Why Safe Zone?

Why do we need a “Safe Zone” at UC Merced?
 The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTIQ) communities are often the victims of unjustified discrimination and inequities. A “Safe Zone” works to diminish such discrimination by establishing a place that is free of stereotypical barriers and promotes appreciation and respect for individuals of all sexuality and gender identities. 

Additionally, relevant statistics validate the need for a “Safe Zone.” For instance, according to The Campus Climate Assessment (by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) of 20 college institutions:

  • More than one-third (36 percent) of LGBT undergraduate students have experienced harassment within the past year, as have 29 percent of all respondents.
  • Those who experienced harassment reported that derogatory remarks were the most common form (89 percent) and that students were most often the source of harassment (79 percent).
  • Twenty percent of all respondents feared for their physical safety because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 51 percent concealed their sexual orientation or gender identity to avoid intimidation.
  • Forty-one percent of respondents stated that their college/university was not addressing issues related to sexual orientation/gender identity.
  • Respondents were divided on whether or not the institution had visible leadership regarding sexual orientation/gender identity issues, with 44 percent agreeing and 34 percent disagreeing.
  • Forty-three percent felt that the curriculum did not represent the contributions of GLBT people.

These statistics help to substantiate the need for a “Safe Zone.” Additionally, these alarming statistics help to emphasize the lack of education — in the general public — surrounding LGBTIQ issues.  

From the Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People: A National Perspective by Susan R. Rankin