June 22, 2021

Backstage at the Egyptian: Lynnea Erickson Laskowski of Safe Passage on #DeKalbPride

On June 28, 1969, the New York City police raided a gay club named the Stonewall Inn, sparking the gay rights movement across the country. Individuals from the LGBTQIA+ have been treated unequal legally. One example is it wasn’t until 2015 that the U.S. Supreme court made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states. Many members of the community feel unwelcome, unaccepted, and invalidated by people, especially on social media, and even from their friends and family. Today, the LGBTQIA+ community comes together for the month of June to acknowledge the struggles they faced and to celebrate love, diversity, acceptance, and self-pride. Lynnea Laskowski from Safe Passage talks about Pride month and how to be a better ally for LGBTQIA+ members of the DeKalb community.

*Interview with Lynnea Laskowski, Director of Communication and Prevention Services at Safe Passage. Interview conducted by Marketing and Communications Intern Cass Kamp.

CASS: What is the mission of Safe Passage?

LYNNEA: The mission of Safe Passage is to promote the right of all to nonviolent and abuse-free relationships through advocacy, intervention, and prevention in DeKalb County. What that means is that we believe in and work toward supporting survivors of violence in healing after abuse, but also in creating a community where everyone is safe and working to create that world, alongside our community partners.


C: What are the responsibilities of your position?

L: As the Director of Communication and Prevention, I oversee our marketing and outreach programs. This is important for ensuring the community knows about our services and supports our mission, but also for educating our community about what domestic violence and sexual assault really are and how we can all help. I also oversee all our community-based education and prevention services from teaching kindergarteners about body safety to training professionals about creating harassment-free workplaces!


C: Why do you believe celebrating Pride Month is important?

L: Pride is, at its heart, a celebration of love and identity. Pride is about saying that our community has been through so much and survived. It is about honoring that fight, honoring those who have been lost to violence, hate, and even apathy, and living authentically and joyfully in honor of those who couldn’t. By having community Pride events during Pride Month, we remember that LGBTQIA+ folks have not always been supported, that many still aren’t, and that there is so much more to do to ensure everyone is welcomed, heard, and loved at the table.


C: How did the Pride event held at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday, June 18 th benefit the community?

L: It was a chance for queer folks to come together in celebration, for allies to come out in support, and for those who are questioning, wondering, or thinking about coming out to know that they belong. It was a chance to show PUBLICLY that DeKalb is a place for everyone.


C: Among the event on Friday, what other events or activities is Safe Passage involved with for Pride month?

L: Safe Passage is excited to once again be hosting an online Pride contest with daily Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook…or even go wild and post on TikTok) prompts to flood social media with messages of love, support, and advocacy.


C: How can someone who is not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community be an ally?

L: Remember that there are still so many ways that LGBTQIA+ folks face discrimination and violence. Especially for trans individuals and queer People of Color, equal is not equal yet. So, allies, show up for Pride events, let queer people know you support them, celebrate with us, but also fight for us. Call out transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia when you see it. Write to your legislators and tell them to fight anti-Trans legislation. Take action and remember that Pride is 12 months of the year!


C: Where can someone find resources to be an educated ally?

L: Google is a blessing, friends! There are so many great resources that didn’t exist when I was young. Watch documentaries about trans activists. Google Stone Wall. Watch TV shows by and about LGBTQIA+ folks. There is so much out there to learn and celebrate!