SafeZone Training for LGBT Community and Beyond
Providing a safe zone for the LGBT community was the mission for the "SafeZone Training" event at UNK. The event was a chance for the members of that community to reach out, and make others aware.
The program was more of an educational program to help both the campus and the greater community of Nebraska. The purpose of the program is to help reduce homophobia and heterosexism. Student leaders say it can at times boil down to name-calling versus categories. Either way, they say everyone can take a message away from a program that clarifies issues of sexual diversity.
"You know everyone can…from gay people to straight people. I think it's really important to know how to make people feel comfortable, and to make people feel accepted especially when you have things like [what's happening] in Grand Island right now where people are targeted," said Tyson Radcliffe, president of the Queer-Straight Alliance of UNK. "Now is a great time for them to come together and let them know they are accepted."
The event comes just a day after a vigil for Matthew Sheppard. Sheppard was a male who was beaten-to-death 14 years ago for being homosexual. Officials say that events like these in our past should be a constant reminder of how we should treat the present.
"It really shows that our society has a ways to go, and still, even 14 years later, it shows we need to be more accepting within our societies and with all environments," said Matthew Mims, associate professor of School Psychology at UNK.
The forum also put emphasis on public communication compared to private communication in regards to the LGBT community. Oddly enough, this is where the group saw a connection with a lot of problems in today's society.