Why Safe Zone?

LGBTQ+ Safe Zone

 

Safe Zone Training Program

LGBTQ+ individuals – youth and adults – face substantial challenges that place them at higher risk to encounter physical violence, harassment, discrimination, and physical and mental health issues, than heterosexual or cisgender individuals.

According to GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian, Student Education Network) 2021 National School Climate Survey executive summary:

  • 72% of LGBQ+ students reported hearing negative remarks about gender expression from teachers
    and/or staff.
  • 68% of these students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or
    gender expression.
  • 53.7% were sexually harassed (e.g., unwanted touching or sexual remarks).
  • 32.2% had missed at least one day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe, with 11.3%
    missing four or more days.
  • 19% – nearly 1 in 5 – lesbian, gay and bisexual high school-aged students say they have been forced
    to have sex, compared with 6% of heterosexual students.

And the data is no better for LGBTQ+ adults. In the executive summary of GLAAD’s (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) 2022 Accelerating Acceptance Survey:

  • 70% of the LGBTQ+ community reported an increase of discrimination in their daily lives between 2020
    and 2022.
  • 54% of transgender/nonbinary people feel unsafe walking in their own neighborhoods, compared to
    36% of all LGBTQ+ adults.
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in state houses increased to 250 total bills between 2020 and 2022. One year
    later, by the end of 2023, they were up to 510.

Working with Dr. April Callis of the UNC-Chapel Hill LGBT Center, Sandhills PRIDE brought Safe Zone to the Sandhills in and recently expanded the program to reach beyond the original version designed for individuals working in K-12 academic settings. In late 2022, to meet the large increase in requests for our Safe Zone trainings, Sandhills PRIDE expanded the program to include customized versions tailored for different lengths as well as different audiences, including colleges/universities, places of worship, civic organizations, service and other nonprofits in the Sandhills and Central NC region, as well as local and international businesses.

The goal of these trainings is to guide individuals who are present in our community through a training that helps them become more aware of the specific issues confronting LGBTQ+ kids, adults, families, and coworkers, and the resources available to them. Participants undergo 2-, 3- or 4-hours of volunteer training to become identifiable and informed LGBTQ+ allies in their places of work, educational institutions, places of worship, and civic organizations. Those who complete the training receive a Safe Zone sticker, as well as a Certificate of Allyship, for display that inspires people to not only engage in vital conversations of support or interest, should they need them, but also signifies passive yet powerful allyship. While this type of informed allyship cannot replace counselors, therapists, and social workers, it allows LGBTQ+ people to be able to identify those who accept and welcome them and offers a visual clue to supportive individuals. Safe Zone trainings are customized to the needs of each organization and are free of charge for first training for schools and nonprofits.

Send email to request training or for information about becoming a Safe Zone trainer to:
contact@sandhillspride.org.