In GLSEN’s 2001 National School Climate Survey, research indicated that 68.6% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students, and 89.5% of transgender students felt unsafe in their school because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identification. Students also felt that having the presence of allies whom they can turn to for support or help and understood the importance of equality, acceptance and mutual respect was helpful. In this regard, the role of social justice allies are a critical factor in developing a positive sense of self, community, coping with discrimination, and improving campus climate. Furthermore, while some institutions have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identification, these polices alone are not an indicator of the student, staff, and/or faculty daily experience. Therefore, Safe Zone Training seeks to increase the visible presence of students, staff and faculty who can help to shape a campus culture that is accepting of all people regardless of sexuality, gender identification/expression, or any other difference. Training topics and exercises include: becoming comfortable discussing sexuality and gender identifications, the importance of inclusive language, creating safe spaces and how to be a supportive advocate and ally for LGBTQ social justice and equality.
Participants are provided a resources packet, and those who wish to be LGBTQ allies are also given a Safe Zone magnet that acknowledges their space as safe to LGBTQ persons to express themselves openly and know they will be treated with respect.
As an ally, you are expected to be open and affirming to LGBTQ persons, and to provide information and referrals when needed. The LGBTQ Center provides departmental training to students, staff and faculty year round.
To find out more about how you can participate in Safe Zone training, please contact the LGBTQ Center at 513-556-4329.
NOTE: Begining Academic Year 2008-2009, Safe Zone Allies will be required to attend training every two years to maintain ally status.