Sycamore SafeZone Level 1 was on Jan. 5 on the 7th Floor in the Hulman Memorial Student Union where Grayson Purtlebaugh, facilitator of Safe Zone, talked about the do’s and don’ts while communicating with transsexual people.
Sycamore SafeZone thrives to create allies for the LGBTQ+ community at Indiana State University.
The training, which consists of three levels, is hosted every semester by the LGBT Student Resource Center and the Multicultural Services and Programs, to educate students and faculty about the LGBTQ+ community and how to understand and communicate with them.
SafeZone Coordinator, Breanna Pierce explained how the three levels were step-by-step procedures to give more in-depth knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community for students, faculty and staff. Level 1 was designed to familiarize the participants with the experiences of the community and introducing them to pronouns, language, and symbols that denote sexual orientation and gender identity.
Level 2 encompasses the discussion of historic and current issues faced by the LGBTQ+ communities like homophobia and heterosexism. Discussions about myths and misunderstandings were also addressed.
Level 3 was designed for members who have completed the first two levels of training. They are informed about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Core information included the coming out process, cisgender privilege, and identity development models.
Pierce agreed that many students question their sexuality soon after they come to college and face a different reality.
“Although we have a diverse community around campus as well as Terre Haute, we want the people of the LGBTQ+ community to feel like they are safe here,” said Pierce.
Purtlebaugh explained the typical terms to identify someone, for example; gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc., moving on to the full forms of acronyms used to denote the community; L, G, B, T, Q and the plus sign.
“We even use flags that signify all the orientations,” said Purtlebaugh. “While most of them have been prevalent since ancient times, we could say the flag symbolizing demisexual people is recent. It is kind of a hippie thing they wanted to do.”
Purtlebaugh focused on respecting the privacy of transgender people, treating them like a normal human being and always asking them what pronouns they like to use. On the other hand, Purtlebaugh recommended to not ask about their past or pressure them to follow the stereotype of males and females.
Purtlebaugh added, “We are so much more than our gender.”