By Elyssa Gideon/reporter
People can learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and how to advocate for them during a Safe Space training session noon-4:30 p.m Oct. 2 in TREF 4317 on TR Campus.
Training will include statistics and a day in the life of the average LGBTQ+ college student. At the close of the speech, participants can choose to sign up and become an ally for the community.
“What we learn about in the training is how you as an individual can be a safe space,” TR student development associate Cortney Walden said.
Participants will receive a pin with a rainbow circle that reads “Safe Space” to show they are Safe Space-trained.
“[The pin] is there to show that this person is a listening ear that can listen to you without judgment, help you report a complaint, just be there to help you,” she said.
The Safe Space Program was first implemented in 2013, according to Walden.
“We have always had students identify within the LGBTQ+ community attending TCC, and we always will,” she said. “But it wasn’t until a specific group of people came together on a committee to discuss the challenges these students face, in which Safe Space was born.”
One of the challenges these students face are higher rates of suicide, she said.
“An entire section of the training talks about suicide awareness,” Walden said.
Those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community are 50 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their non-identifying peers. Walden herself lost a family member to suicide three months after coming out to her family.
“[The family member] didn’t feel loved or accepted in the Hispanic culture, or even their own family,” she said. “[The family member] didn’t feel like there was any hope to ever be accepted.”
Walden said she now feels inspired to help those who reminded her of the loved one she lost.
“It feels like my mission, to help these students every day,” she said.
Space is limited, so attendees should sign up by Oct. 1 by emailing Walden at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch will be provided.