Skip to content

Member News

The Arc of Monroe Now Offering “Supporting Safe Spaces,” a Free Workshop to Support People in the LGBTQ+ Community with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

September 27, 2022

ROCHESTER, NY – Supporting Safe Spaces, a free workshop geared towards Direct Support Professionals, managers, family members, and others who are supporting people in the LGBTQ+ community with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is now being offered by The Arc of Monroe.


“Coming out is an isolating feeling,” said Supporting Safe Spaces Trainer Brian Potvin. “When you are in the closet, it can be very lonely. It’s isolating for people with IDD already, and they might not be connected to people in the LGBTQ+ community.”


Potvin is an advocacy champion at The Arc of Monroe, as well as Coordinator of Person-Centered Approaches. He has worked in the IDD field for over a decade in a variety of support roles, and in 2018, he helped launch the Rochester chapter of PrideAbility, a group that is geared towards advocacy and support for the LGBTQ+ population with IDD. In 2019, he became a certified LGBTQ+ Safe Zone trainer through the Safe Zone Initiative and later developed the Supporting Safe Spaces program for The Arc of Monroe.


The goal of the Supporting Safe Spaces program is to provide the necessary information, training tips and resources in organizations that support people with IDD. This program also offers continuous support in how to have these conversations at your organization, and how to create effective support groups that can meet the unique needs of this population. A Train-the-Trainer program is also available with a goal to provide the necessary information, training tips, resources, and support to hold your own Supporting Safe Spaces workshops at your organization.


“These are tools that are going to help you provide safe spaces for the people you support, but they are also tools that help you provide safe spaces in your workplace so that your organization can be a more welcoming and inclusive workplace,” said Potvin.


The first hour and 15 minutes of the program is for this broad audience, giving necessary information, training tips, and resources to support the organization. After a 15-minute break, the 2.5-hour Train the Trainer program builds on information from the first hour and is geared towards leaders and others who intend on sharing this information.


“I am excited to continue equipping others with the tools to support those with IDD,” said Potvin. “I have delivered this training to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the NY Alliance, and Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation and received positive feedback. The Arc of Monroe is a leader in this space, and we are anxious to share our knowledge with other organizations supporting people with IDD.”


The opportunity to deliver this workshop across Western New York is generously funded through a grant from The New York Health Foundation.


“The Arc of Monroe is committed to ensuring LGBTQ+ individuals with disabilities have every opportunity to be empowered to live successful, impactful lives,” said Arc Foundation of Monroe Executive Director Tracy Crosby. “The New York Health Foundation understands that desire and is a truly supportive partner when it comes to helping us deliver this important training. We are so grateful.”


For more information on the program, visit

About The Arc of Monroe

The Arc of Monroe has been working passionately for over 65 years to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc shines a light on abilities of the people it supports – over 1,400 people in 40 locations throughout Monroe County. The Arc works to empower the people in its programs, providing them with meaningful social development, supported employment, residential community living and enrichment opportunities. Learn more at


Scroll To Top