Grantee of the Month
TRCF is proud to recognize our grantees throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania that promote social justice and change through their activities. Each month we will recognize one of these organizations as our Grantee of the Month.
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Safe Zone Project
Grantee of the Month, August 2012
Cosponsored by the University Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Issues and the Office of Social Equity, the Safe Zone program is designed to improve visibility and support for LGBTQ students and employees. While other minority individuals can often identify role models and mentors, the invisibility of sexual orientation makes it very difficult for LGBTQ members of the IUP community to ascertain where they can safely turn for support and information. The Safe Zone program provides easily recognizable individuals who are available to provide these resources.
All program members display the Safe Zone symbol on their doors or other visible places at their work stations. The Safe Zone symbol is a message to LGBTQ students and colleagues that an employee has participated in the Safe Zone training and is committed to increasing their knowledge of and sensitivity to LGBTQ issues. The symbol allows the campus community to identify program members and know that they can speak freely with these individuals about issues, including sexual orientation and gender identity, which may affect their academic success or job satisfaction. Safe Zone members are able to provide assistance as needed, including referrals. All contacts between a Safe Zone member and a student and/or employee will be kept confidential.
Since the Safe Zone program also strives to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ individuals, the symbol also means that Safe Zone members will challenge homophobic and heterosexist comments or behaviors in an educational and informative manner.
TRCF’s $4,000 grant allowed IUP to develop a transgender training component for the Safe Zone Program, including recording 15-20 vignettes focusing on transgender and other LGBTQ issues and experiences for use in training and on the website.