What is Safe Spaces?
Safe Spaces Ally Project educates and trains students, staff and faculty to create a safe space/zone for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people at Texas A&M University-Commerce. All students deserve to learn in an environment that’s supportive and friendly, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Often, change has to start with the grassroots effort of a group that is willing to start positive changes through support, education, and publicity.Protection of actual or perceived LGBTQ students is the exception, not the rule, in most schools across the country.
LGBTQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning
Why Safe Spaces?
Anti-bias affects the school performance, school experience, and mental and emotional health of the students who experience it. Homophobia and transphobia hurt us all. They discourage diversity, encourage hurtful behaviors, and put limits on our relationships and roles in the school community.
Is This Just for Texas A&M University-Commerce?
Safe Spaces is also known as Safe Zone and Ally Training throughout the world. Universities, schools, and businesses throughout the country and world are working together to make this a safe place for the LGBTQ community. Universities throughout Texas are also involved (Texas A&M, University of Texas @ Austin, TCU, SMU, UNT, UT-D, UT-Arlington, to name just a few.)
What is an Ally?
An ally is usually a member of the majority or dominant group who works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for the oppressed population. Allies can also be from non-majority group working to end oppression.The work of allies has been a historically effective way of changing the thinking of the dominant culture. Ally training is for anyone who's interested. You don't have to be GLBT/LGBT to go through the training. The goal is to achieve a culture where any person can study/or work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment.
What Do I Need to Do To Become an Ally?
- Attend four hours of training sessions (Safe Spaces 101 and 102)
- Put a Safe Spaces sticker on your door/window
- Provide a Safe Space for students/faculty/staff
- Advocate for students/faculty/staff
- Attend Refresher training sessions as needed
Why Do I Need the Training?
Well meaning individuals may not be familiar with terminology or things that may be perceived as hetero-sexist or homophobic
Training ensures that each member feels comfortable working with LGBTQ individuals before they do so.
Certificates and stickers given to people who are trained can help identify the Safe Spaces on campus.
12 Powers Of An Ally
1. The power to understand that the world is enriched by everyone-including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered people.
2. The power to believe in the equality and dignity of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and their right to live and pursue freedom from discrimination, intolerance and bigotry.
3. The power to grow as an individual in your own personal development as a result of knowing and accepting those with different sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions.
4. The power to deeply learn about the civil injustice and human indignity faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered people today.
5. The power to lend your voice to those silenced, stand together and take action for others.
6. The power to listen with your heart, not with your ear ready to respond.
7. The power to lend hope and love to someone who feels alone, isolated and without a place to go.
8. The power to live with discomfort, take risks and challenge humanity to change.
9. The power to acknowledge your own privilege and be willing to use your privilege to advocate for others.
10. The power to have a vision, a dream, a passion for an inclusive, multicultural world for all people.
11. The power to create a ripple-effect of change one person at a time.
12. The power to be who you are for someone else.
Source: Power of an Ally Action Guide by CampusPride.Net