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Community SafeZone training workshop is Aug. 2

Free training is open to the public

The Ohio University LGBT Center, in collaboration with Athens Area PFLAG, is offering a free workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Athens Public Library.

The two-hour SafeZone training will help participants better understand queer identities, while also exploring strategies on how to be an ally to LGBTQ folks in Athens and Southeastern Ohio.

Sarah Tucker Jenkins, program coordinator for the Women's Center and LGBT Center, and Delfin Bautista, LGBT director, will lead the training. Everyone is welcome to attend, including businesses, teachers, faith groups, parents, social workers and mental health professionals.

Topics that will be discussed include LGBTQ identities, the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, and how to create safe spaces for people of all genders and orientations.

"We would like to get as many people to the workshop as possible, because this is the first one we have held off campus," said Tucker Jenkins. "We are very excited about this one."

Tucker Jenkins said the training will consist of an information dump, interactive activities that generate thought and empathy building exercises.

Participants will be given SafeZone cards and pins, which when displayed lets LGBT people know that your office, home, or desk is a place where they can feel safe and be accepted for who they are.

Tucker Jenkins said she wants everyone to know that participating in SafeZone training is not about an individual's thoughts on the LGBT community and whether it’s right or wrong, it's really more about whether they believe that people should feel safe when they are walking in their neighborhood or to the grocery store. She said people can be anywhere in their feelings about LGBT people and still get something out of this workshop.

"Our purpose with the SafeZone workshops is to get out the message that everyone should feel safe around other people," Tucker Jenkins said. "We also want to train people to be that safe space for LGBT people and be able to intervene if they see something offensive happening around them."

The Athens Public Library is located at 30 Home St., Athens, Ohio, 45701. For more information or to register, email the LGBT Center at lgbt@ohio.edu or call 740-593-0239.