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Discovering and Supporting Yourself

This section is all about exploring and supporting yourself as you navigate your own identities throughout both your time here at UT and your life after UT. We have included resources about discovering yourself and reflecting yourself in an affirmative way at the university.

We are always adding new resources. If you have any recommendations, please email us.

Questioning and coming out

For legal name and gender of record changes:

  • To change your legal name at UT, you must submit a Change of Name Request form along with the appropriate documentation. For more information is available on the One Stop Contact Update page.
  • To change your gender on record in Banner, students must submit appropriate documentation to Katherine Abbot (kcooper@utk.edu), Associate Registrar. “Appropriate documentation” could be a copy of a legal document indicating gender or a letter from their primary care physician/mental health provider. If you have any questions, please contact Katherine at the above email.

For chosen name changes:

  • Banner, MyUTK, and Canvas: To request the use of a chosen name (no legal documentation is required), follow these step-by-step instructions to change your name through MyUTKand submit the request. This request should feed into Banner, MyUTK, and Canvas within 48 hours. Please contact OIT (865-974-9900) if your chosen name does not update within 48 hours on Canvas.
    FYI: Once the chosen first name has been established, the student is responsible for confirming with their instructors the existence and use of the chosen first name on respective class rosters. Unfortunately external communications such as financial aid reporting, official transcripts, billing and similar documents, etc. will continue to display an individual’s legal name. The name on your FASFA (application for federal financial aid) must match the legal name in the student information system in order for aid to be processed.
  • UTK Directory: To change your name in the UTK Directory, students must update their “Known As” name with OneStop. Employees/faculty/staff need to go to their department of employment and ask them to update your “Known As” name in IRIS.
  • VolCard: Your VolCard name is also linked to the chosen name system. After the chosen name change is approved (usually within 24 – 48 hours of your request submission), you can go to the VolCard office and receive a physical card for free (no $30 fee).
    *Now that VolCards have gone virtual, physical VolCard are only being reissued to students who need them for employment purposes. Don’t let this discourage you from getting yours replaced. Contact us for help.*
  • VOLink: VOLink, the student organization portal, connects to the preferred name change system in Banner. We are aware there are current issues getting preferred names to update, and we are working to identify and solve this in a timely manner.
  • Handshake: We are currently working to identify the system and technology linkage between our preferred name change system through Banner and Handshake, the internship and job portal.
  • UTK EmailWhile folks cannot change their NetIDs, faculty and staff can set up an alias for sending and receiving emails through your UTK email. Check out this OIT article for instructions on how to set up an alias. If you use your UTK email through Gmail, you are able to update your display name.
  • ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you have EVER been on the university payroll (working at a summer camp here, note-taking, student assistant, work study, etc.), you must ALSO submit a Personal Data Form to Human Resources.

If you are continuing to have problems getting your name accurately reflected here in various UT systems, please contact the Pride Center Coordinator, Bonnie Johnson, at bonnie@utk.edu, and she will assist as much as possible.

On campus resources

  • The Pride Center and CHEW both offer FREE safer sex supplies during their business hours, including lubricants, external condoms, insertive condoms, dental dams, and more.
  • 974-HELP: For distressed students of all levels. The 974-HELP referral line was developed to help distressed or distressing students reach their academic goals and to help maintain a safe community and learning environment for all students. If you have a concern about a student for any reason, do not hesitate to reach out and call. For more information check out their website here: https://dos.utk.edu/974-help/our-approach/
  • Student Counseling Center (SCC): The Student Counseling Center offers individual counseling and group therapy for all students, including LGBTQ+ inclusive individual, group, and relationship therapy; a set number of sessions a year are available for free to students who have paid their student health fee. For more information on the Counseling Center, including scheduling an appointment, check out their website here.
  • Student Health Center (SHC): The Student Health Center offers primary care services to our students. For general information, including regular appointment booking, check out their website here. 
    The Gender Clinic at the SHC offers services for students interested in medical transition. Stop by the Sports Medicine Clinic on the first floor or call Jessica Ott, the Gender Clinic administrative assistant, at 865-974-5663 to get a gender clinic appointment scheduled. Do not use the regular SHC appointment booking system for a gender clinic appointment. Check out the following .pdf guide for more information on the Gender Clinic, including pricing: Gender Clinic Guide
  • Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW): The Center for Health Education and Wellness empowers all Volunteers to thrive by cultivating personal and community well-being. They offer educational programming around physical, mental, and sexual health. At CHEW (located in the Health Center on the second floor), you can pick up safer sex supplies for free. For more information, check out their website here: https://wellness.utk.edu/
  • UT Psychological Clinic: The UT Psych Clinic is located in the UT Conference Center downtown. They offer therapeutic services with sliding scale payment. We recommend current students work with the Student Counseling Center first, since the student health fee already covers counseling services there but NOT at the Psych Clinic. For more information, check out UT Psych Clinic website.

Off-campus and online resources

  • Planned Parenthood – Knoxville: Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. They offer medical transition services in addition to other affirming sexual healthcare.
  • Positively Living: Positively Living provides case management, supportive housing, food service, and mental health/addiction counseling to individuals who are homeless; mentally ill; addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other substances; and/or living with HIV/AIDS. They offer free STI testing, PrEP, safer sex supplies, medical transition services, and more.

  • How do I request an inclusive on-campus housing option?: The University of Tennessee is committed to maintaining safe and secure living environments that are inclusive, allowing all students to feel supported as their authentic selves. Our inclusive approach respects and welcomes individuals with a range of diverse identities, cultures, and values. If your gender identity is not represented in the housing application, or if you are interested in additional information about gender-inclusive housing options, please make this selection when submitting your housing application in your University Housing portal. This option can be accessed through the “Manage My Housing” page of your University Housing portal. You can contact University Housing directly for additional information or questions about inclusive on-campus housing options by emailing Richard Swearingen at rsweari3@utk.edu.
  • All-gender restrooms at UT: Check out this map for the locations of all-gender restrooms on campus. You can navigate to this map independently by starting at maps.utk.edu, click “restrooms” on the left menu, then “all-gender restrooms.” *Note: some are unavailable before/after business hours due to building closures. We are currently working to expand access. Let us know if you have any concerns or interest in adding all-gender restrooms to your facility, and we can link you up with the appropriate people.*
  • Accessibility accommodations: For accessibility, transportation, testing, and classroom accommodations, please check out Student Disability Services.

Faith and Identity

Books and articles

Online resource guides

Online organizations

Affirming faith spaces on campus and in Knoxville

This list is not an exhaustive list and serves as a working document of religious spaces across Knoxville that are welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. If you have any suggestions or information on faith locations listed, please contact pridecenter@utk.edu with your feedback and information. Thanks!

Churches
  • Tyson House: The Tyson House Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry is an ecumenical worshipping community located at UTK. During the fall and spring semesters, they have a weekly dinner and worship service, every Sunday at 6:04 p.m. They also have a weekly faith formation class. Tyson House has been a Reconciling in Christ congregation since 2016.
    Website: tysonhouse.org
    Contact: (865) 637-2031
  • Wesley Foundation: The Wesley Foundation is the United Methodist Collegiate Ministry at UTK, located on-campus. They offer Sunday worship, Wednesday night dinner and discussions, small groups, and intramural sports. They offer an LGBTQ+ focused worship group called Mosaic.
    Website: utkwesleyfoundation.org
    Contact: (865) 522-2728; info@utkwesleyfoundation.org
  • UKirk: UKirk is the Presbyterian ministry on campus. They offer Wednesday worship, Monday lunches at 12:30pm (vegetarian-friendly), a community garden, and a pay-as-you-can coffee/tea shop in their building.
    Website: ukirkutk.org
    Contact: (865) 394-9242
  • Church Street United Methodist Church: Church Street is a close-to-campus Methodist ministry. They offer Sunday service, Wednesday worship and lunch, volunteer opportunities, and other community engagement.
    Website: churchstreetumc.org
    Contact: (865) 524-3048
  • Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church: TVUUC is a close-to-campus Unitarian Universalist church. They offer Sunday worship, many weekly and monthly engagement opportunities, Wednesday evening potlucks, and an LGBTQ+ affirming youth group.
    Website: tvuuc.org
    Contact: (865) 523-4176
Synagogues
  • Temple Beth El: Temple Beth El is a Reform Jewish synagogue, affiliated with Union for Reform Judaism. They offer youth programming, regular services, and adult education. Check out their website for more information.
    Website: tbeknox.org
    Contact: (865) 524-3521
Mosques
  • If you know a local mosque(s) that is LGBTQ+ affirming, please let us know at pridecenter@utk.edu, and we will update this section immediately!
Other faith traditions
  • If you know of or attend any other places of worship/practice faith traditions that are LGBTQ+ affirming and open to the public, please let us know at pridecenter@utk.edu, and we will update this section immediately!

  • Bias Education and Response Team: If you feel you have been the victim of a bias related incident (harassment, discrimination, etc.), we encourage you to a report with the Bias Education and Response Team (BERT). Click this link for Bias reporting and more information.
  • UTPD: UTPD has designated Corporal Kelley Kain (she/her/hers) as the UTPD LGBT Liaison. She serves both the Pride Center and the Commission for LGBT People as a representative of the UTPD and as an affirming support resource within the department. If you need to report a crime, she is a great community contact. Get in touch with her at kain@utk.edu.
  • Title IX: The Office of Title IX deals primarily with instances of sexual misconduct, stalking, relationship violence, and retaliation. If you feel you have been the victim/survivor of any of the above, you have options. Check out the following link for more information on getting help (in many forms–we respect everyone’s right to decide if, when, and how they report): Title IX Get Help.
  • Office of Equity and Diversity: OED fulfills an important compliance function by working with various legal mandates set out by state and federal law and university policies related to civil rights, equal employment, and affirmative action. If you would like to file a discrimination-related complaint, check out their website for more information.

The Commission for LGBT People has developed a pocket-sized resource guide for trans and nonbinary folks on campus.