Unfortunately for many, traveling as an out and proud member of the LGBTQ community isn’t something that is feasible. In many parts of the world, being gay, lesbian or trans is illegal. And even if it’s not, many don’t hesitate to inflict violence on our brothers and sisters. These incidents also happen in places we think have made progress, such as the United States.
But that’s why it’s important to know your rights and protect yourself, and Riyadh Khalaf is helping with the latter.
“Have you ever been a victim of a homophobic or transphobic attack?” Riyadh wrote on Instagram. “With incident rates on the rise (144% to be exact!), it’s no surprise that Queer people are learning how to protect themselves. I took a few friends along to see what one of these classes is all about.”
In the segment, Riyadh and several of his friends go to take a class at Ishigaki Jujitsu, a martial arts class created and run by queer people with the intention of informing members of the community how to defend themselves.
For over 25 years, “Ishigaki Jujitsu has been priding itself on being the largest LGBTQ+ martial arts club, promoting a safe and tolerant environment for anyone who wishes to train.”
In addition to learning different moves and techniques to defend yourself, Riyadh’s friends share heartbreaking stories recounting abuse. It’s upsetting, but a sobering reminder that while we have made a ton of progress in the last couple of years, we still have a long way to go.
“Doing this class with my friends has made me feel a bit more in control,” Khalaf says at the end of the video. “I can hopefully flip it on its head and get out of there.”
Watch the full segment below.