The safe space program helps those students of the LGBTQ+ community on the Wilkes campus to identify a supportive faculty/staff member or student group. The visibility of the safe space sticker allows the campus community to identify faculty/staff members and know that they can speak freely with these individuals about LGBTQ+ issues.
The program is completely voluntary. The reason why we are offering these sessions is because we want to educate ourselves about LGBTQ+ issues and concerns and how they relate to colleges and universities. There will be two ways this program will be offered: Safe Space Ally Training and LGBTQ+ awareness training. The sessions are offered to faculty/staff and students.
What is the Safe Space Program?
Surveys indicates that a majority of LGBTQ+ students do not feel safe at school out of fear for personal safety. Students who can identify a supportive faculty/staff member or student group are more likely to feel a sense of belonging at their school than those who cannot. For many students, the presence of allies to whom they can turn for support - or even the simple knowledge that allies exist - can be a big factor in developing to improve school climate. Safe Space programs increase the visible presence of students and adults allies who can help to shape a school culture that is accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity / expression, or any other difference.
In the Safe Space Ally training session, we will provide participants with the tools to take action against negative attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community on and off campus. “In the most general sense, an “Ally” “is” a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population.”(Washington and Evans, Becoming an Ally) Participants in the Ally training will receive a Safe Space sign and / or button to display and may choose to be listed in our online Ally registry.
LGBTQ+ awareness training introduces participants to terminology that is used in the LGBTQ+ community and includes discussions of different scenarios. The Ally program will also be introduced so that those who attend the Safe Space training will know about the Ally program and can sign up for Ally training if interested.
Safe Space Mission
- To foster an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students, and their allies.
- To provides educational opportunities, advocacy, and programming for students, faculty, and staff on the Wilkes University campus.
- To aspire that Safe Space will help develop and support inclusive understanding of gender and sexuality, as well as foster a community that is open, safe, and supportive.
What Can You Do As An Ally
- Display your Safe Space Sticker! The sticker indicates that, within your office or room, homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions will not be tolerated silently, but instead will be addressed in an educational and nonthreatening manner. The sticker does not indicate whether or not you are LGBTQA; it merely states that you are an Ally.
- Support policies that bring equity to and give open support to LGBTQA issues.
- Encourage others to become a part of Safe Space.
- Attend Safe Space training to further increase your knowledge and awareness.
- Pay attention to the words people use to describe themselves. Not everyone identifies as “gay”, “lesbian”, “homosexual,” etc.
- Do not assume that a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person is attracted to you just because they have disclosed their sexual identity.
- Respect the desire for secrecy of a person you know to be gay, lesbian or bisexual. Do not “out” someone.
- Speak out against statements and jokes that attack LGBTQA people. Letting others know that you find anti-LGBTQA statements and jokes offensive and unacceptable can go a long away towards reducing homophobia.
- National Gay Lesbian Task Force external website
- Human Rights Campaign external website
- Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbian And Gays external website
- National Black Justice Coalition external website
- LGBTQArchitect external website
- Consortium external website
- Gay Asian Pacific Support Network external website
- Campus Pride external website
- Sexual Orientation: The desire for intimate emotional and sexual relationships with people of the same sex (homosexual), the other sex (heterosexual), or both sexes (bisexual).
- Gender Identity: A person’s sense of being male or female.
- Gay: The adjective used to describe people who are physically romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same sex.
- Lesbian: A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction is to other women.
- Bisexual: An individual who is physically, romantically, emotionally and/or spiritually attracted to men and women.
- Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from sex they were assigned at birth.
- Transsexual: A person who has changed, or is in the process of changing, his or her physical sex to conform to his or her internal sense of gender identity.
- Heterosexism: The assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality or bisexuality.
- Questioning: A term or period where an individual re-assesses (however privately or openly) the orientation/identity that they have either asserted for themselves, or been brought up as.
- Intersex: Describing a person whose biological sex is ambiguous.
- LGBTQA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Ally.