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.
I want to attend a Safe Zone training. How do I do that?
Google! We’re not being snarky, either. We suggest searching [Your Town/City/Region Name] + “Safe Zone LGBTQ Trainings” and seeing what comes up.
Even if the training isn’t called “Safe Zone,” (and they often won’t be) you’ll likely find something that will scratch a similar itch.
If that doesn’t work, reach out to any local LGBTQ+ organizations (e.g., PFLAG, or a University/College LGBTQ Center) and see if they can connect you.
If you’re not in or near a city where you can find anything, or you live in a part of the world where trainings like this simply aren’t accessible, we offer online courses you can check out. Just know that they are not — and never will be — an adequate substitute for an in-person training.
In the end, if your search comes up empty, you know what you have found? A mission. Start a program in your area. Or nudge someone who can. You’ve got everything we’ve created here at your disposal.
Why do you encourage people to attend in-person Safe Zone trainings?
Here are four, of so-many-more-we-could-list, reasons. At an in-person training, you have the chance to…
- Meet other people in your community who are interested in learning more about gender and sexuality. While workshops and trainings are awesome they often are just the start of the conversation and it’s great to have folks you’re already connected to so you can continue those conversations.
- Ask questions in real time. We do our best in all our courses/materials to anticipate your questions but sometimes you need things explained differently and during in-person trainings you can get that!
- Hear other participant’s questions and reflections. Sometimes you don’t even know where you’re stuck or that you’re stuck at all. During in-person trainings it’s easy to learn just as much from other participants as it is from the educator.
- Practice talking about LGBTQ+ identities, gender, and sexuality. Lots of time we are attending trainings to prepare ourselves for future conversations or interactions we might have. In those cases, in-person trainings give us a chance to practice those interpersonal skills in ways that online trainings do not.
I want to add a Safe Zone sticker to my website to let people know I’m LGBTQ+ friendly—how do I do that?
It’s awesome that you want folks who visit your website to know that you’re LGBTQ+ friendly. However, to us, Safe Zone stickers imply that you went through some sort of training (which is why ours say “Safe Zone Trained”).
Many folks want to put Safe Zone trained stickers on their website so they can visually signal to others they are a supportive ally and/or have an inclusive practice. If that’s you here are a few suggestions!
(1) Seek out a Safe Zone training! See if there is one in your area that you can attend. If not perhaps consider taking our self-guided course. Intentionally seeking out education is important because while it’s awesome you want to be inclusive of LGBTQ+ folks it’s hard to know what you don’t know (and really important to find out).
(2) Write a statement of inclusion/allyship. Let people know what being LGBTQ+ inclusive means to you. What training or knowledge and what practices do you do or have you changed in order to be more inclusive/affirming.
(3) Consider a rainbow flag instead of a Safe Zone sticker—and then make it linkable to the statement that you wrote for #2. 🙂
How can I hire someone to come in and do a Safe Zone training for my organization?
Few different ways.
(1) Reach out to universities/colleges in your local area to see if they offer Safe Zone training. They may also call it ally training, safer spaces training, or a myriad of other names. When you reach out describe what you’re looking for, i.e. “a foundational LGBTQ+ inclusion workshop” rather than a specific name. Institutions with LGBTQ+ resource centers are often good places to start.
(2) Reach out to local LGBTQ+ community centers or support organizations to inquire if they offer training.
Even if the organization that you contact doesn’t provide the training, they may be able to connect you to someone who would! Likely question you’ll be asked when you reach out are dates you have in mind, group size, and the budget you can offer.
Best of luck!
What does the + in LGBTQ+ stand for?
There are so many more marginalized/diverse gender and sexuality identities beyond LGBTQ. Which is why you might see longer acronyms used. Rather than continue to add letters (and make an unwieldy thing) the + is often added to the end of an acronym to indicate this expansive list of gender/sexuality identities.
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.
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. In fact we’d encourage it!
And don’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 community: mark yourself as an advocate, speak up and interrupt bias, and do what you can to make your space more inclusive of LGBTQ+ folks.
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.
LGBT vs LGBTQ vs GLBTQ vs GLBTQQIAPTS vs …
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, often used to encompass all types of marginalized genders and sexualities.
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 Foundational Curriculum is a designed to create 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 some of 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” 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.