuals and organizations to find ways to get involved and continue to spread the message of equality and acceptance.

Want to be featured in the next edition of #TellYourStoryTuesday? Send an email to courtney@safespacenova.org for details!