Frequently Answered Questions

Have questions about the website? About our thoughts on Safe Zone workshops?  About the words we use on this site?  You, m’friend, have come to right right place.

Do I need to be “certified” to use your curriculum?

Nope! We actually don’t offer certifications anyhow, so you can’t be certified by us. Our curriculum is provided here for your use — no strings attached. If you need help rolling out a program, or getting facilitators trained, we offer train-the-trainer programs.

I did a Safe Zone [some # of] years ago. Do I need to do another one?

Depends. The material covered in Safe Zone trainings evolves over time — at least, it should. If you’re doing a Safe Zone where the material hasn’t been updated in years, it’s at best out of date, at worst harmfully inaccurate). And tons of folks do trainings using the “Safe Zone” moniker that include very different activities and learning outcomes.

It’s not required (at least not by us, because we aren’t requirers/certifiers/overseers — we’re just a free online resource), but with that in mind, it never hurts to get a refresher, if you can. Andon’t let the fact that you haven’t gotten a refresher prevent you from doing what you can to advance the goals of Safe Zone in your workplace: mark yourself as an advocate, speak up and interrupt bias, and do what you can to make your space more inclusive of LGBTQ+ folks.

I have an activity I think you should add to the site. Do you want to see it?

Yes! One of our goals for this project is to turn it into the go-to resource online for sexuality and gender education activities, so we’d like to add as many as possible. If you have a great activity we don’t already have on the site, drop us a line. No guarantees we’ll add it, and we will likely modify it (or spruce it up a bit), but at the very least we’d love to read it!

My school doesn’t have a Safe Zone program — how do I change that?

Great question. First off – you’ve come to a great place to start! You’ve got few things to take into consideration. What are your goals for the program? Who do you want to train and how many individuals would that be? How can you access some (don’t need much) funding? Can you do this without an established student group? Are you into going at it alone? After you’ve answered these questions – you’ll have a good idea of where to start.

Do you have dreams of Safe Zoning the entire freshman class? Perhaps scale back, start small, build up interest and gather others who maybe want to become facilitators in the future. Think about how you can access funding to help you print materials and get a food (bait) and advertising budget.

After that you just need to get started! Advertising, booking spaces, exciting people about the program, and gettin’ to training! We’ve got you covered in terms of curriculum development, and soon we’ll have a whole slew of resources to help you become an all-star facilitator. But these are good questions to start with.

Can I modify the curriculum / resources?

Yes yes yes! Please do. Everything is uncopyrighted, and we did that for YOU. No need to ask permission, but we would appreciate you sharing back anything cool you make, so we can spread the word.

Do you train Safe Zone facilitators?

We do, but probably not in the way you’re asking if we do. So let’s first start with what we don’t do: [1] we don’t offer online facilitator training; [2] nor do we offer a facilitator training course (or webinar, or MOOC, or anything); [3] and we don’t do open facilitator training institutes.

The facilitator training we do is for groups (usually organizations, like universities, non-profits, hospitals, large companies, etc.) who are looking to roll out Safe Zone in their community. Those groups bring us in, and we work specifically with them to create a curriculum, train a group of folks to be amazing at facilitating that curriculum, then provide guidance on how to proliferate that learning throughout their entire organization.

At this point, if you’re on your own and you’re hoping to learn to be a Safe Zone trainer, we don’t offer any direct services. Sorry! However, it’s with you in mind that we created our ready-to-rock curriculum, our book about facilitation, and Sam’s (Killermann) book about gender.

Isn’t “Queer” a bad word?

No, Sometimes, and Yes. For many people (especially those who are younger, or in more urban areas) queer is a word of pride and the best way to “umbrella” diverse sexualities and genders. For some, queer is considered a “bad word” (i.e., a slur) in some contexts, and okay in others (e.g., who is saying it, how they’re saying it); or was a slur, but now they’re comfy with it. And for others, it’s still a slur, and they wouldn’t use it, or want it used to describe them.

We use “queer” in an affirming way on the site and in our trainings, and see it as a great umbrella term to refer to all diverse sexualities and genders. Here’s how we define it in our vocabulary:

Queer – (adj) used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight. Also used to describe people who have non-normative gender identity or as a political affiliation. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQ community. The term queer can often be use interchangeably with LGBTQ.

If you’re unsure if you should use it, or when you should/shouldn’t, here are two helpful rules: use it as an adjective (e.g., “Meg is a queer educator” — yay!) not a noun (e.g., “Meg is a queer” — blegh.); and use it if you’re comfy explaining why you use it.


As you may have noticed, on the site and in our curriculum we tend to use the acronym LGBTQ when referring to the queer community. Is this the right acronym to use? No, there really isn’t a “right” one — they all have their pros and cons. This is just the one we feel has the ideal balance of legibility (and ease of pronunciation) and inclusivity. The Q (queer) is used here as an umbrella, to recognize all the gender and sexual identities that don’t have their own letters.

A relatively new term, GSM, which stands for Gender and Sexuality Minorities, has cropped up recently, and while it has a lot of potential, it doesn’t have the universality of understanding that LGBTQ has (in the United States, at least).

I’ve attended a Safe Zone, but it was completely different than what your workshops looks like — was it wrong?

Nope. Just to clarify there is no “right” or “wrong” way to run a Safe Zone workshop, we just think there are “better” or “more effective” ways to go about getting the information out there and meeting your goals. Our curriculum is what we think is the bestest and most effective way to accomplish our goals for Safe Zone workshops. The facilitators of your program may have had different goals – and that is a-okay.

What about advanced workshops? Safe Zone 201 perhaps?

Our ready-to-rock curriculum is a Safe Zone 101 overview workshop. We recommend this workshop for all audiences – gay, straight, queer, allied, and anywhere in between (or outside) those categories. While it may be old information for some, we believe that everyone, no matter their knowledge level, will get something out of the experience.

We do have exercises that can be used for more advanced/specific workshops. Just check out the explore activities tab and search under the “201” or “301” levels for more advanced activities!

Why do you include an asterisk in Trans*?

The term transgender is often used as an umbrella term for many other terms that indicate an individual is not cisgender.  We use the word trans* throughout this site to indicate this umbrella term-y-ness and as an inclusive way to indicate a variety of non-cisgender identities in one simple term.  We pronounce this term simply “trans” (the * is silent). Read more about this on Sam’s site here.