Providing professional development to on-campus and off-campus partners.

History and Background

The Safe Zone program at UIC began in 2002. The program emerged during a national trend in higher education to provide educational experiences to faculty, staff, and students around sexual orientation and gender identities and issues while providing applicable skills to address homophobia, heterosexism, and trans*phobia on campus. The content and methods of delivery continue to evolve in response to current events and recent scholarship. Although the Gender and Sexuality Center’s Safe Zone program foregrounds sexual orientation and gender identity, we also recognize these identities influence and are influenced by other social identities (e.g. race/ethnicity, class, and ability) as well as systems of power, privilege, empowerment, and liberation. Therefore, we take an intersectional approach in our discussions of identity and context.

Safe Zone workshops are available upon request. The staff of the GSC will consult with you to develop an interactive workshop experience that provides specific expertise relevant for your unit, department, or organization to increase awareness of LGBTQ issues and concerns and implement holistic and inclusive polices and practices.

Please contact Moisés Villada at or 312-413-8619 for more information.

ALL UIC students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend this University-sanctioned workshop. Release time is generally granted according to the Attendance at University Events policy. For more information, please contact University Human Resources.

Overarching Goals of Safe Zone:

Gender and Sexuality Center programming is intended to create Safe Zones across campus and in Chicago. The goals of Safe Zones are to:
• increase knowledge of vocabulary, concepts, and terms connected to sexual orientation and gender identity;
• increase knowledge of micro (e.g. individual), meso (e.g. familial, cultural), and macro (e.g. institutional, societal) issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity;
• increase awareness of the negative impact of homophobia, trans*phobia, and heterosexism on all people;
• increase confidence in making appropriate referrals as needed; and
• increase comfort in acting as an ally on behalf of LGBTQ people.

Intended Audiences
The intended audiences for Safe Zone are faculty, staff, and students across the UIC campus.

Different Types of Safe Zones
To address the goals of creating an inclusive campus for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff, Safe Zone workshops are conducted in a variety of settings. Settings for Safe Zone workshops include Classrooms, Brown Bags, Units & Departments, Student Organizations, Conferences, & External Organizations. As part of our consultative process, the workshops range in length depending on the goals and needs of the requesting unit.

Examples of our Safe Zone workshops include Safe Zone 101 & Trans Safe Zone:
• Safe Zone 101 provides an introduction and overview of vocabulary, concepts, current events, policies, identity development models and issues related to coming out for LGBTQ people and communities.
• Trans* Safe Zone addresses terminology, concepts, and policies specific to trans* and gender non-conforming people including details related to social, legal, and physical transitioning.

Multi-Layered Collaborative Process
The Safe Zone 2.0 program has multiple components with intentions to build collaborative relationships across campus and provide on-going support for greater inclusivity at UIC. Below is a snapshot of the process:
1. Request
2. Consultation
3. Planning & Construction of Workshop/Assessment
4. Workshop Implementation
5. Data Entry and Initial Analyses
6. Follow-Up
7. On-Going Check-Ins
8. Wrap-Up