“LGBT Safe” initiative begins in Columbus to fight discrimination

(WISH Photo/Laura Kennedy)

COLUMBUS, In. — One central Indiana community wants to make sure everyone feels welcome with a new “LGBT Safe” initiative.

Two years ago, the Pride Alliance heard from members of the LGBT community that they did not feel welcome in Columbus and the initial planning for the Safe initiative began.

And last week businesses there began signing up to pledge to be a safe space free from discrimination.

When students Neev Kadakia and Vedant Kar walked into the Yes Cinema movie theater, they noticed a new sign on the door.

“I thought it was a really great idea and it involved a lot of new thinking,” Kadakia said.

This new “LGBT Safe” sticker is Yes Cinema’s pledge to be a welcoming business for everybody.

“We just think that it would be wrong to discriminate against any group or any individual,” Executive Director Randy Allman said.

Allman said he’s happy to be one of the first to sign the safe pledge, a program created by the Pride Alliance of Columbus.

“Safe is very simple, it stands for safe and friendly environment,” President of Pride Alliance of Columbus Jill Tasker said.

So far 33 businesses have joined the Safe movement and have begun displaying the stickers.

She is hoping that visibility helps share the movement in Columbus.

“We’re hoping that as more people see the stickers in the windows that they say ‘Oh I’d like to have that for my business,'” Tasker said.

She said there haven’t been any businesses or organizations that have declined to join the initiative to her knowledge.

She said so far all the feedback from the community has been positive.

“It shows that the businesses are more accepting and they’re willing to advance into the newer generation,” Kar said.

“You know it’s 2015. It’s time to embrace different personalities and so forth even if they’re different than yours,” Allman said.

While Columbus is not organizing the Safe initiative, there is an ordinance change being proposed by the city’s human rights commission.

That would add LGBT and elderly protections to the city’s existing non-discrimination ordinance.

The commission will present it to the mayor this summer.

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