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History and Mission

    VT Safe Zone

Established in 1998, the Safe Zone program was created as a collaborative effort between the Dean of Students; the HokiePRIDE; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Caucus (LGBT Caucus); and the Office for Equity and Inclusion (formerly the Office of Equal Opportunity).

Now, coordinated through Intercultural Engagement Center, the Safe Zone program exists to educate the Virginia Tech community on topics related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Safe Zones are members of the program who are committed to providing a more inclusive and accepting environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities and their allies.

To be Safe Zone certified, participants must first complete Safe Zone 101 and one additional break out session. Information about all sessions are available below.

Register for a Safe Zone session!

Safe Zone 101

This session is for individuals interested in learning more about the LGBTQ Community.

Topics addressed in the first training workshop session include:

  • Common LGBTQ Terms
  • Sexual Orientation vs. Sexual Identity
  • The Coming Out Process
  • Experiences of LGBTQ Individuals
  • How You Can Be A Safe Zone Ally

This session is required for everyone interested in joining the Safe Zone Program.

It is a requirement to attend this session prior to signing up for any following sessions.

We have several opportunities for you to attend SafeZone101, with different dates and times for your convenience. Sign up for one of the events below:

Transgender 101

Many people hold common misconceptions about people who identify as transgender, transexual, genderqueer, or in some way that is unique with regard to sex/gender and identity. Moreover, few people in the majority throughout our society realize that they have a cisgender/cisexual identity that affords certain unearned privileges. This presentation provides an overview of gender diversity, and a welcome forum for exploring new and unfamiliar concepts. Those looking to strengthen their work as allies are strongly encouraged to attend.

This session is led by Safe Zone trainer Christian Matheis.

New River Valley Resources

NRV Resources" with the following: Bisexuality, Pansexuality, and Non-Monosexual Identity "This interactive workshop deals specifically with the concerns of individuals who identify outside of heterosexual and homosexual orientations. The goals of this session include: - Building greater awareness and visibility of bisexuality and pansexuality as a valid sexual orientation. - Breaking down common stereotypes and myths - Establishing sexual orientation can be fluid for some people - Examining the ways that biphobia and prejudice is present among heterosexual and LGBTQ populations.

Register now for this session taking place on Tuesday, October 20 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Suicide Watch and Prevention

The Raft Crisis Hotline is a free service offering suicide intervention, empathy, and support to residents of the New River Valley. Raft is a program of New River Valley Community Services and has been serving the local community for more than 40 years. A majority of the hotline's volunteers have traditionally been students at Virginia Tech and an official partnership was formed through former Raft Hotline Manager Brittany Mabry and Virginia Tech's LGBTQ Coordinator Catherine Cotrupi to offer suicide watch and prevention training to Virginia Tech Safe Zones.

This session is led by Raft Crisis Hotline Manager Rebecca Bryce.

Safe Dating & Relationship Violence

How do LGBTQ identified people exist in the context of relationship, meet, and define those relationships? What are some specific ways you can support students dating in the Blacksburg/Virginia Tech area?  What are things to be mindful of concerning potential partner violence?  

This engaging session covers sensitive and mature issues around safe dating practices, online dating, safe sex across sexualities and gender expression, and an overview of intimate partner violence.

This session is led by Gender Based Violence Prevention Coordinator and Safe Zone facilitator Katie Mey.

Register now for this session taking place on October 26 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Legal & Compliance

This session will cover key court decisions that have defined the LGBTQ legal environment including the topics of gender expression, marriage, adoption, and employment rights. Additionally, we will discuss how these laws directly impact Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, and what steps Safe Zones must take when these rights are violated. Information on Title IX compliance and reporting information relevant to the Cleary Act will also be a focus.

This session is led by Safe Zone trainer Amanda Morris.

Spirituality and Sexuality
The intersection of faith and LGBTQ identity can at times be a difficult subject to navigate. This interactive workshop will provide you with information and resources on how to be allies to LGBTQ identified individuals struggling with religious issues. It will also provide you with thoughtful, respectful language and strategies to engage with people of faith who may not be aware of LGBTQ issues, or unsupportive to the LGBTQ population.

Objectives of the Safe Zone Program

  1. To identify a network of allies who are concerned, empathetic, and knowledgeable about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender questions.
  2. To provide evidence of the support of LGBTQ people and their allies within the Virginia Tech community by posting a sign as tangible evidence of that support.
  3. To reduce the fear of reprisal and discrimination by LGBTQ people and their allies within the Virginia Tech community.
  4. To assist LGBTQ and allied students in achieving their educational goals by creating an environment in which they can be themselves.


Questions and Comments?

Please email Natasha Cox, Assistant Director and Safe Zone Program Coordinator at:

Contact Us

Assistant Director



Faculty/Staff Caucus