Last spring I became a part of the Safe Zone program. For those unfamiliar with this program, it requires going to an hour-long training meeting where issues impacting the GLBT community are discussed, signing a contract stating that the rules of the program will be abided by, and then posting a sticker on a door or desk proclaiming “This is a safe zone for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered individuals and their allies.”

One of the very strict rules that this program has is the sign can only be put in a place that is ‘personal space.’ Room doors are used if the living arrangement is in a suite.

For a double room, it goes on a desk, and in an office, it goes on the cubicle wall, etc.

That makes a lot of sense, because if there was a roommate who wasn’t invested in the safe zone program, it would be bad for someone seeking a safe zone to go to him. The problem is that I live in a suite. I’m the second room in. Pretty much, only my friends are walking past my room, and they already know my stance on GLBT issues.

Putting that sign on my door isn’t enough. It doesn’t reach enough people, and if I deluded myself into thinking it was doing my part in helping reach acceptence of the gay community, that’s worse than if I didn’t do anything at all.

I am taking this public opportunity to say that I, Lewis Powell, am an ally of the GLBT community.

I am taking this opportunity to say that it is the responsibilty of anyone who supports GLBT rights to make it to the next Safe Zone training meeting and get trained.

Since I joined the program, I’ve been noticing a lot of these stickers around campus, but not as many as there should be.

Just because one might not be a member of the GLBT community isn’t a good reason to sit back and stay uninvolved.

Allies are extraordinarily important, but far too many let laziness or apathy prevent them from being visible as such.

This is not a student-only issue. A number of professors and administrators are already part of the program.

It is great to see these stickers all over campus, but just because a lot of people have already joined should not be a reason to avoid doing it.

Basically, what I am saying is that there is no excuse not to put in the one hour to support the CLBT community. People need to stop making excuses and show their support.

More people need to show their support. I need to show my support the best way I can.

Just putting a sign on my door isn’t enough.

Powell can be reached at lpowell@campustimes.org.



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