Safe Zone Program
Montana State University values and seeks to support cultural diversity in the campus community wherever possible. The Safe Zone program recognizes that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the broad culture, and exists to acknowledge and support members of our community that identify within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) spectrum.
The Safe Program exists as a joint effort between the Diversity Awareness Office and Counseling and Psychological Services, based on a comittment to MSU's comittment to cultural diversity and needs of LGBTQ individuals.
Our volunteer Safe Zone trainers are comitted to contributing to a campus climate where all students, faculty and staff are free to thrive in academic, professional and personal level in a community that is based on respect and value of deiversity. The volunteers have undergone training and work to educate the members of the MSU community to be understanding and supportive of LGBTQ individuals.
Members of Safe Zone consist of a team of interdisciplinary staff, faculty, and students within the university who are committed to raising awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community through education, training, and support. It is our belief that promoting a campus environment that is more accepting and tolerant is beneficial to the growth and development of the MSU community in general. The Safe Zone symbol identifies members throughout the community and indicates these individuals provide a safe place to talk about issues that impact LGBTQ individuals.
Why Safe Zone?
Research suggests that a reduction in discrimination towards any group provides a decrease in discrimination towards other groups as well; thus, everyone benefits. Students, faculty, and/or staff at MSU who identify as LGBTQ may not always feel safe about disclosing their sexual orientation due to potential negative consequences. This may lead to feelings of isolation or invisibility and experiences of campus life as hostile, uninviting, and/or un-accepting. Safe Zone provides an avenue for LGBTQ individuals to be able to identify places and people who are supportive, non-judgmental, and welcoming of open dialogues regarding these issues.
How can I get involved?
Safe Zone works on several levels.
- Attend a workshop - either attend a general workshop offered several times a semester, OR request a workshop for your student organization, department or office.
- Become a Safe Zone Ally. Once completing a workshop, display the Safe Zone signs or buttons that are available to denote your support, as well as signifying that you are some one that an LGBTQ individual can approach and talk.
- Become a Safe Zone trainer. Each year, we hold trainer trainings to develop a network of volunteers to lead training workshops through out the year.
What does it mean to be a Safe ZoneE Ally?
Individuals who agree to display the Safe Zone placard agree to be aware of the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Safe Zone Allies also believe that campuses and communities are enriched by the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and are willing to assist individuals in accessing support and information resources on campus and in the community. Safezone Allies also agree to maintain confidentiality at work and comfortably use inclusive language, avoid stereotyping, and do not assume heterosexuality. Finally, Safezone allies agree to be positive, supportive and affirming to students, staff and faculty who wish to talk about being LGBTQ.
Individuals who display a Safezone placard identify themselves as someone who hascompleted Safezone training.
Safezone allies should be open and supportive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and willing to learn about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expressions.
Do I have to be LGBTQ to be a Safe Zone Ally?
Displaying a SafeZone symbol does not mean that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It means you are supportive of the needs of others and willing to learn about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
For more information on the Safe Zone Foundation, click here.