Schools around the country are participating in the National Day of Silence today, symbolizing the silencing of LQTBQIA+ students, and Orange Coast College’s Student Equity program continues to hold events for faculty awareness and student support for the same community.
OCC’s student equity LGTBQ+ program held its first spring semester SafeZone Ally Training in February.
“The purpose is to inform them about some of the current issues that students are experiencing not just on campus or off campus,” said Diana Aguilar, Student Success & Equity professional expert.
SafeZone Ally Training at OCC is a course created to provide understanding and knowledge on how to support the LGTBQIA+ community, for students, faculty and staff. The course touches on subjects such as the differences between sexuality and gender as well as the proper use of pronouns.
The SafeZone Ally Directory webpage contains the contact information of faculty and staff supporters who’ve been certified through the training.
“That's why we wanted to offer that support for staff and faculty because at the end of the day, most of our students are spending a lot of time in the classroom,” Aguilar said.
The next SafeZone Ally Training is for students, and will take place on April 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration and contact information for the training is located on OCC’s LGTBQIA+ webpage.
The Student Equity Program also began holding mental health and self-care workshops this semester in collaboration with the Student Health Care Center.
The purpose of these events is to discuss the importance of self care while offering mental support for attendees. The next workshop has not been scheduled, but updates can be found on the Student Equity Program’s Instagram page.
“We wanted to present what else exists outside of OCC,” Aguilar said.
Christopher Chanes-Mets is a mental health professional at OCC who hosts at the workshops, and created the list of various LGBTQIA+ support programs in the area for students. These resources are located in either OC or surrounding counties.
“I put together all the stuff I knew and learned over several years of being in mental health,” Chanes-Mets said.
The programs are listed under “Community Resources” on OCC’s LGTBQIA+ Resources webpage for those interested in viewing.