Positive Space is an initiative of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services office that will enable staff and faculty to identify a positive space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two spirit and questioning students, staff, faculty, alumni and allies on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.
There is still widespread fear in speaking out about sexual or gender diversity; this fear is in stark contrast to the routine and casual discussion about the sexual and emotional bonds of heterosexual people. GLBT people grow up and work in environments rife with a consistent message that same-sex attraction and love or gender variance is repugnant, immoral and spiritually bankrupt. Stereotypical and rigid male and female gender roles inhibit the freedoms and rights of those individuals whose sexual or gender identity is outside those stringently defined roles. GLBT students, staff and faculty are routinely surrounded by the silence of others, within their own “family” and without – a silence born of ignorance and bigotry leading to fear and shame.
Positive Space at Indiana University Bloomington attempts to eliminate the patterns of silence that continue to marginalize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, staff and faculty by making available a Positive Space sticker or poster to post on your office door, backpack, window, etc.
If you don’t see a Positive Space sticker in a department, room or office, please don’t assume that the occupants have negative views regarding sexual or gender diversity. Some may not have heard of Positive Space, or may not have control over what goes on their door. Or they simply may not be in the habit of putting up stickers.
Whether you are straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning or transgender, putting a Positive Space sticker on the door of your office, on your computer, notebook, bulletin board, residence room, web space or apartment means that you are supportive of an environment that welcomes and encourages sexual or gender diversity. Having the sticker states the individual(s) are ready to respond with acceptance to those who are marginalized because of a sexual orientation or gender identity different from the majority. Posting a sticker also declares the owner of the sticker is prepared to challenge discriminatory language or actions and stereotypical talk, even if said in jest. They may not have all the answers, but they will be as helpful as they can, and will refer you to appropriate offices and services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Interested in displaying a Positive Space sticker or poster? Contact us and we will send you more information and resources.
There are many questions about Positive Space…here are a few commonly asked questions with the answers. We are happy to talk with you and support your efforts. Please contact us at the GLBT Student Support Services Office.
Why single out sexual and gender issues among other ‘equity’ issues?
While we agree there are a variety of equity issues deserving of public discussion and action, we are also aware there is still much harassment and/or discrimination based on sexual orientation and or gender identity. GLBTQ students grow up in an environment generally hostile to GLBT individuals and as a result they expect discrimination if not outright hostility from their peers and authority figures. The Positive Space initiative provides a counter-response to such a hostile message; one of acceptance.
If I post a sticker on my door, does that mean I should be ready to offer counseling or advice?
Posting a sticker means that you are supportive in a general way but not expected to provide “expert” advice or counseling. It does mean you’re willing to provide resources for the GLBT student, staff, faculty or ally. If you find yourself in discussion with someone who seems to need counseling, please don’t hesitate to suggest that they <a href=”http://iub.edu/~glbt/health-and-wellness/Health & Wellness Professionals help. You, of course can offer whatever suggestions you feel qualified to offer, but please be assured there are many qualified professionals that can be of assistance, both on or off the IUB campus. The most valuable assistance you can give is one of acceptance; you’re not presumed to be a counselor or therapist, or an “expert” in glbtq issues.
Will a sticker on my door encourage people to assume I’m lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?
One of the goals of this initiative is to make that question irrelevant. Straight people are being encouraged to be involved in sexual or gender diversity issues, and they are doing so in greater and more visible numbers. Some people still assume that those who talk supportively of sexual or gender diversity may be themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender but Positive Space asks why such labels cause such discomfort among so many people. The thought of being considered “different” in some way is still a big deal for many, evoking unease and fear. One of The Positive Space Initiative’s goals is to challenge that outlook.
How can I be a part of Positive Space?
You can help by learning about Positive Space and putting up a sticker or a poster to show your acceptance of sexual and gender diversity. For more information and/or stickers please contact the GLBT Student Services Office at (812) 855-4252, on the website at http://www.iub.edu/~glbt or with an e-mail to email@example.com.