Pride Week, run by the ANUSA Queer* Department, ran from the 8th to the 12th of August, with a focus on education and celebration for both LGTBQIA+ students and non-Queer students. Pride Weeks similar to ANU’s run around the globe, and offer Queer people to examine issues within and outside of the community, as well to celebrate their identity, their community, and their love.
ANUSA Queer* officer Fred Hanlin, speaking to Woroni, said that Pride Week was for ‘reminding everyone that we are still here, and it’s still not OK to treat us as less than what we are … and even a bit of fun”
One of the main themes throughout the week was the importance of community, with events aiming to forge connection that were stronger, more equitable, and safer. This included an emphasis on intersectionality between race, sex, gender and age, as well as ‘Autonomous’ events, which offered Queer only spaces for discussion and fun.
Queer week began on Monday with a Writers Story Share and a talk on Racism in the Queer Community. The Share offered everyone an opportunity to share their stories, featuring local writer Jemimah Cooper. A number of students participated, offering their personal experiences in the forms of poetry and prose.
The second event, Racism in the Queer* Community was run by Deputy Queer* Officer Fernando Goh, and examined how racism within the community impacts LGTBQIA+ people. In particular, he spoke of the need for those with privilege “to redress [the] balance” in order to improve diversity and representation for People of Colour, as well as addressing wider issues of online discrimination and cultural appropriation.
Tuesdays events focused on building community, including a circuit class at the ANU Gym, and the ‘Firepit Queery’, which offered Queer and questioning students the opportunity to discuss issues of identity and treatment within the community, and how those impact with presentation and perceptions of Queer* people.
On Wednesday Pride Week was visited by a number of ladies from the Canberra Lesbian community, who came to share their experiences and wisdom with the next generation. Panellists included Maureen Howard, Josephine Roach, Katrina Fanning and Carol Kee. They discussed the difficulties they had being out in the 60s and 70s, and their involvement in the second wave feminism movement.
A number of participants at the event, both students and elders, commented about the similarities in the issues both groups faced, despite the time difference, in areas such as coming out, discrimination, and responsibilities to “represent the community with [their] actions”.
Finally, on Thursday, Pride Week hosted a the ‘Pride Carnival’ in Union Court, an event which focused on celebrating the diversity and vibrancy of the ANU community, with the theme of ‘getting rainbow’. A number of stalls offered face and nail painting, glitter, and food, and the event was highly popular with students.
Overall, the week was highly successful, with a number of students commenting to Woroni on their increased confidence and bonds in the community. Pride Week offered opportunities for education and growth, as well as a vibrant source of fun for both Queer* and non-Queer* students.