Aug 3, 2015 | Atlanta, GA
As resources and benefits continue to grow and expand for LGBTQIA students and employees, so too does the demand for training on how best to support colleagues and students.
When Aby Parsons became director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and Ally (LGBTQIA) Resource Center in 2014, she made it a goal to update the curriculum of the Safe Space training program to meet growing interest from the campus community.
Parsons presented the new curriculum at a training last month, and in the fall and spring semesters, the LGBTQIA Resource Center will offer monthly trainings to faculty and staff.
Launched in 2001 by Stephanie Ray, associate dean of students and director of Student Diversity Programs, Safe Space is Georgia Tech’s LGBTQIA ally training program for faculty, staff, and supporters. Featuring the new curriculum, each four-hour Safe Space training will be an interactive opportunity for participants to explore, discuss, and practice how to be an ally to their LGBTQIA colleagues and students.
“While many Safe Space programs focus on offering one-on-one support, our program looks at allyship as a whole,” said Parsons. “We want participants to leave this training program thinking about updating workplace policies, using more inclusive language, and educating themselves and others, so they can truly make a difference at Georgia Tech and beyond.”
The updated Safe Space curriculum addresses seven key learning goals relating to language, privilege and oppression, identity development, “allyship,” advocacy, policies, and resources. The training program also examines how gender and sexuality intersect with race, disability, education level, socioeconomic status, and age to impact the lives of LGBTQIA faculty and staff.
“Safe Space is engaging and effective at increasing the knowledge, self-awareness, and skills necessary to support the LGBTQIA community,” said Erin English, staff therapist and collegiate recovery program coordinator in the Counseling Center who participated in a recent training. “It is an invaluable resource; I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
To offer more training programs, Parsons recruited seven new facilitators from the Offices of Admissions, Health Promotion, Housing, and Student Life who will lead each session.
Safe Space will be offered on September 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., October 22 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., and November 23 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Additional trainings can also be set up for groups or departments. To register or learn how to request a training, visit www.safespace.gatech.edu.
Parsons’ office and the LGBTQIA Resource Center, part of the Office of Student Life and Institute Diversity, are located in Room 138, Smithgall Student Services (Flag) Building.
— Sara Warner, Office of Student Life, contributed to this story.