The LGBT Advocate Award recognizes a faculty member, staff member, or student who demonstrates a commitment to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues on campus.
For Leticia Flores, helping LGBT individuals live healthier and happier lives has been a career-long commitment. Now, as interim director of the UT Psychology Clinic, she is working to make UT a more welcoming and nurturing place for LGBT students, faculty, and staff.
Since arriving in 2013, she has tried to train her doctoral students in clinical and counseling psychology how to provide culturally competent psychology services to their LGBT clients.
“But it is in the smaller day-to-day activities that Dr. Flores hopes to have the greatest impact,” her nominator noted. Flores routinely distributes materials to keep clinical students and supervisors abreast of LGBT issues and has helped make the clinic’s website a go-to information source for the LGBT community. She networks with others in the campus community who are deeply involved in LBGT issues and looks for opportunities to join forces to help current, past, and future students.
Flores is a board member for Positively Living, a Knoxville organization that helps men struggling to survive the challenges created by HIV/AIDS, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and disabilities. She also serves on the advisory committee for Alcoa’s new LBGT community center.
When Jennifer Jabson and her wife moved to Knoxville from Boston in 2013—before gay marriage was legal in Tennessee—they knew they might lose their legal status and protection. Jabson said they were willing to take that chance. “Why go where it is easy? We are needed here,” she said.
Since arriving at UT, Jabson has fearlessly used her own story to help other LGBT individuals and advocate for greater equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.
An assistant professor in the Department of Public Health, Jabson’s mentorship is sought by LGBT students nationwide. She advocates for LGBT people through her prolific research, and her findings have brought about change. For instance, her efforts led to the inclusion of sexual orientation measure in the Behavioral Risk Health Surveillance Survey for Knox County.
Jabson was nominated by a group of six colleagues in the Department of Public Health who wrote, “Who she is, her presence, her self-love, her love for others, and her compassion for all create an environment in which it is natural and right to accept and nurture LGBT colleagues, students, and visitors.”