Persad Center

Strengthening the Region’s LGBTQ Communities and Their Allies

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Strengthening the Region’s LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS-impacted Communities

Community Safe Zone

PERSAD CENTER's Community Safe Zone program fosters cooperation with regional allies across western Pennsylvania to resolve conflicts, create safe communities, and provide support and counseling to victims of hate crimes and discrimination.

For too long the LGBTQ population has been made to feel set apart and different from their own communities. In western Pennsylvania — with its landscape of small towns and tight-knit neighborhoods — the isolation and invisibility is especially acute. A lack of understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people has resulted in various forms of discrimination.

But western Pennsylvania is changing. People are starting to recognize that LGBTQ individuals living and working within our state – children, parents, co-workers, preachers, teachers and friends – are equal citizens who deserve to live a life that's free of hatred and discrimination. 

Without its people, a neighborhood, town or city is just a name on a map. Focusing on Beaver, Butler, Erie, Washington and Westmoreland Counties, Community Safe Zone strengthens our region by welcoming everyone and celebrating the diversity of our neighborhoods and hometowns. 

Why is Community Safe Zone Important?

  • One out of every six hate crimes is LGBTQ related, and 75% of LGBTQ related hate crimes are not reported to police.
  • One third of lesbians and gay men in Pennsylvania report suffering physical violence at the hands of a family member.
  • One in three LGBTQ teens has attempted suicide and LGBTQ youth are three times more likely to commit suicide.
  • 79% of Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ citizens are not covered by a non-discrimination ordinance and therefore can be fired and refused housing.
  • More than 60% of LGBTQ workers are not out at their workplace.
  • 67% of LGBTQ people conceal their sexual orientation when dealing with healthcare professionals.
  • Only 11% of counselors and other human service workers report feeling comfortable or competent to help a LGBTQ person.

Want to help make your community a safe and welcoming place? 

  • Join our membership list here (insert link) and receive Community Safe Zone news and notices of upcoming events.
  • Help broaden knowledge and cultural competence in your company or organization by hosting a PERSAD CENTER diversity training session (insert link) or seminar.
  • Spread the word to your LGBTQ and allied friends, coworkers, and clients about the goals and activities of Community Safe Zone.
  • Support LGBTQ citizens in your community who are experiencing discrimination and harassment by connecting them to PERSAD CENTER'S Community Safe Zone advocates and services.

To learn more about Community Safe Zone contact Ted Hoover at 1-888-873-7723 ext. 359 or