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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Safety zone training

The Queer Brahma Collective (QBC) is hosting a Safe Zone training this Thursday for campus leaders, faculty and students after recent harassment affected the LGBTQ community.

There were transphobic and homophobic comments on the QBC’s Instagram page, so advisors, faculty and staff suggested the club organize a Safe Zone training to educate and teach participants how to respect those who identify within the LGBTQ spectrum.

President of the QBC Gabrielle Castleberry-Gordon, 23, said the person or people responsible were trying to impose their will on what they wanted the club to do and how they wanted them to interact with the QBC.

“The QBC thought we would take the time to educate people and that people know we’re here and why we’re here,” Gordon said. “It’s a friendly way for all of us to get together and sort out our differences.”

The training will focus on gender binary, different sexualties, and how to respect them.

Gordon said they will also educate community members about what to do in the event that someone says something disrespectful to an LGBTQ person, and how to fix the situation.

Co-Advisor for the QBC and associate instructor of communication Christine Ersig-Marcus said the Safe Zone training is important because the number one goal is to bring awareness to the campus about the LGBTQ community.

Marcus said the training will include a presentation about acceptable language to refer to members of the LGBTQ community, how to be an ally and how to be accountable for problematic confrontations.

Marcus said community colleges are often very diverse, not just in culture or race, but also in gender identity.

“Very often, we think of diversity as racial diversity, but it means so much more,” Ersig-Marcus said. “A huge part about inclusivity is that, if people are seen and heard, they feel a sense of belonging. That sense of belonging is a huge part of student success.”

Co-Advisor of the QBC and librarian Mario Macias said Ersig-Marcus has led similar Safe Zone trainings for faculty and staff in the past. Together, they decided to also educate student body leaders.

“We wanted to target student leaders and clubs because we wanted to create a community of understanding,” Macias said.

Macias said the training is designed to teach student leaders the basics of a queer curriculum and appropriate LGBTQ vocabulary.  

Gordon said the Safe Zone training will help the community understand that Pierce is a safe campus for all members.

“We want to have solidarity with other groups and have as many members as possible and feel safe,” Gordon said.

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