Walking through the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Nursing I noticed over a dozen square stickers outside faculty doors saying, “SafeZone for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally” in rainbow letters. As a nursing student at LSU, I was thrilled to see an indication that nursing faculty participated in an LGBTQ training and was eager to find out more. I learned that over 20 faculty in the LSU School of Nursing participated in a comprehensive training program put on by the Gay Alliance. The newly trained faculty members will now offer LGBTQ training to interested students, faculty, and staff throughout the health sciences center. They also plan to establish a resource webpage linked to the school of nursing. This will make it easier for potential LSU nursing students to identify that the university has a student culture that embraces diversity and emphasizes inclusion.
There is tangible difference in the way I feel at school now. I am less fearful when speaking up in class to advocate for the inclusion of LGBT health issues in class. I am more likely to bring up my partner in conversation when a group of students are discussing their families with a new nursing instructor. I am more confident that I can be myself and that I will be accepted. Indeed, this is a profound transformation in how I feel about my university and all it took was this small square sticker that said to me, “I see you. You are a valued. You are safe here.”
The organization providing the training, the Gay Alliance, was founded in Rochester, NY after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, and has advocated for the rights and safety of the LGBT community for over 40 years. Through their LGBTQ Academy, the Gay Alliance provided an interactive 8 hour “train the trainer” curriculum for staff and faculty at LSU. This instruction was focused on creating an educational system that is”inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ community and allied individuals”. If your school of nursing is interested in learning more about this training please click here: SafeZone Training.