Aluminate Spring 2021

June 14, 2021

2020-2021 at the LGBTQ Center

Though we have been working remotely over the last year, we have still been providing vital educational and direct support programs to the Carolina community. Since Fall 2019, we have depended heavily on donor contributions. During that time, we educated 4,407 people through our Safe Zone, LGBTQ 101, and other educational programs and provided community connections for 2,416 social program attendees. We were especially proud to collaborate with student volunteers and leaders to provide new online-only programs.

Learn more about how the LGBTQ Center continued its work during quarantine in this Student Affairs Carolina People Series feature of our Director, Dr. Terri Phoenix, published just ahead of the academic year during Pride Month 2020.

Four images of LGBTQIA+ life on and off campus in a grid with information on Queer FallFest in the center.

Instagram Stories image promoting Queer FallFest.

Queer FallFest

On August 12th, 162 students attended the first all-online Queer FallFest, a drop-in event for LGBTQIA+ and allied students to learn about and get involved with LGBTQIA+ organizations at Carolina. The event is typically organized by the student organization SAGA. This year, the LGBTQ Center provided a platform for incoming and returning students to connect with five LGBTQIA+ focused student organizations and relevant campus resource offices.

Students had the option of browsing relevant organizations and resources to join Zoom rooms for the ones that interest them, or connecting with the LGBTQ Center Ambassadors to help them decide where to start.

Queer MiniCon 2020: Showcasing LGBTQIA+ research and expression in North Carolina to honor National Coming Out Day

Queer MiniCon

During Carolina's ten-day observance of National Coming Out Week from October 6th to 16th, we partnered with Sexuality Studies and Honors Carolina Pride to host Queer MiniCon: two days featuring seventeen presentations chosen by representatives from sponsoring departments on LGBTQIA+ affirming research, lived experiences, passion projects, and creative expression.

In them, UNC System students, faculty, staff, and postdocs "queered" (deconstructed or questioned assumptions around) everything from social network mapping technologies, in Katelyn Campbell’s “Lesbian Connections: Critical Social Network Mapping and Queer Archival Methods;” to self-perception and dream environments in Sergio Jiminez’s “blue-light-being;” and conventional ideas about masculinity within both dominant and Black culture in Antonia Randolph’s keynote “Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture.”

QMC was first proposed by the LGBTQ Center Ambassadors, then developed and coordinated by Dr. April Callis and Mx. Mariel Eaves with support from our partners Jason Clemmons of Honors Carolina and Jacob Lau of the Program in Sexuality Studies. We were proud to attract eighty attendees to this new virtual event at a time when Zoom fatigue was beginning to set in for many of us!

Pride and Awareness Days

This year, we engaged student input for each observance and translated our typical awareness-raising in The Pit into informational social media campaigns designed by our student workers. Students also took the lead in planning and hosting educational and social events for each observance, as requested through input polls that went out in News and Notes.

Illustrated Bisexual Pride flag on flagpole over purple background with white text: "Bisexual Pride and Awareness at Carolina."
Promotional Post for the UNC LGBTQ Center's Asexuality and Aromantic Pride/Awareness event, designed by Max Carter. It reads "Ace and Aro Pride at Carolina. Tuesday, October 27th, 2020" The asexual and aromantic pride flags and circles with the flag colors surround the text.
Gray square with images of books decorated in the Progress Pride Flag with text: National Coming Out Day Common Read - The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
Promotional Post for the UNC LGBTQ Center's Intersex Day of Solidarity at Carolina event, designed by Rowan Merritt. It reads "Intersex Day of Solidarity at Carolina." in the colors of the intersex flag: yellow and purple. In the bottom right corner is the intersex flag, a purple circle on a yellow background.
Graphic designed by Katie Marroquin: light beige colored background. Hot pink, yellow, and blue colored blocks resembling the pansexual flag are along the top left, and the bottom right. Picture of a brown hand waving a pansexual flag in top right corner. Text Description: Pansexual Pride and Awareness at Carolina. A Deeper Dive into Pansexual Identity on Tuesday, February ninth at six PM until seven PM. Virtual Pan Pires game night on Wednesday, February tenth at eight PM until nine thirty PM.
Trans Day of Visibility social event promo designed by Max Carter.
Graphic designed by Rowan Merritt: black background with yellow and purple colored hexes resembling a honeycomb is in the bottom right corner. There is a yellow bee next to the hexes. Text Description: Nonbinary Pride and Visibility at Carolina: Tuesday 3/9 and Wednesday 3/10
Lesbian Pride and Awareness promo designed by Katie Marroquin: slanted horizontal lines in order of dark orange, orange, white, pink and dark pink (lesbian pride flag colors) in the background. A white text box is in the center. Text Description: Lesbian Pride and Awareness at Carolina; Jackbox Hangout on Monday, April 26th at 7-8:30pm. Lesbian: A Deeper Dive on Tuesday, April 27th at 7-8pm.
Promotional banner for the UNC LGBTQ Center's Transgender Day of Remembrance observation: out of focuse vigil candles overlayed by transparent stripes of the Transgender Pride Flag and white text.
Pride Week at Carolina Logo with image of UNC-Chapel Hill belltower backdropped by a purple evening sky.
Pride Week at Carolina Logo

Pride Week

Pride Week is a partnership between the LGBTQ Center, student organizations, University departments, and community organizations to host events that center themes of history, inclusion, intersectionality, expression, and advocacy within Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) communities.

In its third year, Pride Week at Carolina, held April 6th - 13th, boasted over twenty events from sixteen collaborating student organizations and campus units. All events were hosted online and accessible through a new website that also featured video messages to students from campus leaders and alums; themed Zoom backgrounds; and a list of games suggested by the LGBTQ Center Ambassadors.

Image designed by Rowan Merrit: A messy Carolina blue desk with a laptop in the top right corner. The laptop has a transgender pride flag sticker and a sticker that says pride in rainbow letters. There is a rainbow button in the bottom right corner and a nonbinary button in the top left. There is a coffee cup in the bottom left corner. Text Description: LGBTQ Ambassador Drop-in Hours.
Queer Quizzes Qwith QTPOC in orange text over rainbow background with BIPOC Power fist surrounded by rainbow border and Pride Week at Carolina logo.
"Poetry, Prose, and Pride" poster for Pride Week open mic event hosted by Honors Carolina Pride and the UNC Creative Writing Program
"Button Making with Pride" poster for Pride Week event hosted by Pride Place and BEAM Makerspace
"Formal and Informal Opportunities" poster for professional development talk featuring Dr. Alan Kendrick, hosted by STEM Pride of the Triangle
"Queer Prom" poster for Pride Week's flagship event, hosted by UNC SAGA, UNC QTPOC, and the LGBTQ Center
"Poetry, Prose, and Pride" poster for Pride Week open mic event hosted by Honors Carolina Pride and the UNC Creative Writing Program
Contents of Pride Week boxes complete with stickers, buttons, flags and a t-shirt.

Pride Week Box contents (Source: Trang Le via Carolina Connection)

Through a partnership with Student Life and Leadership, we were able to bring the celebration to 100 students locally and across the nation through Pride Week in a Box: a free gift featuring rainbow decorations, educational materials, treats, a build-your-own stuffed purple alicorn kit, and a copy of Legendborn by Tracey Deonn which was selected for the LGBTQ Center's Book Club and SLL's Book Series.

Safe Zone: A Year of Adaptation

We began developing webinar versions of Safe Zone training in Spring 2020 as it became clear that programming would have to be held virtually for an unknown amount of time. At the same time, the rising visibility of anti-Black police violence, anti-Trans interpersonal violence, and direct action protests against both seemed to influence an influx of sponsored training requests: we received over 75 requests between June 2020 and June 2021.


People attended a foundational Safe Zone training


Attendees who were eligible to join the Safe Zone Allyship Network


Attendees who joined the Safe Zone Allyship Network by completing the Allyship Commitment pledge and became official Safe Zone Trainees


Safe Zone Trainees who attended Continuing Education training sessions


2021 LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards

The LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards recognize staff, faculty, and postdoctoral contributions, graduate and professional student contributions, and undergraduate contributions or advocacy on behalf of the LGBTIQA+ communities at Carolina.

This year's Advocacy Awards Committee is pleased to announce the following recipients:

Dr. Sharon P. Holland

2021 Advocacy Award Winner

Faculty, Staff, and Postdoc Award

Dr. L.B. Klein

2021 Advocacy Award Winner​

Graduate and Professional Student Award

Brady Hanshaw

2021 Advocacy Award Winner​

Undergraduate Student Award


Lavender Graduation Ceremony

The 2021 celebration of graduating LGBTIQA+ students, Sexuality Studies minors, and their allies took place on Sunday, May 9th at 4:00 PM via Zoom. Many thanks to 2021 co-sponsors The Program in Sexuality Studies, The Provost’s Committee on LGBTQ Life, and Student Life and Leadership for their support.

K. Tajhi Claybren

Keynote Speaker

K. Tajhi Claybren (UNC 2014) brought messages of radical self-care and lessons from their career.

K. Tajhi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the field of community health-supporting youth and young adults (ages 12-24); black, indigenous, and communities of color; transgender and non-binary communities; LBGQ communities, and people living with HIV. They are committed to supporting the healing (individual and collective), self-actualization, and liberation of TNB/LGBQ communities of color at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. While at Carolina, she was a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, a program assistant for the LGBTQ Center, and the student leader of the Gender Nonspecific Housing Coalition from 2011 to 2013. K. Tajhi earned their Master of Social Work and Social Work Administration from the University of Chicago and is now part of the Integrative Empowerment Group (IEG) therapy collective in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Undergraduate Honorees

  • Dejah Ball
  • Daniel Bowen
  • Darian Buck
  • Bailey Fattorusso
  • Hannah Gahagan
  • Brett Harris
  • Cadan Holden
  • Emma Holt
  • Alexander Lin
  • Katie Marroquin
  • Marceline Martineau
  • Kieran Patel
  • Morgan Pestyk
  • Kaidyn Radford
  • Ruchi Sarkar
  • Alexandra Simpson
  • Ava Smith
  • Faith Virago

Graduate and Professional Honorees

  • Liam Canty
  • Stephanie Chak
  • Meg DeMarco
  • Jess Epsten
  • Adam Hunter
  • L.B. Klein
  • Ran Levinsky
  • Morgan Maccherone
  • Aoife O'Connor
  • Kimberly Jean Phillips-Weiner
  • Alex Ramirez
  • Gavin Shelton
  • Emily Simmons
  • Eve Stoffel
  • Jenna Wine

Staff Transitions

For the last three years, the Center has been fortunate to have a consistent staff of three undergraduate program assistants and Trans Talk Tuesday Facilitator Anole Halper, MSW, MPH collaborating with three professional staff (Dr. Terri Phoenix, Dr. April Callis, and Mx. Mariel Eaves).

Jay Jayaraman posing with a large hollowed-out tree trunk

Jay Jayaraman

Jay Jayaraman

This year brought Jay Jayaraman (she/they), a first-year Master of Social Work student, as the new Graduate and Professional Student Programs Coordinator. Jay took on joining the Center during the COVID-19 pandemic and organizing all-remote programming with adaptability and attention to student requests.

In addition to coordinating social events for graduate and professional students and monthly LGBTQIA+ Speaker events, Jay notably collaborated with the School of Social Work Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to provide a tailored Safe Zone training for staff of local refugee assistance organizations.

Unfortunately, we are also saying goodbye to two staff members who have worked diligently to bring innovative and affirming programs to the Carolina community:

Dr. April S. Callis, a white woman with long curly red hair, smiling and wearing a gray Miami University pullover.

Dr. April S. Callis

Dr. April S. Callis

Dr. April S. Callis, who served as Assistant Director for four years, recently accepted the position of Associate Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Miami University in Ohio. Her last day at Carolina was May 10th, 2021. April was diligent in seeking and operationalizing student input in programming and in educational content that reached audiences across campus

and the nation.

April coordinated the Safe Zone program - training and mentoring volunteer facilitators; developing new Continuing Education offerings in Bisexual and Queer identities; and managing the transition to providing accessible online training for campus and community audiences. Further, she worked with colleges and organizations across the United States to create their own versions of Safe Zone programs.

April also served as liaison and mentor to the LGBTQ Center Ambassadors - a

group of undergraduate students who help plan and host Center events. With their input, feedback, and assistance April worked closely with Mariel during the past year to develop three new programs that provided much-needed platforms for connecting to resources, exchanging ideas, and cultivating a sense of community for Carolina students, faculty, and staff: the first all-virtual Queer FallFest, the first-ever Queer MiniCon, and an online adaptation of Pride Week. Through all of these contributions, April built coalitions with departments across campus to ensure students felt valued and understood, especially in the absence of access to spaces like the LGBTQ Center.

During her last week, students met in person for the first time in over a year to thank April for her work and commitment to centering student voices in programming.

Katie Marroquin

Katie served as a program assistant at the LGBTQ Center for four years. She is a diligent and thoughtful worker who was always willing to assist others. Katie earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies, with a minor in Social and Economic Justice.

During Lavender Graduation, she used her portion of the ceremony to say: “I want to thank the LGBTQ Center for creating such a welcoming and accepting environment over the last four years. Specifically: Terri, April, Mariel, Rowan, and Max.”

Supporting the Center

We would like to thank the 76 donors who gave $5,998 during Give UNC 2021. The work of the LGBTQ Center to create a safe and inclusive campus environment would not be possible without your generosity and support. If you would like to support the Center's efforts to ensure that all people at UNC-Chapel Hill are treated equitably, please take this opportunity to learn more about our impact and to make a gift of any size.


Stay Informed and Keep in Touch

Semi-Annual Alum Magazine

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Quarterly Alum Newsletter

Get updates on LGBTQ life at Carolina, plus invitations to our annual Homecoming, Graduation, and alum appreciation events.

Alum Recognition and Directory

Share your post-graduation plans or update us on milestones in your life! With your consent, we will use this information to highlight the achievements of LGBTIQA+ graduates and to compile a resource directory for current Carolina students.

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