Terri Phoenix

1. What is one of your proudest accomplishments and why?

There are many things of which I am proud. As a first generation student I am proud to have completed my bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. I am proud of my lifelong activism and advocacy work around LGBTQ youth and communities. I have been involved in speaking, presenting, and organizing around LGBTQ topics since 1989 as an undergraduate student (including service as Chair of the Board of Safe Schools NC for two years; Executive Committee of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals for two years; Provost’s Committee on LGBTQ Life at UNC-Chapel Hill; Chair of the NC ACLU Transgender Advisory Board). I am proud of the accomplishments since I have been at the LGBTQ Center. Some of those include getting a UNC Design Standard that all new buildings and major renovations will include at least one gender non-specific bathroom; getting gender identity and gender expression added to the university non-discrimination statement; getting gender non-specific housing approved by the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees in 2012 (the Board of Governors passed a policy prohibiting its implementation but we did get it through to that level); the enormous growth in the Safe Zone program in the time since I’ve been here (from 684 active allies to 2,705 active allies); and being the recipient of the Margaret Barrett Award for Advocacy in 2011. I am proud to have received the 2015 University Award for the Advancement of Women. I am also very proud to be a parent to my five year old daughter, Duncan. I think being a parent is certainly the most demanding and challenging yet also rewarding undertaking.

2. What is your personal mission statement?

I really like the following passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson and I think it is probably the closest thing I have to a personal mission statement. “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

3. What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Professionally, I want to continue providing education and training to organizations and people on how to be intentionally inclusive of and equitable to LGBTQ+ people and communities. I want to create a university and as much of the world as I can influence where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions feel welcomed, included, safe, and affirmed. I also want to support the growth and development of others in doing LGBTQ advocacy. Personally, I want to be the best parent, partner, and friend to those whose lives I share. I want to succeed as defined by the quote I listed above.