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The following are descriptions of the various workshops in the JCU Safe Zone series. 


LGBT 101

Presented by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

This cultural competency training is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community. Part of this understanding is also raising awareness of the issues that affect those that identify as part of the larger LGBT community. This awareness should translate into increasing sensitivity and efficacy in working with a vulnerable population. The aim of the training is to accomplish the following three objectives: 1. Increase knowledge, 2. Raise Awareness, and 3. Build Resources.


Trans 101

Presented by OutSupport (

Help your workplace, student organization or faculty/staff organization learn the basics of what it means to be transgender! Transgender 101 is a one hour program taught by parents of young transgender adults. The program is designed to help Northeast Ohio (NEO) learn about topics including 1. Trans lingo, 2. Social, medical and legal issues, 3. How to be an ally, and 4. Resources for transgender individuals in NEO. 


Who Am I to Judge? Intersections of our Jesuit Catholic Mission and the LGBTQ+ Community

How do we navigate through difficult and complex issues in a morally complex world? John Carroll University Professor of Theology, Rev. James Bretzke, S.J., S.T.D., and John Scarano, M.A. (Director, Campus Ministry) address these questions in the light of the developing tradition of Catholic sexual ethics in the context of the Jesuit Catholic Mission in service to its community in helping to create and maintain a Safe Zone for all, especially the LGBTQ+ community.

*This training is collaboratively brought to you by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies & Campus Ministry. For more information, contact 


Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) 

Presented by PFLAG Cleveland (

PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. 

This session provides an opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity and acts to create a campus that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.  

Approximately 3.6 percent of the population in Ohio identifies as LGBTQ+, which means that LGBTQ+ and questioning students are present on our college campus, many of whom are in various stages of identity development and are in need of support. Moreover, homosexuality is an identity that is often invisible. The Safe Zone program asserts a visual statement of support to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students. To see a partial list of other schools with an Ally & Safe Zone program visit the American College Student Personnel Association’s Standing Committee for LGBTQ+ Awareness.

  • Increase the visible presence of LGBTQ+ allies and places that are ‘safe’ for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty across campus.
  • Affirm that “Safe” as practiced in the program is the use of evidence-based and trauma-informed content to provide comprehensive student support.
  • Have students, staff and faculty complete the session titled "LGBT 101" facilitated by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. 
  • Have students, staff and faculty complete the session titled "Who Am I to Judge? Intersections of our Jesuit Catholic Mission and the LGBTQ+ Community" facilitated by the Theology and Religious Studies Department and Campus Ministry. 
  • LGBT 101 is facilitated by LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
  • Trans 101 is facilitated by OutSupport 
  • An Introduction to Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays is facilitated by PFLAG Cleveland
  • Who Am I to Judge? Intersections of our Jesuit Catholic Mission and the LGBTQ+ Community is facilitated by the JCU Theology and Religious Studies Department and Campus Ministry.

The Safe Zone series was developed and curated by staff in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, with support from other university and external partners.  

With the Safe Zone door decal, we hope to increase the visibility of their support. Allies have existed for a long time on campus … we’re just making this support loud and clear. Moreover, by directly addressing and attempting to reduce one type of bias, the campus is indirectly addressing and reducing other forms of bias at the University.

The reality is not all people on campus are supportive, knowledgeable, and understanding of LGBTQ+ people. While the University’s Statement on Diversity recognizes our diverse and vibrant community, it is important for LGBTQ+ persons to be affirmed regardless of their other social identities.

Is Safe Zone appropriate at a Jesuit university?
Yes. Students are educated at John Carroll University in the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, the care of the whole person. Briefly stated, the mission of the University is “a commitment to a church within the world, serving the human search for truth and value, and for justice and solidarity.” John Carroll inspires individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service in the region and in the world. To achieve this goal, the University creates an inclusive community where differing points of view and experience are valued as opportunities for mutual learning. Lastly, the University is committed to the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical development of each student.

Programs like Safe Zone help to increase awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community on campus. Many Jesuit Universities have Safe Zone programs, including Georgetown University, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, Boston College, and Loyola University Chicago. The Safe Zone program at John Carroll University was developed with input and support from campus stakeholders.
student, staff, faculty at pride march in downtown cleveland.

What is an ally?

In the most general sense, an “ally” is a person who is a member of the majority group who works to end oppression in their personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population. Allies to racial, religious, a

students in LGBTQIA+ Allies organization posing at graduation event.

What are the responsibilities of an ally?

Allies commit to foster a campus environment where homophobia is not tolerated and heterosexism is challenged. They continue to educate themselves on how to be an ally for LGBTQ+ people.

students talking at involvement fair.

What are the benefits?

Safe Zone fosters the opportunity to interact and learn from one another in our diverse community. Allies make a difference on campus—even if they don’t see or hear it all the time. Allies live out the Jesuit mission by making a personal contribution to

What should I do if someone comes out to me?

Coming out is when people acknowledge that they are LGBTQ+. It's an ongoing process, not a single event. LGBTQ+ people are coming out their whole lives – every time they take a new class, start a new job, meet new people, etc.

There is no one way or model that perfectly describes the coming out process. However, here’s what coming out might look like over a period of time:

  • You come out to yourself.
  • You tell one or two close friends.
  • You tell a few more friends. You may tell classmates or co-workers.
  • You tell a family member you trust.
  • You tell other family members.
  • You come out in public settings.

The 1979 Viviene Cass Identity Model is a fundamental theory on gay and lesbian identity development, along with Anthony R. D’Augelli’s Model of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Identity Development (1994), Ruth E. Fassinger Model of Gay and Lesbian Identity Development (1996) and Arlene Istar Lev’s Transgender Emergence Model (2000).

Consider following the below suggestions if and when someone decides to come out to you.

Supporting LGBTQ+ Students Who Come Out To You

  • Offer support but don’t assume a student needs any help. The student may be perfectly comfortable with their sexual orientation or gender identity and may not need help dealing with it or be in need of any support. It may be that the student just wanted to tell someone, or simply to tell you so you might know them better. Offer and be available to support your students as they come out to others.
  • Be a role model of acceptance. Always model good behavior by using inclusive language and setting an accepting environment by not making assumptions about people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and by addressing other’s biased language, stereotypes and myths about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
  • Appreciate the student’s courage. There is often a risk in telling someone something personal, especially sharing for the first time one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, when it is generally not considered the norm. Consider the student’s coming out a courageous act and compliment them for their courage. Thank them for their trust in you.
  • The best way you can help and support a student is to hear them out and let the student know you are there to listen.
  • Assure and respect confidentiality. The student told you and may or may not be ready to tell others. Let the student know that the conversation is confidential, and you won’t tell anyone else unless they ask for your help talking to another person. If they want others to know doing it in their own way with their own timing is important. Respect their privacy.
  • Ask questions that demonstrate understanding, acceptance and compassion.
    • Have you been able to tell anyone else?
    • Has this been a secret you have had to keep from others or have you told other people?
    • Do you feel you have the support of others?
    • Do you need any help of any kind? Resources or someone to listen?
  • If there is anything you don’t understand, ask. Don’t assume or act like you understand if you don’t. It’s okay to ask the student. And remember, each person is an individual and has individual ideas and needs. Do not expect students to conform to societal norms about gender or sexual orientation.
  • Validate the person’s gender identity and expression. It is important to use the pronoun appropriate to the gender presented or that the person requests. This is a show of respect.
  • Remember that gender identity is separate from sexual orientation. Knowing someone is transgender does not provide you with any information about their sexual orientation.

What Not To Say When A Student Comes Out

  • “I knew it!” This makes the disclosure about you and not the student, and you might have been making an assumption based on stereotypes.
  • “Are you sure?” This suggests the student doesn’t know who they are.
  • “Don’t tell anyone.” This implies there is something wrong and that being LGBTQ+ must be kept hidden.
  • “You can’t be gay – you’ve had relationships with people of the opposite sex.” This refers only to behavior, while sexual orientation is about inner feelings.

All groups are drop-in based. No registration necessary.

Discussion groups are all held at the LGBT Community Center for Greater Cleveland located at 6600 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102. For more information click here.

LGBT Veterans Group

  • Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m.
  • Weekly group for LGBTQ+ veterans.

20 Something Group

  • 1st & 3rd Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m.
  • An informal social group for people in their 20’s or in a collegiate program focused on social activities, discussion, and community building.

Men's Discussion Group

  • Every Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m. (18+)
  • Provides a safe, welcoming space to explore topics relevant to us as GBTQ men, and to share our personal experiences. Meetings are facilitated by a member to keep us on topic and make sure everyone who wants to talk has a chance.


  • Every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. (21+)
  • Trans*cend is an activity based support group for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

Living Pozitive

  • First Thursday at 4 p.m.
  • A support group for people living with HIV/AIDS.


  • 2nd Saturday from 11:00-1:30 p.m.
  • Support group for trans-identified individuals and allies.
  • For more information, email Stacey Parsons at or visit their website at

Beyond Binaries

  • 1st Saturday - Discussion Group - 10:30 a.m.-noon at The Center
  • 3rd Saturday - Monthly Social Event - Click here for details.
  • Provides an informal space for adults to discuss and explore gender identities outside the traditional gender binary (male/female) while providing support and insight to each other. The group is open to anyone 18 and up (including, but not limited to: genderqueer, queer, gender non-conforming, non-binary gender, bigender, agender, transgender, etc.).

Out, Proud, and Pagan

  • 4th Saturday from 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Out, Proud, and Pagan is a safe place to gather, learn and celebrate. This group's aims are to grow the understanding of what it means to be Queer and Pagan. Come and share you journey, experience new rituals, gain understanding, and enjoy yourself, as we all explore the intersection of our sexuality and magick practice.

LGBTQ+ survivors have the same reactions and fears as would any survivor. However, LGBTQ+ sexual or relationship violence survivors may face additional concerns. These concerns are normal.

Fear of Prejudice: Someone who is assaulted by someone of their same sex may fear reporting the crime because of prejudice. They may fear that an officer, hotline worker, doctor, or attorney will judge them because of their sexuality. They might feel like people believe they brought the attack on themselves by being LGBTQ+.

Assumption of Heterosexuality: People assisting a survivor of assault may assume that the person is heterosexual. A survivor may feel uncomfortable correcting that assumption, or disclosing that they are homosexual.

Fear of Being “Outed:” LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual or relationship violence may not have revealed to their friends, family, or community that they are homosexual. They may worry if they come forward to report that this information will be revealed.

This Can’t Happen To Me: Sexual and relationship violence are most often portrayed as crimes committed by men against women. However, these crimes can be perpetrated by men against men and by women against women. The same options are available to survivors of same-sex assaults.

Betrayal of LGBTQ+ Community: LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual or relationship violence may hesitate to report the crime because they feel like they are betraying their community. They might worry that a stigma of violence will be attached to the LGBTQ+ community.

Common Myths:

  • A woman can’t rape another woman or a woman can’t rape a man.
  • Gay men are sexually promiscuous and are always ready for sex.
  • When a woman claims domestic abuse by another women, it is just a catfight. Similarly, when a man claims domestic abuse by another man, it is just two men fighting.

As with all cases, these myths can only be dispelled when they are replaced by truth. This requires that members of the LGBTQ+ community and heterosexual allies speak out and acknowledge sexual assault and domestic violence within the LGBTQ+ community, in order to both prevent future assaults and to provide competent and compassionate care to survivors.

Any violation of the University Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence policy should be reported to the University Title IX Coordinator, who can provide support and resources to all affected parties.

For additional information click here to view Bravo website: a link to survivor advocacy and assistance regarding hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

Reporting Structures

John Carroll University is dedicated to building a campus community free from bias, discrimination, and hate.