For as long as the concept of safe spaces has existed, it has been under contention. Opponents of safe spaces are wary of curtailing free speech, coddling "snowflake" students and raising a generation incapable of leading, and various other criticisms. These concerns are certainly real and worth meaningful discussion, but it's also important to understand why safe spaces exist and why they are so important to people.
Aside from breaking ideas of political correctness and inclusivity, discriminatory behaviors can take a toll on people's health as well. For many whose identities invite aggressions both on the micro and macro scales, daily interactions can be anxiety-inducing. In addition to the psychological stress, anxiety can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as a racing heart, tight chest, and churning stomach. Furthermore, anxiety can lead to avoidance behaviors and unhealthy self-isolation out of fear.
Safe spaces can swoop to the rescue, allowing people to come together and exist free of judgement and without the need to put up a facade. In these spaces, there are no stipulations on their identity. They can come out of their self-isolation and surround themselves with the support of similarly-identifying members of the community. Mental stress is eased, unpleasant physical symptoms can quietly slip away. They feel safe. Soothed.
If the anxiety of guarding against discrimination is a hair tie that's pulling too tight, then safe spaces provide that moment of relief when one can finally let their hair down. These places give weary spirits a chance to simply be without the constant need to explain why or how. It's as if there's a call: come out of hiding, Rapunzel. We see you here.