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SAFE ZONES
 

Safe Zone Project

Gay Alliance: Safe Zone Programs

HRC: Establishing an Allies/Safe Zone Program

Campus Pride: Safe Zone Training Resources

Wikipedia: Safe Space

Colleges with Safe Zone Programs


Providing Safe Spaces on Campus

"All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential."
-HARVEY MILK

“We've made houses for hatred. It's time we made a place where people's souls may be seen and made safe.”
-JEWEL KILCHER

“If you are not personally free to be yourself in that most important of all human activities… the expression of love… then life itself loses its meaning.”
-HARVEY MILK

 

Why Safe Zones?

Typically, Safe Zone programs are found on university and college campuses. However they are also found in high schools and workplaces. Safe Zone programs provide safe spaces that are highly visible and easily identifiable to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons, where support and understanding is the key and where bigotry and discrimination are not tolerated.

Safe Zones are commonly identified as "ally" programs, where members of the LGBTQ community receive support from and work together with heterosexual supporters, friends and allies.

A number of college and universities have implemented educational interventions with names such as Safe Zone, Safe Space, Safe Harbor, or Safe Campus. The hallmark of these "Safe" programs is the public identification of allies by placing a "Safe" symbol sticker, decal, or placard on office doors or within desinated spaces.

Student affairs professionals, administrators, and faculty now recognize the potential the development of heterosexual allies has for making the culture of a college or university campus more tolerant towards LGBTQ students. Program interventions designed specifically for allies, such as Safe Zone programs, address the development of heterosexual allies while providing support to LGBTQ students.

 

 

Typical components of these ally programs include:

 

--Sticker, decal, placard, or sign with a distinctive symbol

--Resource manual or handbook containing general information about LGBTQ issues and concerns

--Detailed lists of LGBTQ services and resources (including agencies, organizations, activities)

--Orientation class, workshop, or training session

--Advisory board/committee

--Website, social media, on-line resources

--Social and educational events

 

Typical components of a safe zone orientation class, workshop, or training session:

 

--Presentation of LGBTQ terminology and symbols

--Discussion of the affirmations and challenges of LGBTQ people

--LGBTQ research, statistics, and data

--LGBTQ guest speakers or panelists sharing personal stories

--Tips and strategies for allies

--Case study or scenario-type exercises

 

Typical topics and subject matter for ally training:

 

--Coming out process

--Homophobia and heterosexism

--Terminology and definitions

--Respectful language, inclusive terminology, and preferred pronouns

--LGBTQ news, celebrities, and history

--Transgender and genderqueer issues

 

Safe Zone Project

Gay Alliance: Safe Zone Programs

HRC: Establishing an Allies/Safe Zone Program

Campus Pride: Safe Zone Training Resources

Wikipedia: Safe Space

Colleges with Safe Zone Programs

 

 

Safe Zone Mission and Purpose

The purpose of a Safe Zone program is to reduce homophobia and heterosexism on campus and thereby to make the campus a safer and freer environment for all members of the community regardless of sexual orientation. Individual students and faculty and staff members are trained to serve as resources for members of the campus community who are interested in thinking through and becoming more knowledgeable about diversity of sexual orientation.

Safe Zone’s purpose is to provide a safe space or area where members of the campus or community can show their support for individuals affected by homophobia, harassment, hate, and sexual violence.

By placing a Safe Zone symbol on their door or showing the symbol to others, Safe Zone allies signify that their office, classroom, or workspace is a safe place for LGBTQ individuals to be themselves, without fear of judgment. When they see the symbol, LGBTQ students and clients know that they will be respected and affirmed and that they can talk about personal issues without guarding or editing their language.

The purpose of any Safe Zone program is to create a network of allies for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, and by doing so, to make the community a safer and more supportive place.

 

Defining a Safe Zone Program

 

It is an educational initiative that provides resources and information about some of the issues and concerns of the LGBTQ community.

It is a network of allies and advocates that provide a non-judgmental, supportive and affirming sanctuary for LGBTQ students.

It is a diversity program aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of LGBTQ issues and fostering a climate of respect for and acceptance of all people, especially for people who are different from ourselves.

It is an organization of LGBTQ allies and advocates seeking to address bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, harassment, hatred, and violence.

It is a group of concerned educators responding to injustice, homophobia, heterosexism, and other forms of oppression.

 

Safe Zone Objective

It is the belief of Safe Zone programs that all learning and work environments should be safe and free of discrimination, prejudice, and harassment.
 

The objective of Safe Zone programs is to make it possible to easily identify individuals who are empathetic and informed about LGBTQ issues, and who are willing and able to provide support, information, and confidentiality.

Safe Zone programs seek to educate and raise awareness within the community. They seek to address ignorance about and promote tolerance of people with alternate lifestyles and non-traditional sexual identities. They seek to foster an environment that is more supportive and comfortable for all people.

The Safe Zone program is a symbol of a community’s efforts to increase awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
 

Safe Zone Project

Gay Alliance: Safe Zone Programs

HRC: Establishing an Allies/Safe Zone Program

Campus Pride: Safe Zone Training Resources

Wikipedia: Safe Space

Colleges with Safe Zone Programs

 

Safe Zone Guiding Assumptions

What are the philosophical foundations upon which a Safe Zone program is established and maintained? What beliefs and values serve as the foundation of a Safe Zone program?  Safe Zone programs are based on certain guiding assumptions:

All learning and work environments should be safe and free of discrimination, prejudice, and harassment.

All sexual orientations and gender representations are part of our culture and should be acknowledged and supported.

 

Discussing feelings is important to understanding the issues of difference and diversity. Creating a sense of safety is important so that feelings can be shared.
 

It is important to civilized people to preserve human dignity, guard human rights, confront injustice, and to end all forms of oppression.

Heterosexism is a form of oppression, like racism. It leads to discrimination, prejudice, harassment, and violence.

Because of homophobia, there is usually little opportunity to talk freely and learn about LGBTQ people and their issues and concerns. This serves to perpetuate heterosexism.

 

It is important to be educated and informed about current issues, and to learn about marginalized and misunderstood populations. In many cases this is a professional imperative and ethical obligation to acquire and apply this kind of knowledge.

It is possible to maintain one’s individual moral perspectives, spiritual values, and religious beliefs while behaving in ways that are respectful of people that are different from oneself. 

 

Therefore, a person cannot use his or her religious affiliation, for example, as an excuse for hating another person. Nor is it permissible for a person to continue believing false information when research has otherwise enlightened them to the facts.

Being heterosexual is not a choice. Neither is being homosexual.

 

 

Safe Zone Symbols

While many safe zone programs on various college campuses have individually unique logos to represent their particular program, there are some common themes and motifs.

It is popular among safe zone programs for colleges and universities to incorporate their school's insignia, colors, or mascot into their safe zone sticker design.

 

Rainbow colors, inverted triangles, and other common LGBTQ symbols are often used in the design of safe zone stickers, placards, and signage.

 

The circle design has come to represent the universal safe zone symbol. The green circle (sometimes a symbol for LGBTQ allies) represents safety or protection. The inverted pink triangle inside the circle represents the LGBTQ community. Together they depict protection for LGBTQ people.

 

Sometimes the "ally" symbol is used in safe zone stickers designs.  Sometimes traffic signs (especially stop signs) are a part of many safe zone symbols.

 

 

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