Safe Space Allies Program

What is Safe Space?

symbol showing safe spaceA Safe Space is a welcoming, supportive and safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and queer (LGBTQIQ) students. According to the Campus Pride 2010 National College Climate Survey (Rankin, S., Weber, G., Blumenfeld, W. & Frazer, S.; 2010), “the overwhelming majority of LGBTQIQ students, of every race, color and ethnicity, report harassment, isolation and fear on their college campuses” with transmasculine, transfeminine and gender non-conforming students being the “most likely to experience overt and blatant oppression and hostility.” The primary goal of UNO's Safe Space/Allies program is to provide a network of students, staff, and faculty committed to providing support to LGBTQIQ individuals and their allies at UNO and beyond.

In order to achieve this goal, the program aims to:

  • Identify and mobilize a network of people who are empathetic and knowledgeable about LGBTQIQ issues and concerns. The safe space training will emphasize knowledge about campus and community resources as well as counseling/helping skills.
  • To provide evidence of LGBTQIQ support by displaying a sign as a visible symbol of personal commitment.
  • To reduce the fear and discrimination of LGBTQIQ persons within the UNO community.

What does the Safe Space symbol represent?

You might recognize some of the components of the Safe Space symbol, which is a combination of the LGBTQIQ pride flag and the gay pink triangle. The history of the pink triangle began in Nazi Germany during World War II. Each prisoner in the concentration camps wore a colored inverted triangle to designate their reason for incarceration. The pink triangle was for homosexual men. In the 1970’s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a symbol for the gay rights movement.

The LGBTQIQ pride flag, or “rainbow flag”, first appeared in 1978, when it was flown during the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. The San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The different colors of the flag symbolize different components of the community: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, blue for art, and purple for spirit.

We’ve combined these symbols---the triangle and the pride flag---for our Safe Space symbol. The emblem reminds us of the joy of the diverse, accepting community we hope to build through programs like Safe Space, as well as the struggle against oppression we face as we try to make that vision a reality.

What is a Safe Space Ally?

A Safe Space ally is an individual who speaks out and stands up for a person or group that is targeted and discriminated against. An ally works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatized, discriminated against or treated unfairly. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and queer (LGBTQIQ) communities, an ally is any person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBTQIQ people.

Allies have been involved in almost all movements for social change, and allies can make a significant contribution to the LGBTQIQ rights movement. It is important for allies to demonstrate that LGBTQIQ people are not alone as they work to improve the campus climate, and to take a stand in places where it might not be safe for LGBTQIQ people to be out or visible. Any faculty, staff or student, LGBTQIQ or non-LGBTQIQ, can be an ally to LGBTQIQ students.

Meet our Allies