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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 18, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 47
SOSea and Mac S. McGregor offer FREE self-defense training at Neighbours Dec. 7
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SOSea and Mac S. McGregor offer FREE self-defense training at Neighbours Dec. 7

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim attacks were on the rise in 2015 and if early numbers from 2016 have anything to say about it, those attacks will have increased for the second year in a row, making 2016 a year with a record number of crimes against LGBTQ and Muslim Seattleites. These numbers reflect attacks that have happened during a black Democratic president's administration in a city that elected a Gay mayor who has a near perfect record for civil rights. So it should be easy to understand why some folks in Seattle - particularly LGBTQ, Muslim, and immigrant - feel that if those were the numbers when we supposedly 'have it good' then what will life under a Donald Trump administration look like? I think we all already know the answer to that question. And while nobody can truly say what the number of attacks will be or from whom exactly the attacks will come from, we can say that they will indeed happen.

The best way to protect yourself from attack is to have a plan, attend training on how to defend yourself, and continue to look at ways to keep yourself and those you love safe. Whether or not the issue is active shooter, physical assault or sexual violence, you need to know how to fight back, at least enough to save your life and get away in a country that has violent tendencies. America is a violent nation whether we want to admit it or not. Members of the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities know this better than anybody.

Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea), the organization that I am founder and president of, has offered self-defense classes to the LGBTQ community and our allies since 2013. We tailor each training session to match a specific threat, but overall, each class will give participants the basic level knowledge of how to get out and stay alive.

'The best way to win a fight is to not get into one,' Mac S. McGregor, the martial arts and self-defense expert who teaches each SOSea self-defense class says. But Mac, a Transgender activist and martial arts world champion, also admits that there are times when no matter what you do, you can find yourself in trouble. That is when training counts. When faced with danger people will refer to what they know - things they have been taught or answers to scenarios they have gone over in their head again and again. Basically, you go into autopilot and your body reacts by doing the things you have been trained to do in situations that require specific results. Fight or flight comes to mind.

Donald Trump awoke a certain type of racist that might have still existed in America, but a bigot that had been hushed. Whether it was his intention or not, these hateful folks are feeling emboldened by his win and are starting to come out of the shadows. It is not a ridiculous thing to think that this makes LGBTQ and other marginalized people open for attack. Hate crimes, or bias crimes as they are known here in Seattle, are a specific type of attack. They are usually verbal, less reasonable (i.e. why the attacker specifically chose their victim aside from color of skin or perceived sexual orientation, which in turn makes it harder for a victim to reconcile), and can often lead to the victim or victims suffering from PTSD.

SOSea has scheduled a special self-defense class for December 7 at Neighbours Nightclub (1509 Broadway) (6 p.m. doors, 6:30-8 p.m. class), for all ages and is all-inclusive (LGBTQIA) to address hate crimes and how to deal with them physically, legally, and even how to possibly avoid them. Additionally, SOSea will also help attendees understand what they can do if they see someone harassing others or assaulting others, to either stop the situation, be a good witness, and/or comfort the victim in the aftermath. This is important stuff and, although the classes might seem a bit 'in your face' because they design the scenarios and situations to be as real as possible, the knowledge that you can gain from these trainings could very well one day save your life.

The classes are all about community and recovering safety that is taken away by our fear of what might happen to us at the hands of bigots are predators. It is important to SOSea that people learn not to live in fear, but to live in knowledge instead. To see what you can expect from a SOSea self-defense class take a look at these videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSHyJTOL_GA&t=35s, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZShQrZvMaZo, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJSCBB_X8eU.

To RSVP for the class, or to get more information about the class, go to the official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1502550879760501/.

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