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Safe Zone Trainings Create a Culture of Inclusiveness

Feb-25-2015

Eastern Illinois University continues to offer Safe Zone trainings to create a culture of inclusiveness and address concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

The public, EIU students and staff are invited to attend the Safe Zone trainings offered every semester.

Cameron Carrara, graduate assistant of the LGBTQA Resource Center, said the Safe Zone trainings educate individuals to understand the concerns within the LGBTQA community and gives participants a general overview of terminology and what it means to be an ally. 

“These trainings help create a culture of inclusiveness,” Carrara said. “They create a comfortable environment or ‘safe’ zones for the LGBTQA community to turn to if every they should need them. These safe zones allow individuals to express any issue or concern in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance.”

Participants in the two-phase training will earn a 'safe zone' sticker, which they can place outside their campus office, residence hall or home. The sticker signifies to members of the LGBTQA community that the place is a ‘safe zone.’

Members of the LGBTQA Advisory Committee facilitate the Safe Zone program. The committee consists of EIU students, staff, faculty and community members committed to serving the LGBTQA population on campus. The committee also works closely with the LGBTQA Resource Center, which is located in Room 203 in Cultural Center across from Old Main. 

The first phase of the training focuses on general terminology, the coming out process and myths and misconceptions about the community. It explores the definition of homophobia and the Riddle Scale, which measures levels of homophobia in individuals, Carrara said.

“The first part of training also explores heterosexual privileges, which is when individuals do not realize the privileges they have as a heterosexual person,” Carrara said.

The second phase of the training focuses on how to become a better ally, an advocate of the LGBTQA community. This phase is an application-focused session, where participants gain the tools they need to provide resources to members of the community. 

The upcoming trainings are scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, for phase one, then phase two is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 12. Phase one and two are also scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 16.

To register for the trainings, click here

For more online resources, go to the LGBTQA web center here

“When it comes down to it, the Safe Zone program allows for an opportunity to educate participants, and to create safe spaces for the LGBTQA community on and off campus.” Carrara said. “This promotes a sense of acceptance and tolerance, which are values the LGBTQA community would like to see more of.”

The Safe Zone trainings have been taking place at EIU since 2009.