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SafeZones at SDSU

As one of several trainings at San Diego State University, SafeZones works to support efforts towards a welcoming, informative, educational, and safe environment for all 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit [2S], Lesbian [L], Gay [G], Bisexual [B], Transgender [T], Queer or Questioning [Q], Intersex [I], Asexual [A], used to indicate the vast spectrum of sexual orientations, romantic orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions a person may hold over their lifetime [+]) members of the campus community.

In 2007, the late Carrie Sakai, Psy.D. and retired Professor Susan E. Cayleff, Ph.D. co-founded SafeZones@SDSU; which at the time, consisted of a training program and social justice programming run by Counseling and Psychological Services. Today, SafeZones is offered through The Pride Center and remains an imperative training resource for SDSU and campuses across the nation.

Spring 2024 SafeZones training is now open for registration. For any questions regarding SafeZones, email [email protected].

In the fall of 2007, several homophobic incidents occurred on the SDSU campus, including verbal and physical harassment, assault, interference with LGBTQ+ students and their allies picketing in favor of same-sex marriage, and homophobic comments being made in classrooms. After an empowering "Stop the Hate" campus rally, a call was sent out to the campus community asking people to attend a meeting to address these issues. People representing various departments, student organizations, and individual faculty and staff gathered to create a permanent program to make SDSU safe, welcoming, and proactive for all LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, administrators, and their allies. The meeting, along with a rich history of LGBTQ+ student organizations, diversity programming, a faculty/staff lesbian and gay group, LGBTQ+ coursework (which evolved into the LGBTQ+ major/minor and graduate certificate), and events and services aimed at addressing the issues and needs of the LGBTQ+ community, SafeZones was formed.

Since the founding of SafeZones, The Pride Center and SDSU have made strides in community inclusion and social justice education.

The newest version of SafeZones focuses on both educational and tangible content for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and their allies.

Carrie Sakai, Psy.D. was one of the original founders of SafeZones@SDSU. She was a tireless advocate for student needs at SDSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (2004-2020) and a devoted California Faculty Association Union leader. Dr. Sakai passed away on December 28, 2021 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She is deeply mourned by members of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) who worked beside her in building SafeZones.