This past summer, more than 120 University staff members participated in the Office of LGBTQ Student Life’s training session for their Safe Space program, which strives to create an inclusive environment to support LGBTQ students.
Safe Space training offers a way for the University of Chicago community to better understand the experiences of LGBTQ students. By teaching about the history and experiences of LGBTQ people, the language that surrounds the community, and the process of coming out, the program hopes to give participants all the tools they need to be an LGBTQ ally. In addition, Safe Space creates actual physical spaces where LGBTQ students can talk with students, staff, and faculty who have been trained. Trained allies are able to identify themselves as a welcoming and safe space for students by displaying the Safe Space decal in their work or living space.
The summer training sessions were very successful. The 124 participants represented 31 offices on campus and 110 of them signed Ally Contracts, pledging to create welcoming spaces and support LGBTQ students.
The training was well received, with participants indicating the training was helpful in their positions at the University. It increased participants’ knowledge of the experiences of LGBTQ students on the UChicago campus specifically, as well as helped people learn how to become a more effective ally and remove barriers to communication with and support of LGBTQ students.
Safe Space trainings will be offered continuously throughout the year. The program will be offered to students starting during Winter Quarter.
To learn more about Safe Space, please visit their website here.