First Safezone training set for Thursday

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

To kick off the first SafeZone training of the semester, “SafeZone Core” will give participants a basic knowledge about gender and sexual diversity.

This training session will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Martinsville Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Jessica Ward, coordinator for the EIU Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, said the group will discuss heterosexual privilege and gender privilege.

The program is for anyone who is a part of the gender and sexual diversity community or for anyone interested in being an ally or advocate.

An ally is someone chosen by a member of the gender and sexual diversity community to help them whenever possible.

An advocate is someone who campaigns in favor of the community, Ward said.

Ward said the SafeZone program has been around for nearly seven years and was revamped last semester, with the introduction of many training sessions.

Different training sessions being offered this semester include Trans 101, Bisexual/Pansexual, Black LGBTQA+, Asexual, LGBTQA+ History and Beyond Bystander.

Upon completing SafeZone Core, participants get the choice to take a SafeZone sticker to stick on their windows or doors to let students know they are able to talk to them without judgment, Ward said.

Ward said she wants students coming from a minority background, those in the gender and sexual diversity community and everyone in general to feel safe when they see the SafeZone sticker around campus.

The ultimate goal of the trainings is to make people aware of how diverse people are and to educate them, Ward said.

She said the Gender and Sexual Diversity Advisory Committee hopes to clear up misconceptions and explain ideas that some people may not understand.

SafeZone training will also be taking place at the EIUnity Diversity Conference in the Martin Luther King Jr. Union on Friday, Feb. 3.

Sessions at the conference will include SafeZone Core, Beyond Bystander and Trans 101.

Ward said the training session will be a safe place for those to ask questions and anyone is free to attend.

Those interested in attending SafeZone Core or the SafeZone training sessions at the EIUnity Diversity Conference can both sign up online.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].