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Safe Zone at UT

Safe Zone at UT is an educational workshop series focusing on:

  • Basic language and terminology related to gender and sexuality
  • Awareness and understanding of the intersections of gender, sexuality, and Safe Zone at UT logoother social identities
  • Skills to intervene in situations of discrimination and injustice
  • Knowledge about LGBTQ+ resources available on UT’s campus.

Safe Zone is open to all current faculty, staff, and students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At this time, we are unable to offer our sessions to the Knoxville community or non-UT affiliated organizations, groups, and departments.


The Safe Zone at UT program consists of three tiers, inspired by the Multicultural Competence Models proposed by Pederson (1994) and Pope, Reynolds, and Mueller (2019).

Tier 1 – Awareness consists of one 2 hour presentation. Tier 1 sessions launched in fall 2018.

After participating in Tier 1, session participants will be able to:

  • identify and articulate the purpose of Safe Zone at UT
  • identify gender and sexuality-related resources at UT
  • identify and apply basic language and terminology related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Tier 2 – Knowledge consists of one 2 hour presentation. Tier 2 sessions launched in spring 2020.

After participating in Tier 2, session participants will be able to:

  • identify and apply terminology related to sex assigned at birth, gender expression, and gender identity in order to better serve the LGBTQ+ community.
  • express greater confidence in their knowledge and support of the transgender and nonbinary communities.

Tier 3 – Skills will consist of two 1 hour interactive workshops, one geared toward faculty/staff and one toward students/student organizations.

We plan to launch it in the 2020-2021 academic year.

SZ - Fall 2020 Tier 1 session sign-up form

Use this form to sign up for Safe Zone at UT sessions in fall 2020.
  • To protect against Zoom-bombing, we will not send the session links to any non-UT email without prior permission. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • For our data collection purposes, please select just one. For example: If you are a staff member that is working on a graduate program, please select staff. If you are a graduate student teaching classes, please select student. If you are unsure, select what you consider yourself as your primary affiliation.

SZ - Fall 2020 Tier 2 session sign-up form

Use this form to sign up for Safe Zone at UT sessions in fall 2020.
  • To protect against Zoom-bombing, we will not send the session links to any non-UT email without prior permission. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • For our data collection purposes, please select just one. For example: If you are a staff member that is working on a graduate program, please select staff. If you are a graduate student teaching classes, please select student. If you are unsure, select what you consider yourself as your primary affiliation.
  • Please do not sign up for Tier 2 without completing Tier 1.

Our current facilitation team members:

  • Bilqis Amatus-Salaam, she/her/hers
  • Ciara Gazaway, she/her/hers
  • Judi Gibbons, she/her/hers
  • Christa Gloster, they/them/theirs
  • Heather Hall, she/her/hers
  • Yasja Hemmings, she/her/hers/they/them/theirs
  • Bonnie Johnson, she/her/hers
  • Katy Malone, she/her/hers
  • María Martinez, she/her/hers
  • Will Martinez, he/him/his
  • Julianna Tullos, she/her/hers
  • Ronda Wright, she/her/hers

We are not currently accepting facilitation team applications at this time. Please check back in summer 2021.

Qualifications and Responsibilities

  • Be a faculty member, staff member, or enrolled student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Complete both Safe Zone Tier 1 and Tier 2 training before fall 2020
  • Have a general working knowledge of gender and sexuality related terminology and an open mind for learning updated information
  • Demonstrate active listening, communication, and rapport-building skills; time management skills; and a consistent, warm, and approachable demeanor to create inclusive and judgment-free learning environments
  • Demonstrate previous facilitation and/or teaching experiences (preferred but not required)
  • Commit to attend at least two facilitation team meetings per semester
  • Commit to facilitate at least two workshops per semester (4 hours total, reconfirmed every semester)
  • Attend the Facilitation Team train-the-trainer program

Join the Safe Zone Network!

The Safe Zone Network is a voluntary network of faculty, staff and students who believe that every member of the UT community should have an equal opportunity to grow, learn, and work at a safe and welcoming campus.

After completing all three tiers of training and passing the certification test, you will be asked to join the network. Once accepted, you will have your name publicly displayed in our directory as a resource for LGBTQ+ students. Remember: allyship and support is a continuous process. Once additional SZ programming becomes available, SZ network members will be expected to stay up to date.

Since all three tiers have not been launched yet, we are not accepting members into the network at this time. Thanks for your patience.