What is Safe Zone?
Safe Zone is a program that trains individuals in understanding LGBTQ+ topics and how to be effective allies for LGBTQ+ people. This training does not assume any prior knowledge.
Why Safe Zone?
LGBTQ+ youth face substantial challenges that place them at risk. Nationally, fully 40% of homeless teens identify as LGBTQ. According to the Gay Lesbian Student Education Network’s (GLSEN’s) 2017 State Snapshot of North Carolina, 72% of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed, 27% of LGBTQ students reported being physically harassed, and 14% of LGBTQ students reported being physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation.
Moreover, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services found that the dropout rate of LGBTQ students is three times the national average. Safe Zone aims to bring awareness to these challenges and provide safer spaces for LGBTQ+ students.
Working with Dr. April Callis of the UNC-Chapel Hill LGBT Center, Sandhills PRIDE has brought Safe Zone to the Sandhills, free of charge. With Safe Zone, teachers, administrators, school staff, undergo four hours of volunteer training to become identifiable and informed LGBTQ+ allies in the schools and/or their places of work.
The goal of these trainings is to guide adults who are present in our community through a training that helps them become more aware of the specific issues confronting LGBTQ+ kids, families, and coworkers, and the resources available to them. While this type of informed ally ship cannot replace counselors, therapists, and social workers, it allows LGBTQ+ people to be able to identify people who accept and welcome them and offers a visual clue to supportive individuals.
Those who complete the training receive a Safe Zone sticker that inspires not only people to engage in vital conversations of support or interest, should they need them, but also signifies passive yet powerful allyship.