LGBTQ Center Director Honored

April 9, 2015
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LGBTQ Center Director Terri Phoenix was honored with three others at the Campus Y on March 23 with the University Award for the Advancement of Women. The awards honor individuals who have mentored or supported women on campus, elevated the status of women or improved campus policies for them, promoted women’s recruitment and retention, or promoted professional development for women. Chancellor Carol L. Folt is pictured above with all the winners of the University Awards for the Advancement of Women, from left, Terri Phoenix, Maegan Clawge and Carmen Samuel-Hodge.

The following excerpt from University Gazette. The full artilcle can be found at http://gazette.unc.edu/2015/03/31/three-receive-university-awards-for-th...

One nominator wrote much of Phoenix’s career at Carolina has been dedicated “to ending interpersonal violence, especially violence that impacts women and marginalized individuals.”

In 10 years as director of the LGBTQ Center, Phoenix has approached the work from a social justice framework to free the campus of heterosexism, a system of attitudes, bias and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships.

“Our mission is to provide and foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all orientations and identities and gender expressions,” Phoenix said.

The work requires changing not only the attitudes of individuals, but the policies and practices of the institution itself.

This is something Phoenix understands – and experiences – firsthand. Identifying as transmasculine, Phoenix has close-cropped hair, wears suits and ties, and prefers gender non-specific pronouns.

“When people say to me ‘Miss Phoenix’ rather than ‘Dr. Phoenix’ or ‘Mr. Phoenix,’ they are not seeing me,” Phoenix said. “So imagine you are walking through your day and everyone is referring to you by a pronoun that doesn’t fit you.”

Phoenix is currently part of a task force that is reviewing “student-on-student” complaints of harassment, including sexual misconduct and discrimination.

“I want an institution that treats everyone equitably and where every individual who comes on this campus, whether they are here as a student or a member of the faculty or staff, has the same opportunity to take advantage of all the University has to give,” Phoenix said.

“That can only happen when people like me are able to walk through their day without having to encounter any extra barriers because of how they dress or who they love.”

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