What is your position at the University? I am an Assistant Director in the CEHHS Office of Advising and Student Services.
What is your role on the Commission? This is my second year as a Commission member as well as a member of the Transgender and Non-Binary Issues Committee.
How do you identify, and how does that inform your work with the Commission? I identify as a heterosexual, cisgender woman who is an ally. As a non-marginalized person, it is my honor and responsibility to use the privilege I have to support and advocate for folks in the LGBTQ+ community.
Discuss some of your recent accomplishments and/or areas of study relating to the LGBTQ+ community. As a part of the Transgender and Non-Binary Issues Committee, I have assisted the great group of committee members with establishing the “Qloset,” which is a free clothing closet supporting transgender and non-binary students. We have hosted a couple of pop-up shops, and the student response has been fantastic.
In what ways do you see the Commission impacting the University? I think the Commission can play a key role in promoting mattering and belonging initiatives at UTK. We can definitely work to foster equity for students, faculty, and staff who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
What would you like to see in the future at UT for LGBTQ+ people? I am hopeful for UTK to be able to offer gender inclusive housing options in the future. I am very excited that the Commission will now have a presence at the new employee orientations. I believe this will help to demonstrate the value and importance of the LGBTQ+ community from the very start. I definitely want to see a shift in perception at UTK to more of a welcoming and inclusive environment, but more importantly I want for us to have earned it.
What is one of your favorite parts about serving on the Commission? I have been so grateful to have the opportunity to interact with the most wonderful group of folks on the Commission–people who share a common purpose and desire to improve UTK for the LGBTQ+ community. The members of the Commission inspire me, and I am so glad to work alongside them.