Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

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Safe Zone Stories

True story:  A student in need of resources and advice about issues he was facing in relation to his gender identity was troubled and unsure about where to find advice.  Who could he trust?  Who would be knowledgeable about his experience? He felt beyond hope as he grappled with his problems.  As he pondered these questions, he happened to pass the office of an academic advisor who had posted her Safe Zone placard on her door.  The rainbow-hued inverted triangle announced that she "has completed Safe Zone training and has pledged to affirm the identities of and provide resources to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions."

He knocked on her door and inquired about the sign - could she really provide guidance?  "Absolutely!" she responded, inviting him into her office, gently asking him about his concerns and letting him talk.  After some dialogue, she said, "Well, I know just the right people who can help you" and put him in touch with the staff at the LGBTQ Center.  He called in, spoke with Adrianne and was scheduled for a meeting with Director Terri Phoenix right away.  Terri has vast amounts of resources and knowledge to share with students, staff and faculty (as well as community members) who seek it and was able to provide this information while addressing the student's concerns.

This is a typical scenario, but everyone has a different experience about the impact a Safe Zone sign has had on them.  What are your experiences with the Safe Zone sign?  Has a sign ever led you to support?  Has it provided solace, knowing that you're not alone?  Has it led you to activism? involvement?  new circles?

We invite you to share your Safe Zone stories with us.  Send your stories to Adrianne Gibilisco at adrigibi@email.unc.edu and we'll post them on our site.