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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 one 2 hour workshop. Tier 3 sessions will launch in fall 2021.

Our summer tier 1 schedule includes the following dates. Please click the link to register for the session via Zoom. You will automatically receive the log-in information. Authenticated users (@tennessee.edu) is REQUIRED for security purposes. Please refer to OIT’s “Getting Started on Zoom” page for more information on signing in as an authenticated user.

Our summer tier 2 schedule includes the following dates. Please click the link to register for the session via Zoom. You will automatically receive the log-in information. Authenticated users (@tennessee.edu) is REQUIRED for security purposes. Please refer to OIT’s “Getting Started on Zoom” page for more information on signing in as an authenticated user.

We are accepting requests for individual trainings for student organizations, campus units and departments, and other UT affiliated groups on a limited basis. Please contact us at pridecenter@utk.edu with more information about your request, including:

  • Your name, email and other relevant contact information
  • Your group size (approx. #)
  • Your preferred modality (summer 2021 is virtual only, but we will re-introduce in-person training options starting fall 2021)
  • Your proposed dates and times (2 hour per tier)
  • Any other relevant information for your request

Please submit your request at least three weeks ahead of your tentative dates. We ask that you first see if your group can attend any previously scheduled sessions prior to making your request. We may not be able to fulfill your request due to capacity, but we will make every effort to make it happen. Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

We are currently accepting facilitation team applications for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year (July through May). Applications close May 21, 2021.

Qualifications and Responsibilities

  • Be a faculty member, staff member, or enrolled graduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Complete both Safe Zone Tier 1 and Tier 2 trainings
  • 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

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You will receive a confirmation email upon successfully applying.

Our volunteer facilitation team members hail from all across the UT campus!

  • 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

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.