History and Mission
Established in 1998, the Safe Zone program was created as a collaborative effort between the Dean of Students; HokiePRIDE of Virginia Tech; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Caucus (LGBT Caucus); and the Office for Equity and Access (formerly the Office of Equal Opportunity).
Now coordinated through Cultural and Community Centers, the Safe Zone program exists to educate the Virginia Tech community on topics related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Safe Zones are members of the program who are committed to providing a more inclusive and accepting environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities and their allies.
To be Safe Zone certified, participants must first complete Safe Zone 101 and one additional break out session. Information about all sessions are available below.
Share your learning and experiences using #VTSafeZone.
About Our Safe Zone Facilitators
All of our Safe Zone facilitators are volunteers who serve in other roles throughout the university. Read more about the facilitators who make the Safe Zone program possible.
Register for a Safe Zone session!
Registration for all Safe Zone sessions is done via the Cultural and Community Centers' GobblerConnect event site.
This session is for individuals interested in learning more about the LGBTQ Community.
Topics addressed in the first training workshop session include:
- Common LGBTQ Terms
- Sexual Orientation vs. Sexual Identity
- The Coming Out Process
- Experiences of LGBTQ Individuals
- How You Can Be A Safe Zone Ally
This session is required for everyone interested in joining the Safe Zone Program.
It is a requirement to attend this session prior to signing up for any following sessions.
We have several opportunities for you to attend SafeZone101, with different dates and times for your convenience.
How do LGBTQ+ identified people exist in the context of relationship, meet, and define those relationships? What are some specific ways you can support students dating in the Blacksburg/Virginia Tech area? What are things to be mindful of concerning potential partner violence?
This engaging session covers sensitive and mature issues around safe dating practices, online dating, safe sex across sexualities and gender expression, and an overview of intimate partner violence.
Many people hold common misconceptions about people who identify as transgender, non-binary, or in some way that is unique with regard to sex, gender, and identity. Moreover, few people in the majority throughout our society realize that cisgender identity affords certain unearned privileges. This presentation provides an overview of gender diversity, and a welcome forum for exploring new and unfamiliar concepts. Those looking to strengthen their work as allies are strongly encouraged to attend.
There are millions of LGBTQ+ people around the world who are gaining visibility and fighting for their rights but some live in fear and isolation – and under the rule of governments that criminalize their very identities. This session serves as an introduction into international LGBTQ advocacy.
This session will cover key court decisions that have defined the LGBTQ legal environment including the topics of gender expression, marriage, adoption, and employment rights. Additionally, we will discuss how these laws directly impact Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, and what steps Safe Zones must take when these rights are violated. Information on Title IX compliance and reporting information relevant to the Cleary Act will also be a focus.
This session is led by Safe Zone trainer Amanda Morris.
This session provides a history of LGBTQ+ identities and movements both at Virginia Tech and more broadly.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) communities face mental health conditions just like the rest of the population. However, more negative mental health outcomes may occur due to prejudice and other biases. This session explores the challenges faced as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ-inclusive resources on campus and in the area.
This session is for individuals interested in learning more about Virginia Tech and New River Valley resources that are available to LGBTQ+ communities.
While it is assumed those who identify as bisexual, pansexual, and/or non-monosexual face the same issues as those who are gay and lesbian, there are some issues unique to their experience. This session reviews the nuanced lived experiences of non-monosexual individuals.
This session explores the interrelated historical development of race, gender, and sexuality as powerful axes of social difference that have structured social hierarchy and inequality. Through interactive exercises, we will examine categories of race, gender, and sexuality as sources of self-identity, collective belonging, and social organization.
Religion has been a source of both solace and suffering for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This session explores the many organizations of faith that have taken supportive stances on the issues that affect LGBTQ+ people.
This session is coordinated by staff of the Raft Crisis Hotline, a free service offering suicide intervention, empathy, and support to residents of the New River Valley. It will discuss suicide watch, prevention, and intervention strategies with a focus on LGBTQ+ populations.
Raft is a program of New River Valley Community Services and has been serving the local community for more than 40 years. A majority of the hotline's volunteers have traditionally been students at Virginia Tech and an official partnership was formed through former Raft Hotline Manager Brittany Mabry and former Virginia Tech's LGBTQ Coordinator Catherine Cotrupi to offer suicide watch and prevention training to Virginia Tech Safe Zones.
Objectives of the Safe Zone Program
- To identify a network of allies who are concerned, empathetic, and knowledgeable about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender questions.
- To provide evidence of the support of LGBTQ people and their allies within the Virginia Tech community by posting a sign as tangible evidence of that support.
- To reduce the fear of reprisal and discrimination by LGBTQ people and their allies within the Virginia Tech community.
- To assist LGBTQ and allied students in achieving their educational goals by creating an environment in which they can be themselves.
Questions and Comments?
Please email Natasha Cox, Assistant Director and Safe Zone Program Coordinator at:firstname.lastname@example.org.