Imagine if you had to be on guard all of the time because you were afraid to tell anyone who you really were. If they found out, your parents might withdraw their financial support so you couldn't stay in school. Professors might grade your papers more harshly or even fail you. Your friends might suddenly stop inviting you to parties and ignore you at school. You might be fired from your work-study job. When you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), often no place feels safe. No one is safe to tell, because of all the horrible things that might happen.

Our LGBT students, faculty and staff can feel nearly invisible on our campus and may sometimes find the climate uninviting or even hostile. The safe zone symbol sends a message to students and colleagues. This message is one of understanding, non-judgment and knowledge of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons' needs and concerns. It is symbolic of a willingness and a commitment on our part to provide an atmosphere of acceptance and assistance.

Crimes committed in 2002 due to bias against the victim's perceived sexual orientation represent 16.7% of reported hate crime incidents -- the highest level in the 12 years since the agency began collecting these statistics -- according to data released Oct. 27 in the FBI report Crime in the United States in 2002. Sexual orientation bias represents the third highest category of reported hate crimes.

These statistics illustrate the need for programs that promote awareness and tolerance. Keep in mind that these are just based on reported instances and crimes.

Based on the 2003 National School Climate Survey: the School Related Experiences of Our Nation�s Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth:

  1. 84% of GLBT youth reported being verbally- and 39%physicallyharassed because of their sexual orientation 
  2. 64% GLBT youth reported feeling unsafe at their school because of their sexual orientation

From "Straight Talk about Homosexuality" by Diversity Works, Inc.:

  1. 30% of teenagers who commit suicide are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. 
  2. 50% of teenagers who are kicked out of their homes in NYC are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (1991 study).
  3. One in three LGBT individuals has a drug or alcohol dependence problem (Pride Institute Report).
  4. One in four gay men and one in seven lesbians will be physically attacked at some point in their lives (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1990).
  5. LGBT individuals are seven times more likely to be attacked(Pennsylvania Justice Department, 1990)

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