LGBTQ Academy & SafeZone

To date we have traveled to 23 different states and we have had participants join us from over 30 different states. Few organizations in the country have our experience or expertise.

For more information please contact or 585-244-8640.

The LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance, has been offering quality LGBTQ+ trainings and programming since 1973.

As one of the oldest LGBTQ+ organizations in the country we are proud to continue our core mission of providing services to the LGBTQ+ and allied communities of Rochester, NY and surrounding areas.

In recent years the LGBTQ Academy has gained national attention, and our trainers have extended our reach beyond the upstate NY region. We lead sessions across the country, present keynote addresses at conferences, and working with clients from a variety of states to meet their educational and training goals.

LGBTQ+ Basics

TIME: 1.5-3 hours

Although the majority of straight cisgender people in the U.S. believe in equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, most of them remain uninvolved in the civil rights fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Fears and anxieties associated with becoming active and/or saying the wrong thing, as well as the belief that a straight cisgender person has little to offer, prevent many people from being vocal. In this workshop, we will discuss overcoming these concerns, important roles the ally can play and using our privileges to educate others. Participants will learn the power that they have to bridge the gap between the straight cisgender community and the LGBTQ+ community. Finally, allies will learn what they can do to work towards inclusion in their schools, workplaces, faith communities, etc.

Feedback from the Ally Workshop (March 2018)

“I realized I was over-apologizing for misgendering and it was so helpful to learn the appropriate level is as if I bumped into someone. The space felt very safe and open. Thank you both!”

“I learned better/more appropriate terminology. Thank you!”

“Dynamic and engaging”

“I appreciated the energy, the cool Prezi, the nice pairing of leaders and the emphasis on forgiveness/journey.”

“I learned tips for responding to difficult comments. The flow and order of discussion was good. Personal stories are always powerful and helpful.”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the training and our facilitators “very good” to “excellent.”

TIME: 1-2 hours
People who are unfamiliar with the LGBTQ+ communities are sometimes fearful of saying the wrong thing to LGBTQ+ people. Too often, worried that they will accidentally offend, they are silenced. At the LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance we encourage dialogue and conversation as a way to learn about different cultures, grow in our understanding and change our policies and behaviors in order to create more inclusive spaces. In this interactive presentation, LGBTQ Academy Speakers Bureau members share well-meaning questions or comments, via Powerpoint, that they find offensive, why they dislike it and what would be a better way to talk with them about the subject. This presentation is facilitated by an LGBTQ Academy Trainer and it goes beyond basic terminology. It gets to the heart of understanding LGBTQ+ identities and helps us learn respectful ways to communicate.

Feedback from Communicating Respectfully with LGBTQ+ Individuals (July 2018)

“Extremely informative and made you think about daily interactions and being more open-minded to other people.”

“Wonderful and very helpful!”

“Very eye-opening. Grateful for the openness to questions and honest answers. Great handouts!”

“Great job! Thanks for doing this.”

“Easy and palatable way to present this information that can be delicate.”

“Everyone did a great job and I felt comfortable to ask any questions!”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated our facilitators “excellent.”

TIME: 1-2 hours

For over 40 years this presentation has been the cornerstone of our education programs. The presentation provides participants with a general understanding of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus a whole bunch more!) identities. Trained Speakers Bureau members will share their personal coming out stories. They will discuss basic terms and vocabulary, including the distinction between sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This format encourages dialogue and provides ample time for participants to ask questions and get honest answers. This presentation can be run with two presenters for a smaller classroom setting or as a panel presentation for a larger assembly. Perfect for honest conversations with middle and high school students, parents, teachers, college campuses, healthcare providers, faith communities, etc.

Feedback from LGBTQ+ 101 in the Rochester area (August 2018)

“Awesome job – so glad this was brought to (our company).”

“Eloquent, friendly and informed presenters!

“Very well spoken, funny and educated.”

“Nothing could have made this better. It was perfect. Thank you! Very educational.”

“Excellent presenters. Thank you so much!”

“Very open, honest, felt very comfortable asking questions. Presenters were friendly, funny and make the topic approachable and welcoming. It was great!”

“Extremely well-articulated, judgment-free. Perfect.”

100% of the participants from this panel rated both the presentation and our speakers “very good” to “excellent.”

TIME: 1.5-2 hours

It is human nature to label people and objects. It is how we create order and make sense of the world. Unfortunately, labeling and stereotyping people can lead to a flawed understanding of a culture. In this fun and interactive panel presentation, participants will have an opportunity to challenge themselves on long held stereotypes and beliefs. Our panel will consist of individuals who identify as: straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Our sixth panelist will be a “wild card.” Participants must ask the panelist questions and try to guess how the panelists identify. Direct questions about sexual behaviors are not allowed, for example: “Who was the last person you had sex with?” Questions about gender expression are fair game, for example: “Do you own Birkenstocks?” This presentation is sure to create lots of laughter but it is also a great opportunity for self-reflection and in depth discussions around the power of stereotyping, in a safe and comfortable setting. Perfect for larger audiences on college campuses or high school assemblies!

Feedback from Who’s Who Panel in Rochester

“Confidence and humor of the presenters. Nothing could have made this better.”

“Friendly panelists – made for a comfortable environment. Awesome!”

“Everyone seemed nice and comfortable. Great job!”

“Open and engaging presenters. All great!”

100% of the participants from this panel presentation rated it “excellent.”

Transgender Awareness and Inclusion

TIME: 2-4 hours

Over the past few years, the number of out transgender, non-binary and gender expansive students in our schools has greatly increased. Frequently teachers, coaches and school staff feel unprepared to work respectfully with transgender students and to create spaces that are safe and inclusive. This interactive workshop includes information on: understanding transgender identities, respectfully communicating with transgender individuals, best practices and policies for your school or campus, dealing with gender specific facilities and athletic programming and more.

Feedback from Creating Transgender Inclusive Schools and Campuses in Rochester (October 2018)

“A perfect start for us. Absolutely outstanding!”

“Fabulous job and thought-provoking”

“I learned different strategies that can be implemented to create a safer environment in our school. Lots of helpful information! It was very informative. Thank you!”

“Fun and extremely knowledgable.”

“Amazing presenters!”

“Presenters were fantastic! Open, honest and entertaining!”

“Knowledgeable, relevant, applicable. Thank you!”

“Loved it! Hoping our school invites you back to present to students and parents.”

“Thought it was excellent. Well done. Keep raising awareness!”

“A wonderful use of a Superintendent Conference Day! Thank you for sharing useful information.”

99% of the participants from this training rated both the presentation and our facilitators “very good” to “excellent.

TIME: 2-4 hours

Creating safe and inclusive workplaces and agencies for all people, regardless of gender identity or gender expression, improves the well-being of employees and customers as well. With equitable and respectful policies and practices, transgender, non-binary and gender expansive customers will feel more comfortable requesting services and transgender employees are likely to be more productive at work and more invested in social interactions with co-workers. In this interactive presentation an LGBTQ Academy Trainer will share some of the realities of being transgender in the workplace, some critical tips for respectful communication and some best practice suggestions for communicating respectfully and creating a safe and supportive workplace.

Feedback From Creating Transgender Inclusive Workplaces and Agencies in Rochester (August 2018)

“I absolutely loved the humor!!! So smart, witty and informative. You both made it fun and educational.”“Open, funny, honest. I learned a lot and enjoyed this training.”

“They were able to engage the audience and were funny and entertaining. I feel it was really informative.”

“Presenters were very knowledgeable and funny.”

“Very funny and entertaining while still being informative. They were very relatable.”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the training and our facilitators “very good” to “excellent.”

TIME: 2-3 hours

One third of the transgender and gender expansive individuals surveyed in 2015 reported having at least one negative healthcare experience related to their trans identities, such as being refused treatment, being verbally harassed, being physically or sexually assaulted or having to teach their provider about transgender people in order to get appropriate care. Transgender clients face huge health care disparities and barriers to care in the US. In this interactive presentation Out Alliance Speakers Bureau members share specific health-related situations that they have experienced as well as tips and best practices for creating welcoming and inclusive spaces.

Feedback from Meeting the Health Needs of Transgender Clients in Rochester (October 2018)

“Very knowledgeable, provided great examples and made everyone/myself feel comfortable asking questions. THANK YOU! You were both amazing.”

“It was just perfect!”

“I learned how to be more sensitive while caring for transgender patients, strategies to protect their comfort.”

“Helpful information surrounding how to address the LGBTQ+ community in the medical field. Very enlightening stories.”

“I learned that we can alleviate a huge amount of stress for trans people without much work for anyone else.”

“Nothing could have made this better. It was outstanding.”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the presentation and our trainers “very good” to “excellent.”

TIME: 1-2 hours

The goals of this panel presentation are: to broaden participant’s understanding of transgender, non-binary and gender expansive identities; to increase awareness of barriers to care by hearing personal experiences from our panelists, both positive and negative, in healthcare, mental health agencies, corporations, schools and campuses; and to offer best practice tips for creating more inclusive environments in our schools and workplaces. Trans identified LGBTQ Academy Speakers Bureau members will share their personal experiences and encourage participants to ask questions and dialogue in a safe and respectful environment.

Feedback from our Trans Panel: Voices of the Community in Rochester (September 2018)

“I learned how to better support transgender and non-binary folks. The stories were wonderful.”

“Many different perspectives and showed different types of trans people. I thought it was great.”

“I learned how to approach conversations with kindness.”

“Everyone was genuine and engaging.”

“I’m not sure what could have made this better. Love y’all!”

“Brought humor to a serious subject. You all were wonderful!”

100% of the participants from this training rated this panel presentation “excellent.

The Out Alliance commends you for supporting your transitioning employee or teacher and for creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for everyone. Studies have shown that employees experience an increase in productivity, commitment and loyalty when they are able to bring their authentic selves to work. Our suggestions for a successful transition are as follows:

Initial Meeting: The LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance recommends scheduling an initial consultation meeting with our trained staff, the transitioning employee, HR manager, work team leader, school principal and any other mangers or leaders who you feel should be notified and involved in the planning. At this meeting we will discuss: the current climate at your company or school around diversity issues, our recommendations regarding staff trainings (content and timing), guidelines for creating an inclusive workplace or school and suggestions for notifying clients or parents. There will also be ample time to discuss any questions or concerns.

Leadership Training: Following the initial meeting we recommend scheduling an LGBTQ Academy training for the leadership team. This training will focus on: understanding trans identities, respectful language, modeling respectful behavior as team leaders, looking at current policies and best practices and tips for answering questions and addressing concerns from staff, parents and students.

Work Team Training: Following the leadership training we recommend scheduling an LGBTQ Academy training or several trainings for all co-workers who will come in regular contact with the transitioning employee or teacher. This training will focus on: understanding trans identities, respectful language, expectations as staff, helping to create a welcoming environment and answering questions and addressing concerns.

Optional Educational Meeting for Parents: Following the training of teachers and school staff, we recommend offering an informational meeting to any parents who might be interested in attending. This session is an opportunity for parents to learn more about transgender identities and related school polices. Parents will also be given ample time to ask questions or share concerns.
At the Out Alliance we have found that when companies and school districts take the time to train their staff on transgender identities and inclusive workplaces and when they offer education and support to clients, parents, students, etc., an employee’s transition will go significantly smoother for all involved. The vast majority of individuals who we have been to our trainings expressed a desire to behave in a way that is respectful and affirming; they simply need the tools and the language to be able to do that.

Feedback from a Transitioning Employee/Teacher in Rochester Following our Trainings

“I want to thank you all for the help, preparation and support you gave my new employer and myself, for me to start my new employment in my new life. Everything went great, seamless and virtually flawless. My first week back at work could not have gone any better. The support, being treated and viewed as “me the person” was outstanding. My career is now where I want it to be working in the industry I like most and working with other good people in a comfortable atmosphere. I am so happy that I have transitioned successfully with support from family, friends and now my career.”

Feedback from our Transitioning Employee/Teacher Workshop (October 2018)

“I learned what is appropriate to say to someone transitioning as well as do not assume how someone identifies. Great tips for people to incorporate in their everyday lives and not just work.”

“Knowledge of the instructors, energy, non-judgment zone. The only thing that could have made this better was more time. Great job!!”

“Great presenters open to “silly” or inappropriate questions. Ok to ask without feeling guilty.”

“Very authentic speakers; not judgmental; open to any questions. Excellent job!”

“Well done! Thank you for a great learning experience.”

100% of the participants from this training rated both the presentation and our facilitators “excellent.

Health and Wellness For The LGBTQ+ Client

TIME: 2-3 hours

LGBTQ+ clients often face significant barriers to health care. Due to distrust and fear and/or past negative healthcare experiences, LGBTQ+ clients are at a higher risk for delaying seeking medical care and not being open about their identities and/or behaviors with medical professionals. This interactive program offers real life LGBTQ+ health-related scenarios, statistics from recent LGBTQ+ health care studies, tips for being respectful in our language and best practices for creating welcoming and inclusive spaces.

Feedback From Meeting the Health Needs of LGBTQ+ Clients Training (September 2018)

“Very open, engaging, interactive – great safe environment with lots of interesting and helpful information.”

“Relaxed presentation, made it a comfortable space, comfortable to ask questions. Thanks so much for coming! Very enjoyable presentation!”

“Very open, warm, welcoming. It was fantastic.”

“I learned how to better communicate with all of my patients to make sure everyone feels accepted. It was great!”

“Very powerful and helpful. Great presentation!”

“It was awesome. I wish I had seen this presentation when I was young. When I came out I still had never met another lesbian.”

100% of the participants from this training rated both the presentation and our facilitator “very good” to “excellent.

Time: 1-3 hours

Due to systematic heterosexism/cissexism, on-going societal discrimination and legal inequalities the LGBTQ+ client brings a unique set of challenges to the therapeutic relationship. Fear and distrust of the mental health community, which previously viewed LGBTQ+ people as mentally ill, continues to create an environment where LGBTQ+ clients are more likely to delay seeking care and are less likely to trust in the process. This interactive presentation will offer participants statistics on depression and suicide rates in the LGBTQ+ community, tips for being respectful in our language and best-practices for creating welcoming and inclusive spaces. This training can also be tailored to include information on drug and alcohol addictions and intimate partner violence within the LGBTQ+ communities.

Feedback from Meeting the Mental Health Needs of LGBTQ+ Clients in Rochester (August 2018)

“Very helpful. The presenter was enthusiastic, welcoming, knowledgeable, kind, funny and engaging.”

“I learned how to support LGBTQ+ students in a school setting by validating, listening and being an advocate person for them. You are a great presenter and you are so knowledgeable!”

“Genuineness, wealth of knowledge. Did an excellent job!”

“I honestly could not think of a better way to present.”

“Kept me captivated the entire time. It was great! Thank you!”

“He was awesome! Great presenter and very knowledgeable.”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the training and our facilitator “excellent.”

Creating SafeZones

The LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance offers our SafeZone programming nationally in over 25 states. Our SafeZone Training and our SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Certification Program were created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are safe, welcoming and inclusive for individuals who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, plus so much more!), as well as for straight, cisgender people who care about diversity, equality and inclusion.

What is a SafeZone?

A safe zone or a safe space is a confidential place where all people can bring their authentic selves and feel safe, welcome and included. It may be a classroom, a car or an entire agency. Creating safe zones or safe spaces is a proactive step that schools, agencies and corporations can take to create welcoming, inclusive spaces so that all people are empowered to reach their full potential. The LGBTQ Academy SafeZone programs aim to increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills for individuals and address the challenges that exist when one wants to advocate for their LGBTQ+ peers, family members, friends, coworkers and for themselves.

In Our Schools:

For LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff the school environment can pose numerous threats and obstacles. Hateful language, physical and emotional harassment and the threat of physical violence are a reality for many LGBTQ+ people. Even in more supportive environments the resounding silence on all things LGBTQ+ is a painful message in itself. Below are some recent statistics on LGBTQ+ youth and the school environment.

  • LGBTQ+ students were more than twice as likely to have skipped school in the past month because of safety concerns. And in 2015, students were less likely to report that school staff intervened in homophobic and sexist remarks than in 2005. – 2016 GLSEN’s Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited
  • “The majority of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender while in school (K–12) experienced some form of mistreatment, including being verbally harassed (54%), physically attacked (24%), and sexually assaulted (13%) because they were transgender. Further, 17% experienced such severe mistreatment that they left a school as a result.” – 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s Transgender Survey Report.
  • 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ – 2012 Williams Institute’s Serving Our Youth
  • 40% of transgender people had attempted suicide compared to 4.6% of the general population – 2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s Transgender Survey Report

In Our Workplaces

While progress is slowly being made to create more welcoming and inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ+ employees, there is still much to be done.  Below are some eye-opening statistics.

  • 15% of transgender employees report being verbally harassed, physically attacked and/or sexually assaulted at work within the last year because of their gender identity or expression. (2015 National Center for Transgender Equality’s US Transgender Survey Report)
  • 46% of LGBTQ+ employees hide who they are at work. (2018 Human Rights Campaign’s A Workplace Divided)
  • 20% of LGBTQ+ employees report looking for another job specifically because their workplace environment isn’t accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals. (2014 Human Rights Campaign’s The Cost of the Closet)
  • 50% of non-LGBTQ+ workers don’t think that there are any LGBTQ+ people at their workplace. (2018 Human Rights Campaign’s A Workplace Divided)

For many LGBTQ+ individuals energy that could be spent on working and creating healthy relationships with coworkers is instead spent on maintaining barriers, avoiding social events and learning how to keep secrets about their home lives and families.

About our SafeZone Training

The LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance offers a SafeZone Training that can be customized to meet the needs of any organization. Our SafeZone Training is a 2-4 hour workshop, which can be presented in one or two sessions. This program is a dynamic, interactive session that includes activities and discussion around: inclusive and respectful language, the process of coming out, understanding sexual and gender identity, taking action on our campuses and in our workplaces, where to go for help and much more. This session will give participants the skills they need to provide support and to create environments that are safe, welcoming and inclusive. At the end of the class, participants are offered an Out Alliance SafeZone sticker and SafeZone lapel pin so that they can create their own SafeZone.

Feedback from our SafeZone Training Program (September 2018)

“Wonderful presentation! Presenters were extremely interactive, open and knowledgeable!”

“Conversational, authentic, open. Loved!!”

“The openness and enthusiasm of the presenters. It was very interactive, which made it much more engaging.”

“Honestly everything was fabulous! The strengths were the openness, honesty and how in depth everything was covered. Very inclusive.”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated our training and our facilitators “excellent.”

The LGBTQ Academy SafeZone Train-the-Trainer Certification Program is a program created to develop confident, knowledgeable and effective SafeZone trainers, who can establish sustainable SafeZone Programs in their schools, on their college campuses and in their workplaces.

The SafeZone Train-the-Trainer Certification Program is an interactive 8 hour course, which includes activities, small group discussions and opportunities for practicing skills as educators. Topics covered include:

  • Educational Philosophy
  • Suggested Exercises for Increasing Knowledge
  • Suggested Exercises for Taking Action
  • Encouraging Dialogue and Understanding Your Audience
  • Answering Questions Effectively
  • Behind-The-Scenes Tips for Successful Facilitation
  • Suggestions for Continuing Education
  • Creating Sustainable SafeZone
  • Programs on Campus and in the Workplace

This workshop can be run as a one day 8 hour session or two half day sessions. During this course, participants will be coached in running SafeZone trainings and offered opportunities to ask and answer questions in a supportive environment using the teaching skills that they acquire. Each participant will receive a SafeZone Training manual that will provide a complete course guide for running SafeZone Trainings, a review of material from the course, best practices for successful facilitation, suggested reading to extend knowledge, handouts to use in future SafeZone Trainings, a certificate of course completion and an official SafeZone sticker and lapel pin. On-going support will be provided to all participants for up to 3 years following the presentation to offer assistance and access to all of our updated materials. In addition if we come to your campus or workplace, we will provide you with feedback on your website presence with our website “report card” and strategize ways to create more LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces.

Feedback From Our Most Recent SafeZone Train-the-Trainer Certification Programs

Out Alliance – New York (September 2018)

“I felt that this has been the best training I’ve attended in years…Thank you – my respect and gratitude has just squared itself for O.A. (Out Alliance) and their people who work here.”

“An excellent continuation of my ongoing education – not only around LGBTQ+ issues, but issues of social justice, intersectionality and the important work to yet be done. Thank you! This was informative and eye opening.”

“I can’t think of anything that could improve this – what a great 2 days… I think both presenters have a great knowledge of both content and facilitation skills/tips, which has given me the confidence I need to facilitate. Thank you so much. You both are so amazing, helpful and inspiring!”

Monmouth University – New Jersey (June 2018)

“Amazing! I learned so much in just 2 days. Thank you so much for all your great tips.”

“Honestly, I don’t know how the training could improve. I loved it! Your passion was infectious and I think I will be a much stronger ally because of this.”

“Quite wonderful. The facilitators were fantastic! Clear, thorough and very effective.”

Harper College – Illinois (May 2018)

“Valuable, enlightening, encouraging…open, honest, clear, concise. This was one of the best training programs I’ve been to.”

“So glad I was asked to be a part of this experience. Great information, great experience. The only thing that could have improved this is if it had been a week long.”

“It was very empowering and always engaging. Honestly, I would be reaching to find a flaw. I look forward to sharing all of this with my coworkers and my children.”

99% of the participants from these trainings rated both our training and our facilitators “very good” to “excellent.”

Six Month Follow Up Data:

When asked in our 6 month follow up survey, sent to all participants from 2013 to December 2017: “Were there skills or pieces of information that you wish you had received that weren’t included in the training or manual?” 100% responded: “No, I got everything I needed.”

Note: SafeZone Train-the-Trainer participants must be fully on board with LGBTQ+ equality and should have a basic knowledge of LGBTQ+ issues. Participants, once trained, will be prepared to train others in the interest of support for LGBTQ+ individuals, community education and social change. Trainees are not allowed to profit from this curriculum by charging for this service (beyond material expenses). Trainees may not market or sell the Out Alliance Train-the-Trainer manual in part or in full.

The LGBTQ Academy at the Out Alliance encourages all SafeZone Trainers who have participated in one of our SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Certification Programs to re-certify every three years. Language, issues, cultural climate, and participant questions and concerns are constantly changing, as are our manual, our handouts and our recommended videos. In this full day workshop you will experience our newest activities and videos, gain access to our most updated suggested outlines and also problem solve and share tips and strategies for running effective SafeZone Trainings with other trainers.

Workshop fee is $200 and includes our most updated SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Manual, an updated certificate of completion, a SafeZone sticker and lapel pin, as well as breakfast and lunch. As always, you will also receive 3 years of on-going support from the LGBTQ Academy as well as access to all of our updated handouts during that 3 year period.

SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Practice Session (Optional)

While you are in Rochester, NY for your SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Recertification Program, we hope you’ll consider staying an extra day to participate in our optional practice session. This full day session gives you the opportunity to practice a SafeZone activity of your choice in front of a group. You will see others present as well and we will all benefit from the wisdom in the room as we process and offer constructive feedback for each other.

Workshop fee is $100 per person, which includes breakfast and lunch. Space is limited to 10 people to ensure that all participants are allowed an opportunity to model their facilitation skills so don’t wait to register!

Note: If you have hosted a SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Certification Program at your campus or workplace, we can bring these programs to you!
Safezone Sticker OutAlliance

Feedback from our SafeZone Train-The-Trainer Recertification Program (March 2018)

“Inclusive, Informative, inspiring/renewing. Personal, passionate, professional, approachable.”

“Really nothing could have improved this. Well structured. Organized and engaging. Love the materials and handouts!”

“The presenters are warm and knowledgeable – it was a comfortable environment. Great stuff. Thank you.”

“Inspiring, energizing, fun, positive, specific, constructive, diplomatic. It was great! Thank you!!!!”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the training and our facilitators “very good” to “excellent.”

The LGBTQ Academy SpeakOUT training is an interactive, experiential training that focuses on building confidence in our ability to have articulate, knowledgeable and respectful conversations around LGBTQ+ identities and inclusion. A valuable experience for someone new to LGBTQ+ advocacy or for someone who has been active for years. This training is perfect for teachers, counselors, social workers, DASA Coordinators, GSA advisers, parents, and anyone who wants to make a difference! The class is open to everyone and will prepare participants to respectfully and successfully advocate for and address challenges to full LGBTQ+ inclusion.

NOTE: The prerequisite for this training is the LGBTQ Academy’s SafeZone Training. Participants in SpeakOUT classes in Rochester will have the option of completing additional training to become an LGBTQ Academy Speakers Bureau Educator.

What participants from our Spring 2018 SpeakOUT Training had to say:

“I loved this class. I loved the diversity and opportunities for open conversation…I think everyone should take it! Thank you so much!”

“It was incredible. I learned a lot. Don’t change a thing.”

“Thought-provoking and rewarding. Organized, prepared, knowledgeable, personable, friendly! Thank you for a good day.”

“Informative, exploratory, up-lifting. Loved it! Thank you!”

“Therapeutic, eye-opening. Personable, gave very good instruction, info, tips. Great role models. Was perfect!”

100% of the participants from this workshop rated both the workshop and our facilitators “excellent.”

Inclusive Schools and College Campuses

TIME: 2-4 hours

While progress is slowly being made to create more welcoming and inclusive schools and campuses, there is still much to be done. For LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and parents the school environment can pose numerous threats and obstacles. This dynamic, interactive workshop includes information on inclusive language, the current climate in our schools and colleges, understanding sexual and gender identity, creating inclusive classrooms/spaces and responding respectfully and appropriately to questions and concerns from students, co-workers and parents. We will also discuss taking proactive steps to creating inclusive spaces where all students, teachers and staff are empowered to reach their full potential.

Feedback from Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools and Campuses in Rochester (October 2018)

“Was eye-opening and incredibly informative, even as a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself. Wish we had more time!”

“Kept it very relatable and relevant to kids we work with.”

“Engaging presenters”

“All was valuable. Open, non-judgmental environment.”

“I thought they did a great job of answering questions thoroughly, without judging us by what we know or don’t know.”

100% of the participants from this training rated both the presentation and our facilitators “excellent.

Inclusive Workplaces and Agencies

TIME: 2-4 hours

Creating safe and inclusive workplaces and agencies for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, improves the well-being and satisfaction of employees and customers as well. Creating LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces has been shown to increase productivity, workplace satisfaction and employee retention.

Below are some eye-opening statistics from the 2014 Human Rights Campaign’s The Cost of the Closet, a national study examining workplace climate for LGBTQ+ employees.

  • 62% of LGBTQ+ employees report hearing jokes about lesbians and gays in the workplace.
  • 53% of LGBTQ+ employees hide who they are at work.
  • 20% of LGBTQ+ employees report looking for another job specifically because their workplace environment wasn’t accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals.

With equitable and respectful policies and practices, LGBTQ+ people will feel more comfortable requesting services and LGBTQ+ employees will be able to bring their authentic selves to work, ensuring that more time and energy is spent on doing their jobs and creating healthy relationships with coworkers.

In this interactive workshop we will discuss: current climate for LGBTQ+ employees and clients, using respectful and inclusive language, creating inclusive policies, and best practices for inclusion and creating an environment that feels safe and welcoming for everyone.

Feedback from Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplaces and Agencies in Rochester (October 2018)

“The facilitators were phenomenal!! Perfect as is.”

“Very open, welcoming, felt comfy asking questions and sharing.”

“I learned etiquette for correcting yourself when you misgender someone and for figuring out how people want to be addressed.”

“Presenters were great at creating a safe and inclusive environment for discussion. It was great – thanks for doing this!”

“Great presentation and facilitating. It was great… the 2 hours few by. Thank you!”

“Presenters were fantastic – very open and respectful. The willingness to answer questions is so important.”

95% of the participants from this training rated both the presentation and our facilitator “very good” to “excellent”.

Resources and Additional Information

The Out Alliance LGBTQ Academy is active all year long, providing presentations, literature and resources on LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and so much more!) and ally issues throughout the greater Rochester area and beyond. Below are just a few of the handouts we use in our presentations and trainings. Please feel free to download them and display them in your school, office or agency.

If you reformat any of our materials, please provide proper attribution. A simple “Adapted from the Out Alliance” is sufficient. Thank you!

Too often people feel uncomfortable when discussing issues around gender, sexuality and identities. They are often silenced by a fear of saying the wrong thing. The Out Alliance Speakers Bureau is made up of individuals who are trained to use their personal stories as educational tools and to answer questions in an open, positive and respectful way. Our trained Speakers Bureau members identify as lesbian, gay, transgender, non-binary, pansexual, straight, cisgender, genderqueer, bisexual, two-spirit, queer… and bring you a wealth of information in a safe and caring way. The Out Alliance Speakers Bureau is at the core of many of our trainings and presentations.

Here is a Tedx presentation that was given by Out Alliance Speakers Bureau member, Noah Wagoner:

What’s left? our rights | Noah Wagoner | TEDxFlourCity

Although our most popular presentations and trainings are listed here, we invite you to get creative! Let us know your goals and objectives or your ideas for innovative programming and we will work with you to make your training a reality. We can combine components of any or our trainings or panel presentations or create something completely new. Below are some “out of the box” presentations we have offered in the past.

  • A Historic Look at HIV and AIDS In the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Creating Affirming and Welcoming Faith Communities
  • Creating LGBTQ+ Inclusive Summer Camps
  • Inclusive Scouting (For Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops and Parents)
  • Intersecting Identities Panel (Race,
    Religion, Ability and LGBTQ+ Identities)
  • LGBTQ+ History and Culture
  • LGBTQ+ Themed Film or Book Discussions
  • Library SafeZone Trainings
  • Non-Binary Identities Panel
  • Substance Abuse and the LGBTQ+ Client
  • Transgender Legal Issues and Policies
  • Understanding LGBTQ+ Identities
  • Panel for Parents of K-12 Students

Who has benefited from our programs?

View the map on this page to see all of the organizations that have benefitted from our programming. If you are seeking SafeZone programming, transitioning employee consultations, safe and inclusive schools workshops or basic LGBTQ+ education, we have the expertise to help you.

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