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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

Send us your non-campus email and/or mailing address to receive the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual alum magazine, Aluminate.

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.

Follow Us on Social Media

Lavender Graduation at UNC Chapel Hill

Contribute to a more inclusive UNC

Celebrate Pride Month by supporting the UNC LGBTQ Center today. Though we have been working remotely during the past few months, we have still been providing vital educational and direct support programs to the Carolina community. Your participation today will enable us to continue conducting educational presentations and offering direct support to students, faculty, and staff at Carolina.

In the Fall of 2019, we operated entirely on donor contributions. During that time, we educated 1,554 people through our Safe Zone and LGBTQ 101 trainings and provided community connections for 1,083 people.

Join us as a partner in this work!


Dr. Terri L. Phoenix, Director

Dr. Terri L. Phoenix


2019-2020 at the LGBTQ Center

Pride Week at Carolina 2020 Logo

Pride Week 2020

In its second year, Pride Week at Carolina boasted over 25 events and even more collaborating student organizations and campus units. Though canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year's celebration represented an ever broadening campus commitment to centering, funding, and showing up for LGBTIQA+ campus members and initiatives.

"Button Making with Pride" poster for Pride Week event hosted by Pride Place and BEAM Makerspace
"Queer Prom" poster for Pride Week's flagship event, hosted by UNC SAGA, UNC QTPOC, and the LGBTQ Center
"Formal and Informal Opportunities" poster for professional development talk featuring Dr. Alan Kendrick, hosted by STEM Pride of the Triangle
"Poetry, Prose, and Pride" poster for Pride Week open mic event hosted by Honors Carolina Pride and the UNC Creative Writing Program

2020 Advocacy Award Recipients

These awards recognize contributions to or advocacy on behalf of LGBTIQA+ communities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are pleased to announce the following recipients:

Faculty, Staff, and Postdoc Award

Dr. Brad Figler, MD

Grad and Professional Student Award

Margo Faulk and Noa Nessim

Undergraduate Student Award

Graeme Strickland


Lavender Graduation 2020

Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs brought messages of love, care, freedom, and bravery from the lives of Black LGBTQ ancestors.

Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a self-identified Queer Black Trouble-Maker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist who walks in the legacy of Black lady school teachers in post-slavery communities who offered sacred educational space to the intergenerational newly free. As the first person to do archival research in the papers of Audre Lorde, June Jordan, and Lucille Clifton while achieving her Ph.D. in English, Africana Studies, and Women’s Studies at Duke University, she honors the lives and creative works of Black feminist geniuses as sacred texts for all people. Her work functions as oracle, balm, and sacred space for those who are traditionally excluded from narrative and institutions of knowledge.

Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Congratulations to 2020 Lavender Graduates!

Calissa Andersen, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Public Policy

Kayla Flynn, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Applied Mathematics with a Minor in Hispanic Studies

Sloan Godbey, Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Science with a Minor in Sexuality Studies

Sophia Hutchens, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Anthropology

Morgan Korzik, Bachelor of Science in Biology with Minors in Chemistry and Medical Anthropology

Allison Ruvidich, Bachelor of Arts in Classics and English

Graeme Strickland, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Peace, War, and Defense

Neal Whitefur, Bachelor of Science in Information Science, Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies 

Irene Zellonis, Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Exercise and Sports Science

Erin Case, Master of Public Health

Margo Faulk, Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health

Christiana Lancaster, Master of Public Health

Sam Rasnic, Master of Public Health


Stay in Touch

Send us your non-campus email and/or mailing address to receive the LGBTQ Center's annual alum magazine.

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

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.

Follow Us on Social Media


Pride Week: Collaborating Across Campus

Featured story by Dr. April S. Callis, LGBTQ Center Assistant Director

For the first time in recent memory, a Pride Week celebration was held at UNC-Chapel Hill. Spanning April 8th through 12th, Pride Week included twelve events hosted by eighteen organizations.

At the beginning of the week, the LGBTQ Center invited students to Tie Dye Pride Week T-shirts. LGBTQ Center Ambassador Larson Carter was instrumental in planning the event as well as giving tie dying demonstrations day of. Gabby Brown and Mariel Eaves worked together to create the t-shirt design, which highlighted the collaborating organizations and departments involved in Pride Week. Monday was also the start of an online awareness campaign spearheaded by the student organizations Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) and the Black Student Movement (BMS) which focused on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity.

During the week, a variety of events were held on and off campus. These included a screening of The Imitation Game, Queer Karaoke, a Pride Field Day, an Interfaith Prayer, and Queer Trivia. On Wednesday, the European Studies Department held a mini LGBTQ Film Fest. And on Thursday, April 11th the LGBTQ Center and the Graduate School partnered with the Medical School’s Queer Straight Alliance, Kenan-Flagler’s Pride Club, Lambda Law Students Association, and STEM Pride of the Triangle for a Graduate and Professional Student Mixer.

The culmination of Pride Week was Queer Prom, which was cohosted by the LGBTQ Center and the Sexuality and Gender Alliance. Over 130 students braved a severe storm to dance the night away in a space decorated like an enchanted forest. Attendees also enjoyed a dedicated game room and a custom cake shaped like a unicorn. Thank you to our Graduate Student, Erin Case, and our volunteer Safe Zone facilitators who helped us by volunteering for prom (Edward Moreira Bahnson, Lauren Townsend, Jhom Cimmino).

Pride Week 2019 at UNC-Chapel Hill was a rousing success. In total, there were 465 attendees across the multiple Pride Week events. Planning is already underway for Pride Week 2020!

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • Collaborating Across Campus: Pride Week at Carolina 2019
  • Reaching New Milestones in Safe Zone Programming
  • Cultivating Community among Graduate and Professional Students
  • A New Opportunity: LGBTQ Center Advancement Council
  • Looking Ahead to Fall 2019 Programs and Events
  • Recognizing LGBTIQA+ Achievement at Lavender Graduation
  • Carolina Pride Alum Network Celebrates Two Years of Connection
  • Thank You to Our Partners

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director


The LGBTQ Center staff are excited to embark upon another year of educating for equality, advocating for equity, supporting student growth and success, and working to create community on campus for and with LGBTIQA+ people. There remains much to do to ensure that all LGBTIQA+ people feel safe, seen and valued.

Last year was another busy and successful year for the LGBTQ Center. We provided 70 presentations to over 2,000 people. Our Safe Zone trainings consistently receive high ratings and comments such as “This training was beyond excellent! I learned so much and have a lot to reflect on. Thank you.” and “One of the most comprehensive safe zone trainings I've attended. Thank you!” We also provided 43 social and community building programs attended by over 500 people. In this issue you’ll read more about some of the year’s programs and events.

The LGBTQ Center has been working with the university development office on the creation of an institutionally supported LGBTQ Alumni group. Some of the goals of this group include strengthening the engagement of LGBTQ alumni with their University, enabling advocacy and education on issues important to LGBTQ alumni, and facilitating the creation of local chapters of UNC LGBTQ Alumni. You can join this growing network by visiting and providing your information. I’ll hope to see you at one of the upcoming events.

Terri Phoenix

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • Introducing our New Assistant Director: Dr. April S. Callis
  • Partnering to Expand Services for Graduate and Professional Students
  • Lessons from Within and Without: Leadership Lunch and Learn 2016-2017
  • Remaining Visible: A Year of Awareness
  • Lavender Graduation 2017
  • Alum Spotlight on Dr. Anissa Litwin

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director

In many presentations that I’ve given since the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, someone has asked if heterosexism is still an issue since same sex marriage is now legal. It’s a question indicative of a belief that with same sex marriage now legal there is no need for education about the LGBTQ+ communities or for activism to address issues faced by these communities. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. Legalization of same sex marriage was a huge step forward to be sure, but so much remains to be addressed within the LGBTQ+ community and within society at large.

In this volume, Adrianne Gibilisco has written a piece, entitled “Are We There Yet?” that outlines the many issues still in need of being addressed. She presents statistics on homelessness, suicide, bullying, and employment discrimination that powerfully demonstrate this need. I know these statistics but what spurs me to action most are the stories of people with whom I work daily. These statistics also fail to demonstrate the ways in which people with multiple marginalized identities (e.g., transwomen of color, queer people with disabilities) are impacted by multiple systems of oppression not only in society at large but also within the communities of which they are a part (e.g., the LGBTQ+ community).

We all have a role to play in the undoing of systems of oppression even as we may simultaneously hold identities that carry both the benefits of privilege and the undue weight of marginalization. With respect to the privileged identities held, the solution is not to feel silently guilty for that privilege but rather to utilize that privilege in service to equality.  We can take small but significant concrete actions to disrupt racism, classism, heterosexism, ableism and other systems of oppression and marginalization. For example we can:

  • Challenge the roles and expectations of the gender binary
  • Make room for others by asking and using the correct pronouns
  • Seek racial reconciliation by centering the experiences of people of color
  • Utilize the principles of universal design in the creation of space and programs
  • Honor the wisdom of many beliefs and traditions
  • Speak out against hate, injustice and exclusion in all of its forms.

Consistently taking these kinds of actions can help to create a world that honors the dignity and worth of each and every individual.

On a separate note, it is with best wishes but also sadness that I announce that Adrianne Gibilisco is leaving the LGBTQ Center at the end of November to take the position of Communications Specialist with the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Education. We wish Adrianne all the best in her new position and we will miss her greatly.  [Aw shucks...I’ll miss all of you, too! - Ed.]

Terri Phoenix

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • Are We There Yet?
  • Spring Events in Review
  • Featured Alumna Spotlight: Cheyenne Solorio
  • Staff Transitions
  • Support the Center

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up."

— Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne)

For the past decade, the LGBTQ Center’s mission has been to foster a safe, inclusive environment for UNC-Chapel Hill community members of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. We have sought to accomplish that mission through three main areas of focus: education, advocacy, and direct services. Last year, we celebrated 10 successful years. It seemed like an ideal time to review, assess, dream a little, and -- as Pooh so eloquently noted -- “organize” so that our moving into the future “is not all mixed up.”

Over the course of this past semester, we have been engaged in a strategic planning process to identify goals to guide the LGBTQ Center through the next 10 years. We have engaged in a number of tasks throughout the process by reviewing the following:

  • Findings and recommendations from our 2012 administrative review process (
  • Programs, structure, and services of a number of our peer institutions (
  • The Council for the Advancement of Standards for LGBT Programs and Services (,_Gay,_Bisexual,_Transgender_Programs_and_Services_SAG.pdf)
  • The UNC-Chapel Hill academic plan (REACH Carolina) (
  • The UNC-Chapel Hill Diversity Plan (, and,
  • The Student Affairs Strategic Plan
  • Our program records and assessment data for the past five years.

Currently, we are working to consolidate all of that information in conjunction with envisioning what the future of the LGBTQ Center might look like in the context of current and anticipated needs of UNC-Chapel Hill students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), staff, faculty, and alumni/ae.

As the director, I envision a future where the LGBTQ Center is prominently visible and engaged in a number of capacities:

  • disrupter of heteronormativity and the gender binary
  • advocate for equity in policies, practices, benefits, and opportunities
  • provider of information and resources
  • provider of cultural competency trainings and consultation
  • source of community for the diverse LGBTIQPAA, Two Spirit, and Same Gender Loving communities

Our goal is to complete the strategic planning process before the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year and begin to use that plan to guide program and service planning and delivery. We welcome your input. If you have ideas, comments, or recommendations we encourage you to send those to [email protected].

Terri Phoenix

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • The Growth of Graduate Programs
  • Fall Events in Review
  • Featured Alumna Spotlight: Kelly Johnson Barber-Lester
  • Our Resource Library
  • Our Award-Winning Staff
  • Support the Center

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director

The news that has had everyone’s attention of late is that same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in North Carolina. On October 10th, Judge Max Cogburn, Jr. ruled that the state statutes preventing recognition of same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Late Monday evening on October 13th, Chancellor Folt and Vice Chancellor Washington announced that, as a result of that ruling, UNC-Chapel Hill would begin offering equal benefits to employees with same-sex spouses. Full details about this change are available at: This is a tremendous development for individuals directly affected as well as for the university and its students as a whole. The provision of equal benefits makes UNC-Chapel Hill much more competitive in recruiting and retaining faculty and staff. That, in turn, benefits the students’ experience and the university’s overall rankings among its peers.

When I was hired as the director of the Center, benefits equity was one of five top priorities I defined. As of this
writing, four out of five of those priorities have become a reality (gender non-specific housing has not yet been
implemented). This fact and the recent celebration of the 10th anniversary of the LGBTQ Center are prompting
the creation of the next strategic plan. We know that provision of educational programming (e.g., Safe Zone),
provision of direct services (e.g., peer support and discussion groups, social events), and continued advocacy to
improve campus climate will be among the priorities set. The increased visibility of the LGBTQ Center over the
past five years has positioned me to be at the table for some of UNC-Chapel Hill’s biggest conversations. As an
example, I served on the task force that revamped the sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination policy. Issues
of harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as well as specific concerns of
responding to sexual assault within the LGBTQ communities were kept in the foreground throughout the entire
crafting of that policy.

The university is making progress and the LGBTQ Center has been a significant factor in that progress and in the
lives of many graduate, professional, and undergraduate students. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be engaged in
this important work. Thank you to those of you who joined us for the 10th Anniversary celebration weekend. As
we plan for the next 10 years, I am already looking forward to the 20th Anniversary celebration. Join us for the

Terri Phoenix

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • 10th Anniversary Reunion
  • Meet Our New Assistant Director: Angel Collie
  • Staff Transitions
  • Featured Alumnus Spotlight: Catherine Adamson
  • Update: Triangle Resource Fair
  • The Importance of Safe Zone
  • Our Award-Winning Staff
  • Support the Center

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the LGBTQ Center (nee LGBT Office).  The Center was commissioned in 2003 by then Provost Robert Shelton.  Since that time, the Center has provided programs, resources and services to more than 25,000 people. 

We are recognizing and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the LGBTQ Center with an Alumni Reunion weekend to be held May 2-4, 2014.  I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with many fantastic students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners during the eight and a half years I have been here. I am hopeful that many of them will return to help celebrate the successes and progress that were made possible through their investment of time, effort, talents, and energy. I am also hopeful to have the pleasure and privilege of getting to make the acquaintance of some of the alumni and former university employees whose efforts made possible the ultimate creation of the LGBTQ Center.

We will start the Reunion weekend with an informal mixer to be held at Top of the Hill’s Back Bar on Friday, May 2nd from 5-7 pm. On Saturday, May 3rd from 12-2 pm, we will gather in the Chancellor’s West Ballroom at the Carolina Inn for a catered celebration banquet.  We will conclude the weekend celebration with the recognition of the newest Carolina alumni during the Lavender Graduation Ceremony. Lavender Graduation will take place on Sunday, May 4th from 4-5 pm with a catered reception following the formal ceremony.  Registration for all of these events is available on the General Alumni Association website ( There will be a nominal fee for the Friday night mixer and Saturday banquet in order to cover the majority of the cost for the event. We have made it possible for people to contribute additional money to sponsor registrations for current students who might otherwise not be able to attend due to financial limitations. I hope that people will support this effort to the extent they are able to do so.

The LGBTQ Center’s motto is “Educating for Equality.” This phrase emphasizes and makes visible the primary purpose behind the majority of programs and services offered through the LGBTQ Center. I hope that you will join us at one or more of the events held May 2-4, 2014 as we celebrate 10 years of Educating for Equality and as we applaud the work done by those who made the existence of the Center possible.

Terri Phoenix

What's Inside

In this edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual magazine:

  • 10th Anniversary: The History of the LGBTQ Center
  • Administrative Review
  • Gender Neutral Housing Update
  • Ally Week/Triangle Resource Fair
  • Graduate Lunch and Learn Speaker Series
  • End of Year Party
  • Lavender Graduation
  • Featured Alumnus Spotlight: Lee Storrow
  • Staff Transitions
  • Support the Center

Read the Full Publication

Letter from the Director

Happy New Year and Greetings from the LGBTQ Center! The LGBTQ Center was founded in the spring of 2003. As we begin preparing to celebrate 10 years of working to foster a safe and welcoming community for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions we thought it was time to launch an LGBTQ Center newsletter. Our plan for this newsletter is that it will be a way for us to keep graduates informed about our work, to keep us connected to the accomplishments of graduates, and begin to build a network of people with whom future Tar Heels can connect after graduation. In order to create a title for the newsletter, we are hosting a “Name the Newsletter Contest” (see details on pg 11). We also welcome feedback and ideas about the content, features, and structure. We want to create something that you find informative, interesting, and valuable.

I have been privileged to serve in multiple capacities at the LGBTQ Center for eight years and I have seen much positive change in that time:

  • Creation of a policy that any new building or major renovation must include the creation of at least one gender non-specific restroom
  • Inauguration of the annual Lavender Graduation Ceremony
  • The addition of gender identity and gender expression to the UNC-Chapel Hill policy on nondiscrimination
  • UNC system-wide equity for student purchase of health insurance for a same-sex partner in the student health insurance plan
  • Creation of an inclusive language policy
  • Creation of gender non-specific housing option in campus housing
  • Increased advocacy by Human Resources and General Administration for benefits equity for staff and faculty with same-sex partners
  • Over 2,000 active (i.e., still on UNC-CH campus) Safe Zone Allies

While the LGBTQ Center and its staff played important roles in each of these accomplishments, they could only have happened in partnership and with the support of many people, organizations, and departments. Many of you reading this right now played instrumental roles.

The LGBTQ Center still has many things to address and accomplish. We will continue to push for benefits equity (i.e., the ability of employees with same sex spouses to purchase health insurance for their spouse); the purchase of health insurance that does not exclude coverage for transition-related medical care; increased inclusion in the curriculum of LGBTQ, intersex, Two Spirit, and Same Gender Loving communities; and improvements in campus climate for LGBTQ, intersex, Two Spirit, and Same Gender Loving communities and their allies. We hope that former Tar Heels will stay in touch and support us as we continue to work toward full equality and inclusion of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.

We hope that Tar Heel Graduates who value this continuing work will support us with donations of time, talent, energy, and finances. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Terri L. Phoenix

What's Inside

In this first edition of the LGBTQ Center's semi-annual newsletter:

  • Gender Non-Specific Housing
  • Center Highlights
  • Safe Zone
  • Impact of Center
  • Programming
  • Featured Alumna Spotlight: Maggie Carlin
  • Graduate and Professional Student Programs
  • Contest: Name Our Newsletter!

Read the Full Publication

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