As a response to the epidemic of LGBT bullying, and bullying that directly contributes to suicide, individuals and organizations are feverishly stepping up efforts to reach out to LGBT youth. Recently, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched their Safe Space Campaign, an effort to promote support for LGBT middle school and high school students. The campaign’s goal is to put a Safe Space Kit in every single middle and high school in the United States.
The Safe Space Kit contains stickers and posters, a guide with steps for staff members to take to build support for LGBT students and prevent anti-gay bullying and harassment. Chely Wright, the country singer who made history this year when she came out of the closet, has stepped up to the plate as the Safe Space Campaign spokesperson. Several other celebrities have also voiced their support of the Safe Space Campaign.
The campaign resembles a similar campaign at my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, and many other universities across the country — Safezone. The Safezone program required interested students and staff to undergo a training program in LGBT sensitivity, as well as how to help LGBT students. Upon completion of the program, each person received their own Safezone sticker, which they could put on their dorm room door to let others know that they’re LGBT-friendly.
Similarly to how the Safezone sticker symbolized support for LGBT people, staff members undertaking GLSEN’s program will be able to show support for LGBT students through their Safe Space stickers. Offering these safe, supportive environments in middle schools and high schools will help LGBT students feel like they are not alone and will make them feel more safe at school.
GLSEN is encouraging individuals to help out with their campaign. For a small donation, individuals can purchase Safe Space Kits and send them to schools around the country. To learn more about the Safe Space Campaign, check out Chely Wright’s PSA below.
Photo credit: Sam T