Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, and designed to create and provide affirming and culturally competent services for the entire LGBTQ community of Chicago. We aim to generate opportunities for ourselves, our families, our comrades, and our futures to engage in healing, community building, and the creation of kinship. We strive to educate, empower, and embolden each other through sharing skills, knowledge, and resources as we build towards the liberation of all oppressed peoples.
BSA is a vehicle to empower and elevate queer and trans voices, particularly those belonging to queer and trans people of color, to allow our communities a seat at the table on key decision making processes that impact the LGBTQ community of Chicago at large. By focusing our efforts on creating space and building capacity in three key areas, we aim to creat opportunities for our communities to thrive unapologietically in their truths:
- Health and Wellness – We see health as a broad concept encompassing the wellbeing of our whole persons, and our whole community. Trans people face unique barriers to living full, healthy lives. We combat these by providing trans-led and affirming space, promoting food justice through our community farm, and leading healthy cooking and eating initiatives with our harvests.
- Leadership Development – We hold monthly workshops for TGNC community members of all ages for political education, job preparedness, campaign organizing and more, in order to ensure there are intergenerational opportunities for trans people to develop themselves and their community.
- Visibility – We want trans people to be seen when, where and how they want to be seen. For us, visibility is about helping trans people share their stories and show up in action in ways that are determined by each individual on their own terms.
BSA pushes the language of ‘safety’ because we understand that safety for our general society is a concept that actually oppresses us. We are revising our language, instead emphasizing the importance of bravery, because it requires bravery to confront the systems that deny trans people of color true safety. Our goal in using this framework is to help the TGNC community better understand and rise to the challenges of genuine dialogue for social transformation and justice.
As trans and gender nonconforming people of color leading a space for the broader LGBTQ community, we acknowledge structural oppression impacts our everyday lives and the lives of our allies. We are here to share, learn and grow in a place of love that is affirming of and accountable to whom we are and aspire to be. We hope that by creating such a space for ourselves, we can generate the tools we need to make similar shifts possible in our larger society.
In order to bring about the kind of world where all queer and trans people are loved, supported, and liberated from violence, we espouse these core political values as part of our long-term vision, and as platforms we intend to support through our organizing:
- Prison Abolition (decriminalization)
- Employment Justice
- Economic Equity (redistributing resources)