The LGBTQ Academy at the Gay Alliance has worked nationally with over 40 colleges and universities from California to Pennsylvania offering our expertise on running SafeZone Trainings. This training was created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are culturally competent and supportive to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) individuals, as well as straight, cisgender people who care about diversity, equality and inclusion.
What is a SafeZone?
A safe zone or a safe space is a confidential place where all people can bring their authentic selves and feel safe, welcome and included. It may be a classroom, a car or an entire agency. Creating safe zones or safe spaces is a proactive step that schools, agencies and corporations can take to create welcoming, inclusive spaces so that all people are empowered to reach their full potential. The LGBTQ Academy SafeZone programs aim to increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills for individuals and address the challenges that exist when one wants to advocate for their LGBTQ peers, family members, friends, coworkers and for themselves.
In Our Schools:
For LGBTQ students, faculty and staff the school environment can pose numerous threats and obstacles. Hateful language, physical and emotional harassment and the threat of physical violence are a reality for many LGBTQ people. Even in more supportive environments the resounding silence on all things LGBTQ is a painful message in itself. Below are some recent statistics on LGBTQ youth and the school environment.
- LGBTQ students were more than twice as likely to have skipped school in the past month because of safety concerns. And in 2015, students were less likely to report that school staff intervened in homophobic and sexist remarks than in 2005. – 2016 GLSEN’s Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited
- “The majority of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender while in school (K–12) experienced some form of mistreatment, including being verbally harassed (54%), physically attacked (24%), and sexually assaulted (13%) because they were transgender. Further, 17% experienced such severe mistreatment that they left a school as a result.” – 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s Transgender Survey Report
- 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ – 2012 Williams Institute’s Serving Our Youth
- 40% of transgender people had attempted suicide compared to 4.6% of the general population – 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s Transgender Survey Report
In Our Workplaces:
While progress is slowly being made to create more welcoming and inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ employees, there is still much to be done. Below are some eye-opening statistics.
- 53% of LGBTQ employees hide who they are at work. -2014 Human Rights Campaign’s The Cost of the Closet
- 20% of LGBTQ employees report looking for another job specifically because their workplace environment isn’t accepting of LGBTQ individuals. -2014 Human Rights Campaign’s The Cost of the Closet
- 15% of transgender employees report being verbally harassed, physically attacked and/or sexually assaulted at work within the last year because of their gender identity or expression. – 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s US Transgender Survey Report
For many LGBTQ individuals energy that could be spent on working and creating healthy relationships with coworkers is instead spent on maintaining barriers, avoiding social events and learning how to keep secrets about their home lives and families.
About our SafeZone Training
The LGBTQ Academy at the Gay Alliance offers a SafeZone Training that can be customized to meet the needs of any organization. Our SafeZone Training is a 2-4 hour workshop, which can be presented in one or two sessions. This program is a dynamic, interactive session that includes activities and discussion around: inclusive and respectful language, the process of coming out, understanding sexual and gender identity, taking action on our campuses and in our workplaces, where to go for help and much more. This session will give participants the skills they need to provide support and to create environments that are safe, welcoming and inclusive. At the end of the class, participants are offered a Gay Alliance SafeZone sticker so that they can create their own SafeZone.
Feedback from our SafeZone Training Program (January 2017)
100% of the participants from this presentation rated both this workshop and our trainers “very good” to “excellent.”