Safe Zones provide safe spaces that are highly visible and easily identifiable to gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transgender (GLBT) persons, where support and understanding is the key and where bigotry and discrimination are not tolerated.
We provide a safe place for GLBT individuals to be themselves, without fear of judgment. When they see the ALLY symbol, GLBT clients know that they will be respected and affirmed and that they can talk about personal issues without guarding or editing their language.
As allies for gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transgender clients, we strive to make our community a safer and more supportive place.
How to be an Ally & a Friend
~ Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
~ Don't assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.
~ Homophobic comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.
~ Confront your own prejudices and homophobia, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
Homosexuality is not a choice or a "lifestyle" - it is a result of genetic expression, just like left-handedness!
How does homosexuality occur? First, one must have the genetic markers - so far, Xq28, 7q36, 8p12, and 10q26 have been identified (on both the paternal and maternal sides). Second, certain environmental conditions must be present and the timing right in order for the genes to express themselves a certain way.
The timing is at approximately 6-9 wks gestation (during the first trimester) when environmental conditions result in the overproduction of androstenedione (a stress hormone). Androstenedione mimicks testosterone, and it binds to the testosterone receptors, leaving no where for the testosterone to bind, resulting in the underproduction of testosterone. This reduction in testosterone triggers the genetic markers (noted above) to express themselves, resulting in the outcome of homosexuality.
Remember, genes give only the potential for a trait - environmental conditions and the interaction with other genes determine if that potential trait will be achieved.
It is difficult for left-handed people to live in a "right-handed" world of the majority, as it is for homosexual people to live in a "heterosexual" world of the majority. It is time for us in the majority to respect and protect those in the minority.