Safe Zones Can Help
Frequently, LGBTQ individuals are unable to be themselves because they are targeted by groups who are openly or implicitly discriminatory. For example, the Westboro Baptist Church (a fringe religious group) demonstrates at military funerals as a way of warning people against the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals.
Safe Zone is a way to identify LGBTQ allies within a campus community and provide those allies, and the people who seek them out, with support and information.
There is no one universal program. Institutions create their own program to their specific needs, experience, expertise, and resources. Some organizations call their programs Safe Space, Safe Harbor, Safe on Campus, or Ally Support.
The Purpose of a Safe Zone
Safe Zones allow the community to easily identify LGBTQ allies in the campus community, which is important because LGBTQ individuals and allies are not easily identifiable.
There is a plethora of LGBTQ misinformation, and there is hostility toward LGBTQ individuals.
Safe Zone makes it possible for those seeking help or advice to find it without having to:
- Fear for their emotional or physical well being
- Explain themselves
- Educate or re-educate instead of receiving services
No one is expected to, nor is it possible for anyone to know everything. Safe Zone provides resources, educational and a support network for allies.
EVERYONE has a right to their own opinion, and Safe Zone is NOT meant to change people or their beliefs. Respecting the beliefs of others means not trying to change people who disagree with these issues as well as not trying to change people who are LGBTQ.
One of the principles of the Safe Zone program is that it is totally voluntary. NO NEGATIVE connotation or feedback is permitted for those who choose not to participate in the program.