Safe zone training provides insight during No Name Calling Week

Nicholas Birdsong

Everyone can use an ally to rely on.

Safe Zone Ally training was held in the Washburn Student Union on Tuesday as part of No Name Calling Week. Students and faculty were invited to learn about becoming an ally for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals. Attendees learned how to provide support for LGBTQ individuals who are often victims of bullying and harassment.

“It provided me with the opportunity to be a friend to someone who maybe needs that,” said Washburn senior Katlin Hays, who attended the Tuesday event. “Now I’m an ally, so someone can feel safe talking to me even though they might not know me.”

Attendees were told that they should not feel embarrassed to hold some heterosexist or homophobic notions due to the pervasive existence of such ideas throughout popular culture. Attendees were encouraged to learn and struggle against biased attitudes by learning more about the culture and recognizing LGBTQ individuals as equal human beings.

“It really opened my eyes to some things I didn’t know about,” said Andrea Hale, a Washburn student who attended the Safe Zone Ally training. “Everyone needs to be more educated about what is really going on. A lot of people are naive and think that it isn’t that bad when in reality this is a big issue.”

No Name Calling Week was inspired by reports of recent suicides across the country due to bullying. Event organizers hope that with widespread understanding and support, bullying will be stopped or significantly reduced.