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Common Questions about Safe Zone

What is Safe Zone?

Safe Zone training aims to create a visible network of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning individuals and their allies by providing an avenue through which any member of UT Arlington can show their support. The program also extends a physical safe space for LGBTQ students and their allies throughout the campus.  Training exposes and critiques how sexism and homophobia affects society as a whole, examines the social conditioning of gender roles, and identify pertinent community resources for additional support. However, Safe Zone is not meant to be a support group, or to be substituted for therapeutic sessions with a clinical psychologist. In situations where you feel the student may need to speak to a professional, be sure to refer them to the Counseling Center.

What does it mean to be Safe Zone trained?

Safe Zone training is a great way to learn how to better support your students and coworkers. By completing the training, you signal to your students and colleagues that you are committed to supporting the LGBTQ community. For both those within the community and others, the training also provides information about less visible parts of the community, namely the transgender, questioning, and bisexual communities.

What is my role as a Safe Zone Member?

Your main role as a Safe Zone member is VISIBILITY. You are expected to post your Safe Zone sticker in a visible area. Once you have identified yourself as a Safe Zone member, you are expected to provide support, resources, and referrals to individuals who choose to approach you. You are also expected to maintain the students' confidentiality and requests for privacy. Be sure to maintain appropriate boundaries for your own well-being. Safe Zone training helps allies recognize that unlearning oppressive beliefs and actions are a lifelong process, and not a single event.

Is Safe Zone only about LGBTQ students? What about other groups who experience bias?

Due to the interconnectedness of all prejudices, Safe Zone training incorporates many “isms,” such as racism, classism, ableism, and others. However, LGBTQ issues remain largely invisible in classrooms and institutions because homophobia and heterosexism are often considered socially acceptable. Safe Zone’s focus on LGBTQ issues is largely based on the idea that any effort to reduce one type of bias will reduce the instance of other types of bias.

What is an Ally?

An ally is a member of a dominant group who rejects the dominant ideology and takes action against oppression out of a belief that eliminating oppression benefits everyone. They work to be an agent of social change rather than an agent of oppression. Allies take responsibility for learning how oppression works in everyday life, and listen to and respect the perspectives of those who are oppressed. They are willing to make mistakes and learn from them; when they are unsure of something, they are willing to ask questions and respect the answers of those whose rights they support.

Why are Allies Important?

It is a widely available statistic that an estimated 10% of the population is comprised of LGBT people. Despite decades of progress towards universal human rights, the LGBT community still confronts criticism, discrimination, and animosity. Alarmingly, these prejudices and stereotypes are often much more socially acceptable when directed towards sexual minorities than towards many ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. And while other minority individuals can often identify role models and mentors, the invisibility of sexual orientation makes it very difficult for LGBT members of the UTA community to ascertain where they can safely turn for support and information.