We are currently working to put together a Safe Space Program for FSC. This program will be open to Faculty & Staff, as well as students starting in the Fall of 2009.Check back for future updates & Safe Space Training dates.

Safe Space Files

Sexual Identity Matching Game Answer Key
File Size: 43 kb
File Type: xlsx
Download File

Above is the link to the Sexual Identity Matching Game Answer Key

Safe Space Information Packet
File Size: 1092 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

Above is the link to a copy the 2009 Safe Space Information Packet that was distributed during Safe Space Training.

Safe Space Powerpoint Link

Above is a link to the Safe Space Powerpoint. (It is a large file)


What is a Safe Space?
 According to GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey, a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students feel unsafe at school and are likely to skip class or even days of school out of fear for personal safety.  The research also indicates that students who can identify a supportive faculty/staff member or student group are more likely to feel a sense of belonging at their school than those who cannot.  For many students, the presence of allies to whom they can turn for support—or even the simple knowledge that allies exist—can be a big factor in developing a positive sense of self, building community, coping with bias, and working to improve school climate.  Safe Space programs increase the visible presence of student and adult allies who can help to shape a school culture that is accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or other differences.
Why should someone take part in the Safe Space program?
 All students deserve to learn in an environment that is supportive and friendly, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.  As you learned above, anti-LGBT bias affects the school performance, school experience, and mental and emotional health of the students who experience it.  Protection of actual or perceived LGBT students is the exception, not the rule, in most schools across the country. Often, change has to start with the grassroots effort of a group that is willing to start positive changes through support, education, and publicity.   Another reason to participate that is just as valid as the reality of bias and its effects is the fact that homophobia and transphobia hurt us all.  They discourage diversity, encourage hurtful behaviors, and put limits on our relationships and roles in the school community.  Being a part of the Safe Space program will give you an opportunity to learn about yourself and others, and will help you make your school a better place for everybody—regardless of an individual’s identity.  With all these great reasons for joining, who wouldn’t want to be a part?
What is an ally?
While there are many out and empowered LGBT students who are more than capable of standing up for their own rights, allies have a special role to play in the Safe Space programs.    An ally is a member, often of the majority or dominant group, who works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for the oppressed population.  The work of allies has been a historically effective way of changing the thinking of the dominant culture.  In your social studies class, you might have learned about the Freedom Riders, a group of students, ministers, and others who rode interstate buses in an effort to test the enforcement of desegregation laws. Many of the Freedom Riders were White allies who stood up for the civil rights of Black citizens.  Their work brought media attention to racist practices and helped force bus companies to abide by the law.    In the LGBT community, an ally is any person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people.  It is important for allies who are straight to demonstrate that LGBT people are not alone as they work to improve school climate, and to take a stand in places where it might not be safe for LGBT people to be out or visible.

 Who should take part in the Safe Space program?
 Anti-LGBT bias and prejudice affects all members of the school community and it is therefore everyone’s collective responsibility to work against it.  Therefore, all members of the school community—students and adults alike—are potential Safe Space participants.  Different people might have different motivations for joining.  Maybe they are LGBT, or have a close friend or family member who is.  Maybe they are perceived to be LGBT and have endured bias on the basis of their appearance or interests.  Or perhaps they are concerned about any type of bias or discrimination in the school community.  Whatever their initial reasons for joining, we hope that they would leave a Safe Space training with the understanding that standing up for LGBT rights is not a “gay thing”, but a human rights issue about which all people should be concerned.  Remember to especially encourage the following people and groups to participate, as their involvement could help strengthen your program:  students and adult advisors in GSAs and other diversity/multicultural clubs, guidance and health staff, school administrators, PTA leaders, coaches/athletic staff, classroom teachers, cafeteria staff, and security and transportation personnel.     
Why do I need training in order to be a Safe Space ally?
 Maybe you feel you are pretty well versed in LGBT issues, and don’t need to sit through a training to be able to support your classmates.  Maybe you feel that being supportive is a matter of common sense and doesn’t require any special know-how.  But there are a few good reasons for everyone who wants to be a part of the Safe Space program to attend the standard training.   We all were taught not to know.  The society we live in allows LGBT people and issues to remain largely invisible.  Even though you might have good intentions, you might not know how to best support your peers.  How much you know about LGBT people and the issues that impact them directly affects your effectiveness as an ally.    We don’t have an “automatic response.”  Most of us know how to put the brakes on overtly racist and sexist behavior.  There are some slurs that, in no uncertain terms, are deemed unacceptable for use in school and everywhere else.  But when people hear anti-LGBT slurs being used, they often have no idea how to respond, and it’s no wonder!  Most people haven’t been taught how.  Training will help you learn an “automatic response” to anti-LGBT bias.   Standing up for LGBT rights is risky business.  Unfortunately, anti-LGBT bias still sometimes leads to violence.  Allies need to know how to stand up for LGBT rights while being conscious of their own safety and security.
Is this program only about LGBT students?  What about other groups who experience bias?
Safe Space programs focus on LGBT students for protection because this issue remains largely invisible in the classroom and in the law.  Homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism are socially acceptable in many schools.  Even in classrooms where bigotry is not tolerated, LGBT issues are often considered taboo and not appropriate for discussion.  While there is a need for programs that specifically address anti-LGBT bias, it is also important to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all prejudices.  The same conditions that allow homophobia and transphobia to develop most likely promote racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of prejudice.  Any effort to reduce one type of bias will probably help reduce other kinds of bias, and will help individuals from a variety of backgrounds feel safer.  In this way, a Safe Space program focused on LGBT students may serve as a springboard for work in other areas.  Just as all forms of oppression are related, so too are the many identities within each of us.  None of us are just one thing—we all have sexual, gender, religious, ethnic, racial, class, and other identities that combine in complex ways.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are also Black and Latina/o, Jewish and Muslim, rich and poor, deaf and mentally retarded.  When LGBT people are targeted for harassment, it is often about more than just sexual orientation or gender identity.  A Safe Space program that protects LGBT people should therefore be designed to incorporate other “-isms,” such as racism and sexism, through coalitions and partnerships with other groups both on- and off-campus.  

DISCLAIMER:Entire Safe Space FAQ was taken out of the GLSEN Safe Space. A How-To Guide for Starting an Allies Program. To view the complete Guide click the GLSEN safe space file below. You will need Adobe Reader to view the file.
File Size: 260 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File