In the past few years, I have been working on diversity-related teaching issues. Diversity runs in wide spectrums – racial, cultural, religious, sexual orientation, age, physical ability etc. – and I always feel I have a lot more to learn about this topic. I have been reading a lot of books and articles, connecting with faculty who are interested in the topic and trying to attend various diversity-related events. SafeZone orientation is one of the events that I always have planned to attend, but something always came up on the same date/time. So I was so happy to be able to attend it today. According to the Diversity Advocacy’s website, “Safe Zone is designed to provide a visible and non-threatening way for faculty/staff to make a statement that understanding and support for the GLBT community is offered here at Illinois State.” By attending the SafeZone orientation, you will have a better understanding about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender individuals and also will learn how to get more involved in supporting this community.
The orientation was very good in that it provided us with opportunities to learn more about emotional, personal and inter-personal processes of “coming out” and gave a little bit of insights about how GLBT people might feel as they go through the processes. Of course, you cannot learn everything in such a short orientation (only 2 hours), and of course, what people go through in life is not something those who are not in the situation can fully conceive. However, I believe the orientation is a still good opportunity for faculty and staff . I also wished it had more information on what faculty and staff can do in terms of issues and challenges that may arise, so I’m planning to do some research and find out more.
I was very pleased to see many students, faculty and staff at today’s orientation. I think this was the last orientation for this semester, but they offer it several time every semester. Please check on the Diversity Advocacy’s website for more information.