#safetypin and Safe Hearts

I was initially going to post something else today, but in light of all the political insanity I can’t seem to get my head out of, I’m changing my focus. Next month, I’m going to have a great interview with award-winning author Genta Sebastian, who’s got a brand spanking new book, and I’m totally pumped. You will be too once you hear the juicy details. So we can look forward to that.

Today, however, I want to talk about safety pins.

I have a dear cousin who’s a pastor, a very progressive pastor. She texted me over the weekend wondering what I thought about the Safety Pin movement. I have to admit I’ve been hanging out neck deep in the sand since last Tuesday and I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. I did a little googling, and the idea came from the Brexit vote in Great Britain that stirred all kinds of racist, anti-Semitic, hate-filled rhetoric, just like what’s happening here.

The pin is meant to show support, a safe person to talk to, someone who’d be supportive. I thought that idea was stellar. But apparently there are those folks out there who don’t feel that way. What are your thoughts? Good? Bad? Something else? Do you or will you wear a pin? Why would someone not want to wear the pin?

Let me know what you think in the comments below! And don’t forget, Genta Sebastian will be with me next month, and I can’t wait! Here’s some pre-deets on Genta’s new book and pre-order launch party:

When Butches Cry will be released on December 15th, and I will be hosting a pre-order launch party here:https://www.facebook.com/whenbutchescry/ on Friday & Saturday nights, December 9th & 10th. Come join us for plenty of prizes, surprises, and holiday spirit and cheer. Save it on your calendar now.




  1. I think that it is a good idea, a pin or something similar. We need a way to say: you are safe, we uphold your rights. The increase in hate crimes and sexually abusive comments demands we do something visible as a show of support.

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  2. I’m all about the safety pin. It says “I see you”- both to the person who is feeling threatened and to the person who is feeling empowered in their hatred and exclusiveness. For some people who may victimize others it provides a barrier to action- much like the screen on an open window provides a barrier to entry. Some (although certainly not all) would-be thieves won’t go through the screen. It’s also a visible, public indication that you stand on the side of love and inclusiveness. People tend to follow what’s popular and “acceptable”.

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  3. If I were being attacked, I wouldn’t be looking for someone wearing a safety pin to call for help. The pin is only there to ease the guilt of the wearing. If you look around, you can see it has already been taken over by those not listening to minorities during this time. Stepping in when you see an act of violence (whether physical or verbal) or learning how to approach people from different backgrounds while on public transportation is a better way to show solidarity than wearing a safety pin. If you are in a group, you are less likely to be attacked. Being that second person may prevent an attack from happening.

    If you want to pin something on, think about the numerous buttons out there (such as the #IllGoWithYou buttons) that state how you will support marginalized communities.

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  4. The way the pins were explained to me was that they identify people you can talk to or simply stand with if you feel threatened and vice versa. Doesn’t matter what side either person is on, it’s a matter of recognizing our common humanity.

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  5. I look at the safety pins as a sign of solidarity. It is one small thing I can do to show others I’m with them. It isn’t because it makes me feel better other than if I see someone else wearing one, I’ll know they are with me in solidarity, too.

    It reminds me of when Karen and I lost our house and everything in it to a fire. Until you’ve been through something like that, you can’t know how devastating it is. I remember walking through stores or being in public anywhere thinking no one knows what I’m feeling right now…. It reminded me of the saying, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” Well, we are ALL fighting a battle right now. Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ+, blacks, latinos, immigrants, and more—along with all our allies. The safety pin someone else is wearing tells me that they are also going through this same battle with us. It reminds me we have allies. It tells me we are all standing together in solidarity.

    *I also wear one of the “IllGoWithYou pins—one pinned to my handbag and make sure I have one in full view when I travel.

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  6. I think the concept is a good one–solidarity and being there for people is a good thing, obviously.
    But I worry about the ‘fad’ possibility of it, about those jumping on the wagon but not prepared to step up when it counts.
    I also think wearing the pin doesn’t actually help in a high stress situation; if someone is being attacked, they’re not going to search your jacket, bag, etc, for a safety pin to see if you’re an ally. You’ll prove you’re an ally by standing up when it matters.
    I don’t have any problem with it. I don’t have one, because I don’t expect people to search one out in my clothing when we’re on public transport. But then, maybe just seeing one, even if they aren’t being attacked, would make them feel safer, just knowing someone else is around if something does go tits up?
    I’m still processing it. But I am glad to see so many people talking about solidarity, and hopefully that will translate into action when necessary.

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  7. I’ve been wearing a safety pin since the summer,and the main thing it does is spark conversation with a variety of people — including some who have a range of political views opposed to mine, but who still claim to believe in treating everyone fairly.

    I don’t think seeking out a pin in moments of extreme stress is necessarily the intention — it’s more a case of being recognised before anything happens and hoping that if I’m there when something does happen I’ll find a way to help or that someone who’s seen me before will remember that I’m a safe person and move towards me rather than away from me.

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  8. These are really great conversations and I’m so happy you’ve all chimed in. My feeling after reading all of these responses is that I’m going to wear one. I’ll step in if I see something, but living where we do, in a very red area of Minnesota, it’s like having a Barack or Hillary bumper sticker. At least the people who see it will know they are not alone. That has given me a lot of comfort in the past and I hope I can pay that feeling forward.


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