Affirming Space Training

 Affirming Spaces Logo


Are you looking to broaden your understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality?  Curious about how to best affirm the LGBTQ+ people in your life?

The "Affirming Space" Training Program (formerly known as "Safe Zone") is a two-part series designed for faculty, staff, and students who want to strengthen their cultural competency as it relates to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. 

Using an intersectional framework, participants will learn more about the histories, identities, experiences, and relationships of LGBTQ+ people.  They will also learn how to foster inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ people, including communication tips, names and pronouns, inclusive language, and best practices.


What does it mean to be "affirming"?

An affirming approach is based in a POSITIVE view of LGBTQ+ people, identities, and relationships.  It addresses the negative impacts of marginalization, discrimination, and oppression on the lives of LGBTQ+ people.  Lastly, it treats LGBTQ+ people as the experts of their lives.  When people tell us about themselves, we believe them.  Period.  We respect the language they use to describe themselves, and we use it accordingly.

If you are in any way looking to play "devil's advocate" or debate the existence of LGBTQ+ people, then this is NOT the training for you.  Our aim is to cultivate affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ people, and we will not tolerate anyone who is trying to disrupt or impede this mission.


How to Become an "Affirming Space"?

Individuals who are interested in receiving the "Affirming Space" designation will need to complete a series of two 90-minute trainings (101 & 102).  They will be offered one week apart to allow for adequate processing and reflection.  The open enrollment sessions will be offered twice each semester and will be capped at 20-25 people.  On-demand sessions are also available, in a limited capacity, to those departments and groups on campus who want to provide the series to their members in a closed format.

Once passed, attendees will receive a sticker/card that they can post in their physical spaces.  They can also elect to have their directory information publicly listed on our website.  They will also be able to attend our "Deeper Dives", which are 60-minute trainings that focus on continuing education through specialized topics.


How to sign up for an upcoming training?

Register for Fall 2022 trainings by using the links below.  Be sure to register for both the 101 & 102 training if you would like to receive the "Affirming Space" designation.  You may only register for the Deeper Dive if you plan on taking the full Affirming Space series prior to the session date.

Training Date Time Location Registration Link
Affirming Space 101 Tuesday, September 20th 10:30 AM - 12 PM Jepson Faculty Lounge
Affirming Space 102 Tuesday, September 27th 10:30 AM - 12 PM Jepson Faculty Lounge
Affirming Space 101 Thursday, October 20th 1:30 - 3 PM Westhampton Living Room
Affirming Space 102 Thursday, October 27th 1:30 - 3 PM Westhampton Living Room
Deeper Dive on Gender Diversity Thursday, November 17th 11 AM - 12 PM THC 305



Please email Casey Butler (they/them), Associate Director of LGBTQ+ Campus Life, at or call (804) 484-1653.



Boatwright Libary staff have created a LIBGUIDE with resources on LGBTQ+ issues for students, staff, and faculty.