Safe Zone

The University of Texas at Tyler

The Safe Zone mission is to promote an environment where the lesbian, gay, 
bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and their allies flourish 
intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Towards this end, we envision the 
program as a visible network of allies who support each other and support 
individual LGBTQ people. We hope to build a climate where everyone feels safe 
and accepted.

Why Attend a Safe Zone Training?
Safe Zone trainings last 2 hours, are free, and are available for students, staff, faculty and community members. It will help you become a better advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. At the end of the training, participants are given a colorful Safe Zone logo to display in order to visibly 
demonstrate their support for the LGBTQ community. 

The University of Texas at Tyler affirms our commitment to a diverse and 
inclusive campus community. The Safe Zone program invites everyone to create 
a safer and more supportive campus climate for sexual and gender minorities 
and their allies. We are committed to making the trainings available to any 
members of the UT Tyler community who wish to participate. We strongly 
encourage you to attend, but the training is not mandatory. Safe Zone trainings
 are most effective with willing participants.


Upcoming Trainings:
Safe Zone trainings will be held on the following dates:

Friday, February 17th, 11:00am - 1:00pm, University Center (UC) 3422

Tuesday, March 7th, 5:15pm - 7:15pm, University Center (UC) 3300

Friday, April 14th, 11:00am - 1:00pm, Herrington Patriot Center (HPC) 3010 *UPDATED ROOM 1.30.23*


All classes will include a free meal. E-mail instructor if you have any special dietary 
restrictions or requests. 


To sign up, e-mail your interest in attending to Elizabeth Caulkins at

You must RSVP for this class. You must e-mail the 
instructor at the address above to be counted. Please do not RSVP on 


Still have questions? Reach out to Elizabeth Caulkins at or visit the Safe Zone Project website 


Role of a Safe Zone Advocate or Ally

Visibility is an important part of being a person trained in Safe Zone. Advocates 
and allies are expected to display the Safe Zone logo.


As a person trained in Safe Zone, you are expected to:

·         Provide a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment for students, faculty, and staff.

·         Respect others' experiences and views.

·         Be an active listener.

·         Be discreet and respect privacy.

·         Use inclusive, non-gender-specific language that does not reflect assumptions 
          about the gender identity or sexual orientation of others.

·         Learn about resources for LGBTQIAGNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, 
          intersex, asexual, gender-non-conforming) people in the 
           surrounding community so that you can provide appropriate referrals.

·         Know your own biases and fears. Know what you are comfortable talking about, 
          and be prepared to refer individuals to others when necessary.

·         Know your limits. Know when it is necessary to refer individuals to an expert 
          who can assist them better.

·         Provide honest feedback at the close of training to improve the program.

·         Participate in periodic assessments of the effectiveness and impact of Safe Zone.

·         Attend additional Safe Zone workshops and meetings to practice your skills and receive 
          further education about LGBTQIAGNC issues and concerns.

Building Skills as an Ally or Advocate:

A Safe Zone ally and/or advocate is someone who offers support to LGBTQIAGNC 
individuals or communities. As a Safe Zone advocate, you are expected to gain:

·         Awareness: Familiarize yourself with the experience of people who identify as 
          LGBTQIAGNC through reading articles and books and attending workshops, and 
          build awareness through self-examination.

·         Knowledge and Education: Learn about policies, laws, and practices affecting 
          LGBTQIAGNC people. Educate yourself about the many communities and 
          cultures within the LGBTQIAGNC community.

·         Skills: Learn to apply your awareness and knowledge when interacting with 
          others. You can acquire skills by attending workshops, role-playing with friends 
          or peers, and developing support connections.

·         Action: Taking action is an important way to effect change in society as a whole.

Important Points to Keep in Mind:

·         Remember that gender identity and sexual orientation are only part of a person's 
          identity: Individuals must also deal with other aspects of their identity, such as 
          socioeconomic status, religion or faith, race, ethnicity. An understanding of 
          intersectionality is critical for effective social justice work.

·         Be aware: Any person you talk to could be straight, gay or lesbian, bisexual, 
          questioning, queer, trans, intersex, asexual, and/or gender nonconforming.

·         Avoid gendered language: Using terms such as boyfriend and girlfriend; use partner or spouse instead.

·         Recognize: Coming out is a process and not a one-time event. The process of 
          coming out is unique to each member of the LGBTQIAGNC community and poses 
          challenges that may not be widely understood.

·         Understand: We live in a society lacking in awareness of issues of gender 
          identity and sexual orientation. As a result, both straight and LGBTQIAGNC 
          people suffer from internalized biphobia, transphobia, homophobia, and 

·         Remember: LGBTQIAGNC people are diverse; each community within the 
          LGBTQIAGNC community and each individual within each community has unique 
          needs and goals.

What can I do?

·        If you work in an office or belong to an organization, review its publications. 
         Suggest changes to remove noninclusive language.

·         Avoid making homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, and heterosexist remarks, 
          jokes, and statements. Consider speaking with others making such remarks or 
          jokes to raise their awareness.

·         Create an atmosphere of acceptance in your environment through education. 
          Share your experiences with others.

·         Join with LGBTQIAGNC people to protect their civil rights and constitutional 

·         Report all instances of harassment or discriminatory behavior to the appropriate 
          school officials.

·         Display materials supporting the LGBTQIAGNC community (flyers for activities, 
          posters, cards, a Safe Zone sign, Safe Zone e-mail signature logo, etc.).

·         Seek out accurate information and stay up-to-date about issues affecting 
          the LGBTQIAGNC community.


How To Be An Effective Ally

·         Interrupt offensive jokes.

·         Learn from someone who is different from you.

·         Speak up for those voices not present.

·         Educate yourself and others

·         Attend a rally.

·         Research the issues and candidates before you vote in an election

·         Read up on social justice issues.

·         Read books/articles on people different than yourself.

·         Reflect on your own experiences and how you might be a better ally in the future.

·         Interact and find support from other allies.

·         Vote for change.

·         Don't assume to completely know someone else's experience.

·         Try to empathize not sympathize.

·         Don't judge others.

·         Keep an open mind.

·         Don't assume you know another's experience until you walk in their shoes, and even then, try to show 

·         Attend a protest or march for something you believe in.

·         Understand your own privileges.

·         Acknowledge the power bestowed upon you based on your social group membership.

·         Don't deny your privileges.

·         Utilize your power to bring about social change that benefits all people, especially those 

·         Vote for candidates who promote social justice issues.

·         Help others understand their own privileges.

·         Don't show pity for others.

·         Work together and support other allies.

·         Join with other agents to further understand their collective power and privilege, while working 
          together to bring about individual and social change.

·         Seek to understand all the different forms of oppression.

·         Let your actions speak louder than your words.

·         Notice the numerous intersections between different forms of oppression.

·         Highlight the commonalities between the various targeted groups.

·         Believe that there are always possibilities for alliance building.

·         Keep the faith and hope alive.

·         Don't buy into stereotypes.

·         Respond with acts of kindness.

·         Don't expect external rewards for your work as an ally - feel good and be proud about the work you 

·         Do it because it's the right thing to do.

·         Walk your talk.

·         Know there are different ways of doing and seeing everything.

·         Be comfortable with criticism and feedback.

·         Try to acknowledge your own prejudices and baggage.

·         Challenge the norm.

·         Use examples that don't exclude a particular group's experience.

·         Don't get stuck feeling guilty for the oppression of the past.

·         Take ownership in your own conscious and/or unconscious participation in oppression.

·         Accept that others may stereotype you.

·         Demonstrate your ally role through your actions rather than trying to convince others of it through 
          your words.

·         Believe that everything is a never-ending process.

·         Let your voice be heard.

·         Never speak for an entire group's experience or try to represent an entire group.

·         Don't expect someone else to represent an entire social group.

·         Remember to speak only from your own experience.

·         Support people in the manner they want to be supported.

·         Don't assume to know what support they want and what's best for them.

·         Recognize that no one form of oppression is more significant than another - there is no hierarchy of 

·         Be inclusive.

·         Accept that none of us are experts in diversity.

·         Provide support and assistance to those in need when requested - don't assume neediness.

·         Know that your work is never done.

·         Go out on a limb.

·         Know that the past is not your fault, but the present and future are your responsibility.