Safe Zone Training
What is Safe Zone?
Safe Zone Workshops are wonderfully unique opportunities for people to talk, learn, and ask questions about sexuality and gender in a non-judgemental, safe, educational environment.
These are essential elements to any successful Safe Zone: a safe space free of judgements where people can honestly communicate with each other, educate one another, and ask any and all questions.
We live in an ever-diversifying society, and in order to be supportive and aware of different identities, perspectives, and experiences, we must pursue (and provide) opportunities to learn about different identities, perspectives, and experiences – particularly ones that are stigmatized, marginalized, and largely silenced.
Safe Zone Workshops are opportunities to learn a little more about how sexuality and gender influence our everyday experiences.
Why do people do Safe Zone trainings?
LGBTQ folks sometimes question whether they will feel safe, welcomed, or supported in a new environment. Displaying Safe Zone stickers and demonstrating you went to a training can communicate to others the commitment you're making to creating LGBTQ-inclusive environments.
There is a pressure to already know how to be LGBTQ+ inclusive. And while many of us want to be we don't necessarily feel comfortable with the language, with our own level of understanding, and don't know where to go to learn more and to explore conversations around gender and sexuality. Safe Zone trainings are safe places for people can go to learn more, about their own gender/sexuality and deepen their understanding of LGBTQ+ identity and issues.
How do I become a Safe Zone / make my organization a Safe Zone?
It's awesome than you want your organization to be a safe and inclusive place for LGBTQ folks. Attending a Safe Zone training, having a deeper familiarity and comfort with vocabulary, inclusive practices, and privilege can help you identify ways that your organization can continue to be a more safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ folks.
We would encourage you not to call your organization a "safe zone" but instead to think strategically about ways to get everyone organization Safe Zone trained so they as individuals have a personal connection and understanding of the material. If you want folks to know your organization is LGBTQ-inclusive, welcoming, and affirming, we encourage you to start with that statement and then invite folks to hold you accountable through feedback.
Where can I get Safe Zone Trained?
Start local! If you're looking to attend a Safe Zone training, SDSU has an online module or go to the Safe Zone Project. Local LGBTQ organizations are another great place to inquire, and if they don't offer trainings, they may be able to direct you to a resource that does!
If you are part of an organization or school who is looking to start a Safe Zone program in order to train your population the Safe Zone Project offers train-the-trainer programs for those who want some assistance getting started!
Who invented Safe Zone Trainings?
It is uncertain. The exposure to the term "Safe Zone" meaning LGBTQ awareness and ally workshops was within higher education (Meg at Hamilton College, Sam at a similarly-focused program at Purdue). The idea and terminology have has since spread to non-profits, healthcare settings, and many other progressive organizations.
Are Safe Zone workshops just for straight people? Are they ally trainings?
Nope! While Safe Zone workshops will absolutely assist straight (and cisgender) people to learn how to be better allies, there is a lot for everyone to learn in a Safe Zone workshop. Many LGBTQ folks enjoy having the opportunity to learn more about how to be better allies to those within the community and more knowledgeable about identities and systems they may otherwise not be aware of! The goals of Safe Zone workshops is awareness and knowledge of gender/sexuality (including your own!) and is not limited to how to help/support others as ally trainings may be.
Is this the "official" way for me to become a Safe Zone trainer?
Nope. There is no "official" Safe Zone workshop curriculum, organization, or website. Because the term is used so widely by many different people and to indicate many different curriculum, it would be silly for anyone to claim to be the "official" one. One of the goals of The Safe Zone Project is to create commonality in what it means to be "safe zone trained" and to offer an easy way (free curriculum) for people to get materials.