LGBT safe space training challenges intolerance

By Joshua Patton

LGBT safe space training challenges intolerance photo 3.JPG
Students and faculty look on as Associate Professor of Social Work Brent Satterly details the “Alphabet Soup of Queerness,” which shows the different orientations of LGBTs, during “LGBT Youth and Suicide,” a workshop held on Marple campus Sept. 22. Photo by Joshua Patton

To showcase the struggles of the LGBT community in our society, DCCC’s Marple campus hosted “LGBT Youth and Suicide,” Sept. 22, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:35 p.m., in Room 4331 of the Academic building.

Brent Satterly, Ph.D., an associate professor of social work at Widener University, presented before a classroom of 30 people, using a slideshow.

“I think the presentation went great,” Satterly said. “It was a great group, and got a great response.”

Attendees learned the different challenges of not only the LGBT community, but of any social group that faces intolerance.

“Anyone who tells you that diversity education is easy has never done it right,” Satterly said. “Diversity education is hard” because of the personal, complex, and sensitive nature of the issue.

The seminar was part of the DCCC’s “Safe Space Ally” training program for faculty and students, in conjunction with September National Suicide Prevention Month.

By attending three of these sessions, the nationwide program allows college students and faculty to receive a sticker in recognition of being an LGBT ally.

To open the presentation, Satterly described the different facets of gender, identity, and orientation, including the origins of the term “homosexuality.”

Next, Satterly explained that LGB youth were five times more likely to attempt and commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August of 2016.

“Of all adolescent suicides, a third of them are LGBT youth,” Satterly said. “If that doesn’t set alarm bells off folks, you’re not listening.”

Satterly gave more statistics, including, 83 percent of trans youth have had thoughts of suicide, and over half have attempted it.

Later, Satterly detailed the story of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student, who was filmed by a classmate via webcam having sexual relations with another man, and subsequently committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge.

The story of Clementi was only one account of LGBT youth struggles, Satterly emphasized.

Kathy Schank, an assistant professor of business, computing, and social science at DCCC, recounted an event that happened to one of her students years ago, when a trans-woman was escorted out of the school campus by security.

“One of my students was actually arrested,” Schank said. “She was arrested because she had to go to the bathroom, and didn’t look like a typical woman.”

Afterwards, Satterly described levels of response to the LGBT community, such as rejecting, acceptance, and advocacy.

The lecture concluded with what can be done to help advocate and raise awareness of the LGBT community with organizations such as The Trevor Project, an organization that offers support to LGBT youth that are considering suicide.

Satterly remained to answer any questions that participants had.

“It was amazing,” said Meghan Trill, 19, a nursing major. “I hope [Satterly] brings awareness to the LGBT struggle. A lot of older people don’t really get it.”

Contact Joshua Patton at

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