LGBTI-SafeZone Q&A

What does it mean if I see a Safe Zone sticker or poster displayed on campus?

Displaying a Safe Zone sticker or poster means that the occupant of that space affirms their openness and acceptance of all sexual orientations and gender representations. In addition, they have participated in a training workshop to increase their awareness of and sensitivity to SGM issues and can serve as an educational resource to the NIH community.

Why do we need Safe Zone at NIH?

SafeZone is part of NIH’s workplace diversity and inclusion strategy. Although many of the nation’s SGM employees are now publicly “out” about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, some fear—with good reason—that public disclosure could threaten their job security and safety. Research shows that employees who openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender report higher rates of discrimination and harassment than those who don’t. [i]SafeZone fights workplace discrimination by making supportive locales and personnel visible throughout the agency.

Do I have to be SGM to participate in Safe Zone?

No. Everyone can participate in the Safe Zone. Likewise, displaying a Safe Zone sticker or poster is not an indication of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Safe Zone gladly welcomes support from individuals who identify as heterosexual and demonstrate genuine interest in reducing homophobia and heterosexism at NIH.

What do Safe Zone team members do?

Welcome Diversity: Safe Zone team members recognize that inclusion is excellence and welcome SGM employees and colleagues. They encourage everyone to be themselves, ask questions, and speak openly.

Stay informed: Safe Zone team members commit to being educated and up to date on SGM issues.

Stand up: Safe Zone team members commit to combating all forms of discrimination.

Remain alert: Safe Zone team members demonstrate SGM-affirmative language and behavior and encourage everyone to learn about SGM diversity and inclusion.

Show support: Team members display Safe Zone stickers and posters in their offices, labs, and work areas to visibly welcome SGM employees and colleagues and establish a safe and respectful environment.

[i] A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers, Movement Advancement Project, 2013.