Championing friendly and affirming spaces

As anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and attacks intensify across the country, LGBTQ+ groups are countering with their own intensity to create safe spaces. These groups are creating community-based solutions that allow LGBTQ+ youth, a cohort especially prone to isolation and loneliness, to safely share their experiences, ideas, and to create a feeling of connection and community. In celebration of the resilience and importance of these inclusive spaces, we’re highlighting some gathering places that continue to represent belonging, strength, and joy for the LGBTQ+ community.

Image of The Magic City Acceptance Center logo


After suffering three rejections from the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, The Magic City Acceptance Center opened its doors in 2021 with 250 students in grades 6-12 to provide a safe space and supportive programming for hundreds of queer youth in Birmingham - and across the state. It offers space to hang out, play video games and be with their peers. Every year, the center holds a prom for the kids; they can dress as they like and bring a date of whatever gender they prefer.

Text quote, “I have friends in the LGBTQ community, so I have always believed and supported their rights.”

— Rahrah, 25, NJ (Cassandra Collective)

Image of The Ruby Fruit bar with the logo overlayed


According to the Lesbian Bar Project, In the 1980s, there were roughly 200 Lesbian Bars in the United States. Today, there are fewer than 30. Clearly, dedicated lesbian spaces are rare. However, The Ruby Fruit in Los Angeles, which opened in February, has begun a journey back to relevance for lesbian-owned queer bars. Owners Emily Bielagus and Mara Herbkersman are quick to clarify that The Ruby Fruit is not just a lesbian bar, it also welcomes those who have yet to find a comforting and personal space of their own, including nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and trans people.

Text quote, “I hope we resolve the patchwork of different rights for LGBTQ+ people between different US states.”

— Rebecca, 25, MN (Cassandra Collective)

    Image of a soccer field with the Portland Community Football Club logo overlayed


    PCFC was created to dismantle the barriers to competitive athletic training and opportunity and to provide a safe space for all youth to gain skills, confidence, and educational and emotional support. Founded back in 2013 by transgender man Kaig Lightner with grant funding and donated equipment from Nike, Portland Community Football Club was a rarity because everybody had a place and provided local youth with an inexpensive chance to play. Ten years later, the roster of registered players has swelled to 165, with PCFC one of the only youth soccer clubs in the nation that openly encourages and supports LGBTQ+ players, coaches, and parents.

    Image of a rainbow gradient background with a rainbow striped luggage, illustration of a plane flying, and the text "Traveling with Pride"

    For more on LGBTQ+ safety, such as how for 78% of young LGBTQ+ people, being safe and having stability in the world is a core value in (their) day-to-day life, check out Cassandra’s latest report Traveling With Pride.