Ryan Silverio on ‘Holding Space’ as a Form of LGBTQ+ Activism

Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus: “Holding spaces” is increasingly being used in activist conversations. I first heard about this concept during a meeting between LGBTQ+ activists and one donor organization. The call for donors to hold space, at least in the context of that meeting, was a request for donors to lessen their grip, and enable local groups to be, to do what they think is necessary, to commit mistakes and learn from them.”

“When one holds space, presence — which means being physically, emotionally, or mentally available for someone — matters. To hold space means mindfully witnessing and journeying with another person along their shared ethical principles, and offering unconditional support along the way. In a way, holding spaces is akin to maintaining a “safe space” for people to express their feelings, speak their truths, to challenge their truths — especially when these reinforce injustices — and to reimagine their futures.”

“… we can hold space by recognizing that power and privilege exist even within queer movements, and these consequently affect one’s access to participating within the activist space.”