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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).Three tiers: knowledge; awareness and understanding; skills

Tier 1 – Knowledge 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 – Awareness and Understanding consists of one 1.5 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.

Registration is live for summer 2020 sessions. Click here to register for the following sessions.

Tier 1

  • May 20, 2020 from 3pm – 5pm
  • June 2, 2020 from 10am – 12pm
  • June 16, 2020 from 2pm – 4pm
  • July 7, 2020 from 10am – 12pm
  • July 24, 2020 from 1pm – 3pm

Tier 2

  • May 26, 2020 from 3:30pm – 5pm
  • June 4, 2020 from 1pm – 2:30pm
  • June 26, 2020 from 10:30am – 12pm
  • July 15, 2020 from 2pm – 3:30pm
  • July 30, 2020 from 1pm – 2:30pm

Our current facilitation team includes:

  • Ciara Gazaway, she/her/hers
  • Bonnie Johnson, she/her/hers
  • Will Martinez, he/him/his

We are looking for volunteers! Check out the next section for more information on joining our team.

We are currently recruiting up to eight volunteers for our inaugural Safe Zone at UT facilitation team. Please email us with any questions or concerns. Applications close on July 10, 2020.

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 currently scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 from 9AM to 12PM

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 UTK 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.