LGBTQ South Florida

Miami Beach creates citywide safe-space program for LGBTQ victims of crime, bullying

The Miami Beach City Commission on Jan. 11, 2017, unanimously voted to create a citywide “Safe Space” program to encourage local businesses to show their support for the LGBTQ community.
The Miami Beach City Commission on Jan. 11, 2017, unanimously voted to create a citywide “Safe Space” program to encourage local businesses to show their support for the LGBTQ community.

The Miami Beach City Commission on Wednesday unanimously voted to create a citywide safe-space business program to help protect LGBTQ crime and bullying victims.

“I know a couple of folks who have been [victims of] bullying and harassment in the last six months,” said Commissioner Michael Grieco, who sponsored the ordinance at Wednesday’s commission meeting. “That hadn’t happened before, and it happened in Miami Beach.”

Beach businesses that want to be known as LGBTQ safe spaces can register with the Miami Beach Police Department and receive decals to place in windows. Each decal is the size of a smartphone, features the LGBT rainbow flag and states “We protect, we help, we call 911.”

Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates said it will take a small amount of training for businesses to be declared safe spaces.

“It will be relatively easy for us to implement, and I think it will be a comfort to the community,” Oates said.

For a business to register as a safe space, it must display the decal in the front entrance, assist LGBTQ victims in calling 911, and allow LGBTQ victims of crimes or harassment to stay at the location until police arrive.

“It’s a fantastic thing for Miami Beach, and it’s a fantastic thing to be able to set this example in Miami-Dade,” said Tony Lima, executive director of the SAVE Foundation, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights.

Miami Herald staff writer Joey Flechas contributed to this report.

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