SafeZone Training Programs
As one of the oldest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) organizations in the country we are proud to continue our core mission of providing services to the LGBT communities of Rochester NY and surrounding areas. In recent years our education programs have gained national attention, and our trainers have extended our reach beyond the upstate NY region. We have been leading sessions across the country, presenting keynote addresses at conferences, and working with clients from a variety of states to meet their educational and training goals.
Last year the Gay Alliance ran nearly 50 SafeZone training sessions as part of our almost 200 presentations. In addition, we have helped to create a SafeZone curriculum and train trainers in numerous settings including corporate, health care and college campuses. Few organizations in the country have our experience or expertise.
The Gay Alliance’s SafeZone program was created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are culturally competent and supportive to LGBT individuals, as well as straight identified people who care about diversity, equality and inclusion.
In Our Schools:
Several research groups have documented results that indicate that LGBT teens are at a much higher risk for attempting suicide than their straight counterparts. For LGBT students, faculty and staff the school environment poses numerous threats and obstacles. Hateful language, physical and emotional harassment and the threat of physical violence are a reality for many LGBT people.
Survey responses from Growing Up LGBT in America, the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 research study, revealed that many LGBT youth and young adults are profoundly disconnected from their communities. Youth and young adults who are out to their immediate family or at school report a higher likelihood to achieve several life goals compared to those who are not out, if asked to imagine their future while living in their current city or town. The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN’s) 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.
It is therefore necessary for institutions to take proactive steps to create an inclusive and safe environment to promote mental health so that all students, faculty and staff are empowered to reach their full potential.
In Our Workplaces:
While progress is slowly being made to create more welcoming and inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees, there is still much to be done. Below are some eye opening statistics from the 2009 Human Rights Campaign’s Degrees of Equality: A National Study Examining Workplace Climate for LGBT Employees.
- The majority of LGBT workers (51%) hide their identities to most of their coworkers.
- 58% of LGBT workers say someone at work makes a joke or derogatory comment about LGBT people at least once in a while.
- 80% of LGBT employees confront conversations involving spouses, relationships and dating at least once per week.
- 51% of LGBT employees say their employer rarely uses terms such as "partner" or "significant other" in communications.
- The vast majority of LGBT workers do not report instances when they hear an anti-LGBT remark to human resources or management. On average, 67 % ignore it or let it go, 9 % raise the issue with a supervisor and only 5 % go to human resources.
For many LGBT individuals, the work environment is fraught with anxiety. Derogatory comments go unchecked, exclusive language is used in workplace communications and 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 answer questions about their home lives evasively. It is necessary for agencies and corporations to take proactive steps to create inclusive and safe environments so that all individuals are empowered to reach their full potential.
What is a SafeZone?
A SafeZone is a place where all people feel welcome and safe. It may be a room, a car, or an entire college campus. The Gay Alliance SafeZone program aims to increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills for individuals while addressing the challenges that exist when one wants to advocate for their LGBT peers, family members, friends and co-workers.
About our SafeZone Training
The Gay Alliance SafeZone Training can be customized to meet the needs of any organization. Ideally 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 language, the process of coming out, the power of the straight ally, understanding sexual identity, how to respond to homophobic/transphobic incidents, 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.
100% of the participants in our most recent training rated the content of the presentation, the workshop as a whole and the presenters “very good to excellent!”