The ANU Queer* Department celebrated its 20th Anniversary on Monday 28th July. The event also served as the launch for the Queer* Department’s new strategic framework for LGBTI inclusion at the ANU which will work in tandem with the reinvigorated Ally Network to provide LGBTI staff and students with greater support and inclusivity within the ANU.
The evening included a charismatic address from Yen Eriksen, an alumni of ANU. Eriksen re-called the way in which she had been swept into the ANU Queer* Community to quickly become a part of its fabric. She described the ANU Queer* Space as the LGBTI “cultural core” of the ANU Campus where members are afforded a space to not only to relax, but, for some, to take refuge and find a surrogate family. It was clear from Eriksen’s address how important a service the Queer* De-partment provides in mentoring students who identify. In her words, “it throws people together who need big brothers”.
2014 Queer* Officer Ben Gill followed Erikson by emphasising the need for continued LGBTI ad-vocacy amongst the ANU community. Gill announced which new ANU strategies are to be imple-mented across a broad, comprehensive policy program. The programs are geared towards greater LGBTI involvement and enabling the ANU “to market itself as one of the most inclusive organisa-tions in Australia – and eventually the world”. These sentiments were also echoed by Andrew Barr MLA in his presentation, who furthered the idea of Canberra as “the most inclusive city in the most inclusive country”.