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Diversity

About the Safe Space Program

What is a Safe Space?
It is a welcoming and supportive environment where any person can enter and feel comfortable and safe to talk about experiences relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally population. This environment is one of genuine acceptance and tolerance related to these issues.

Heterosexual allies play a huge role by showing their support and understanding for the minority group. Washington and Evans (1991) define an ally as "a person who is a member of the dominant or majority group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate with and for, the oppressed population."

By providing a space that is welcoming and supportive, students and CWU community members will have a place they can go if they have questions or feelings regarding same-gender and/or other sexual minority and gender experiences. It is also intended to provide useful information for people who identify as heterosexual as well as LGBTQ.

Who can participate in the program?
Anyone, of any sexual orientation or gender identity, can support the program. You must have a desire to be welcoming and open to everyone and have an honest interest in being an ally to the LGBTQ population.
 
How can I get the Safe Space sign for my office, residence hall door, etc...?
By displaying the Safe Space sign what am I committing to?
You are committing to:
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Strive toward continued development, learning, awareness, and action, and to search for further ways of understanding LGBTQ individuals
  • Promote an environment where members of the LGBTQ community do not have to censor their identities
  • Promote an atmosphere where members of the LGBTQ community can participate fully, equally, and openly in campus life without fear of discrimination and/or harassment
  • Promote a safe and affirming place for LGBTQ people by offering an atmosphere and personal relationship of respect, fairness, and trust
  • Serve as a resource for students, faculty, and staff who have questions about LGBTQ issues, and be willing to refer individuals to support and resources on campus and in the community
Where do I go if I have been discriminated against?
  • For faculty and staff: The Office of Equal Opportunity (509-963-2205)
  • For students: The Office of Student Success, who might connect you to the Bias Response Coordinator (509-963-1515)
Do I assume that offices and rooms without "Safe Space" signs are not positively disposed towards sexual diversity?
You should not assume that. Many people within the University will not have heard of the program or may not have had a chance to attend the workshop. Others may feel positively about the program but may not have control over what does or does not get posted on doors. Still others may simply not be in the habit of putting stickers or posters on their doors.

If I post a sticker on my door does that mean I should be ready to offer counseling or advice?
Posting a sticker means that you are supportive in a general way. If you find yourself in discussion with someone who seems to need counseling beyond that which you can provide, you should not hesitate to suggest that they visit or call the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic (509-963-1391). You can certainly offer whatever advice you feel qualified to offer, but be attentive to the possibility that such issues may well benefit from professional assistance.

Will a sign on my door make people think I am gay, lesbian or bisexual?
One of the goals of this program is to make that question irrelevant. Straight people are being encouraged to take up these issues alongside members of sexual and gender minorities, and they are doing so in greater and more visible numbers. True, some people still assume that those who talk supportively of sexual diversity are themselves lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This program asks people to think about why such labels make people uneasy. Being thought "different" is still a big deal for many, evoking discomfort and fear. The Safe Space program wants to challenge that.