SAFE Zone Allies

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Before we discuss SAFE Zone Allies, let’s define what an ally is and is not.

What is an Ally?

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an ally is "a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in their personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population." Allies use their privilege to promote positive change in their communities and have been successful in changing the dominant culture. Allies can help racial, religious and ethnic minorities as well.

The HRC identifies what Allies endeavor to be…

  • A friend

  • A listener

  • Have their own opinions

  • Have safe boundaries

  • Confront their own prejudices

  • Engage in the process of developing a culture free of homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism

  • Recognize their blind spots and mistakes and never dismiss them or use them as an excuse for inaction

  • Believe that all persons regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression should be treated with dignity and respect

  • Recognize when to refer an individual to additional resources

  • Engage in the process of developing a culture free of homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism

  • Be responsible for empowering their role in a community, particularly as it relates to responding to homophobia or transphobia

  • Recognize the legal powers and privileges that cisgender straight people have and which LGBTQ+ people are denied

  • Support the Ally program of their university or workplace

  • Commit themselves to personal growth in spite of the discomfort it may sometimes cause

 What an Ally is NOT

According to the HRC, a positive and real ally recognizes their own personal boundaries. HRC points out how an ally is NOT the following…

 • Someone with ready-made answers
• Necessarily a counselor, nor are they necessarily trained to deal with crisis situations
• Expected to proceed with an interaction if levels of comfort or personal safety have been violated

What is a SAFE Zone Ally?

SAFE is an acronym for Students, Administrators and Faculty for Equality. Generally individuals in communities and campuses have a logo or sticker that indicates that they have been trained and are a safe person to talk to about LGBTQ+ issues and they are supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals. SAFE Zone Allies may have their logo or sticker on their door, laptop or in a different noticeable area so LGBTQ+ members will know they are safe to be around or discuss anything with them.

At KSU, this is what the SAFE Zone Ally sticker looks like:

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Training Workshops

Although workshops and training’s vary in their approaches, you can expect the training to include two parts: 1. Reflective questions and exercises to process and work through your own prejudice and internalized oppression. 2. Effective ways to respond to situations as an ally.

At HRC, their training includes the following questions to discern and pin point our own homophobic narratives:

1. Do you ever not do something because others may think it makes you look gay or lesbian?
2. How would you feel if you had an LGBTQ child?
3. Would you suggest that a person see a therapist if they came out to you?
4. Have you ever laughed at a homophobic or transphobic joke?

 HRC explains, “The aim of these [above] questions and others similar in theme are to assess personal levels of homophobia, heterosexism and transphobia. While the purpose of a program is, in part, to discourage and eliminate homophobia and transphobia, American culture is homophobic and transphobic, and you must discover in what ways you have internalized those ideas and behaviors.”

How to become a SAFE Zone Ally

Both straight and LGBTQ+ individuals or groups who are students or faculty at KSU can register here to be trained at KSU as a SAFE Zone Ally. On that link you will find details of a training on Monday, October 15, 2018.

If you are not a KSU faculty member or student, there is a self-guided training online for anyone to use. Click here for more info.

 Be sure to follow SAFE Zone KSU on Facebook

LGBTQ+ & Ally Resources

For more LGBTQ+ resources on KSU’s campus, click here

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Ally Tip of The Day

Avoid trying to convince members in the LGBTQIA+ community that you are on their side; just be there.

About The Author

Sarah Bridges is a board member of FHHRP and an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sarah has a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. She strives to build inclusiveness within her circle of influence. She is originally from Arizona but calls Manhattan, Kansas her home. In her spare time she enjoys attending Social Justice book clubs with her husband, painting, hiking, yoga or playing with play-doh with her strong little girl.