As coordinator of the University’s Safe Zone LGBTQ ally trainings, Lindy Westenhoff models vulnerability and empathy.
Lindy prefers “they and them” pronouns to my “she and her” and my husband’s “he and him.”
Why is that important?
Because, as I learned in Safe Zone classes, respectful communication in the LGBTQ community is easy.
“Just ask,” Lindy said. “You can say, ‘I go by they and them. What pronouns do you go by?’”
Safe Zone is a campus educational program geared to allies of the LGBTQIA+* community.
“Social justice is about access and changing the status quo to something that’s fair for everyone.”
Lindy defines an ally as “someone who supports, uplifts, and advocates for a marginalized person or community without taking on that marginalized identity as their own.”
And some of us need help knowing how to be good allies.
The classes, combined with Lindy’s willingness to answer uncomfortable questions, helps ensure that we have ways to support members of this community.
Lindy says, “Social justice is about access and changing the status quo to something that’s fair for everyone.”
Which is why Safe Zone’s role is to give participants the knowledge needed to go out and make those changes is so important.
* LGBTQIA+ is often abbreviated LGBTQ. It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexuality and all of the other sexualities, sexes, and genders that aren’t included in these few letters.8
Don’t miss this interview with Lindy that includes:
• her vision of LBGTQ-friendly campuses
• the biggest LGBTQ stumbling block in Wyoming
• and her own story
• Attend live Safe Zone trainings: Offered as three, 1-hour free luncheon classes twice a semester on the University of Wyoming campus (including free lunch). Class details.
Class 1: LBG 101
Where empathy is established. Check for next date.
Class 2: Gender Identity
Becoming more comfortable with complex terms.
April 4 – 12:00 p.m. in Big Horn (Union 203)
Class 3: Visible Ally
How to be both aware and supportive
April 11 – 12:00 p.m. in Big Horn (Union 203)
Navigating Academia as an Underrepresented Student
April 25 – 12:00 p.m. in Big Horn (Union 203)
• Watch Safe Zone classes online
Free from anywhere in the world. Includes downloadable handouts.
Suitable for individual and group learning.
• Attend the Shepard Symposium for Social Justice
April 11-14, 2018 in Laramie
• • •
Ellen Synakowski lives in Laramie, Wyoming.
Her website is EllenSynakowski.com
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”1 — C. West