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11/12/2015 04:07 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2016

Starbucks Turns 97 Seattle Locations Into LGBT Safe Spaces

2,000 employees will be trained on how to help LGBT victims of violence.
Matthew Horwood / Alamy

Starbucks is taking steps to ensure that all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have a safe space in their many stores across Seattle, Washington.

According to The Seattle Times, the coffee company will partner with the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) Safe Place program, an initiative that reportedly aims to train 2,000 Starbucks employees on how to respond to and engage with LGBT victims of violence and effectively report hate crimes to police.

"We don’t have roving bands of people assaulting LBGTQ people as we did in the '80s,” openly gay Seattle police officer Jim Ritter said. "[But] the crimes are predatory, they’re picking somebody out of the herd. They’re cowards for the most part… They’re opportunistic, they do their damage and leave. They like operating in the shadows and Safe Place eliminates a lot of those shadows.”

Starbucks has a history of support for and solidarity with the LGBT community. Not only did the organization raise a Pride flag over its Seattle headquarters in 2014, but the company's CEO famously told an anti-gay shareholder that he was free to "sell [his] shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company" if he had a problem with the company's pro-gay values. The company also released its first LGBT commercial in 2014 featuring drag queens Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano.

Thanks for the support, Starbucks!

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