Queer Officer’s Report – Week 12, Sem 1, 2016

Marcus Wong and Evan Jones

The past few weeks have been extremely busy and exciting for the Queer Action Collective. We’ve been present at a number of actions such as the National Day of Action protesting the cuts by the federal government to our education that will disproportionately affect queer students, the Nakba Rally in solidarity with Palestine and against the pink-washing of Israel, the occupation of Wesley College by Wom*n’s Collective, recognising that queerphobia and misogyny are not separate issues, and an action of support for Safe Schools to amplify the voices of high school students who stand to lose the most from the gutting of the Safe Schools Program. We also went along to listen to the panel that was run by The Ally Network in celebration of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on the 17th of May, as well as their screening of Gayby Baby that evening.

The highlight of the month for many was our protest against the Sydney University Catholic Society’s event at Life Week entitled ‘Men + Women = Made for each other?” Their guest speaker was a known advocate of conversion of queer people through therapy and spoke out against queer lifestyles. The event also relied on heavily essentialist conceptualisations of gender, which erases the identities of transgender students who already face a great deal of discrimination, leading to significantly higher levels of violence and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The protest was well-attended and gained considerable attention and support from people along Eastern Avenue on the day, as well as people from other collectives and we’d like to thank all who attended.

This month we also met with University management to begin discussion with them about the Rainbow Campus campaign that was officially launched at Pride Week last month. Although a slow, bureaucratic response from them, we are optimistic that we will be able to get through all of our demands and turn the University of Sydney into a Rainbow Campus.

We have a lot coming up in the next few weeks. On the 26th of May we will be joining a protest against Cory Bernardi from the Liberal Party and Joe de Bruyn of the ALP who have played significant roles in furthering attacks on queer people. We are also preparing for the pre-election marriage equality rally on the 25th of June and we invite all to come along to both protests and show your support for queer students on campus. We are also pleased to announce that we have begun work on a publication to educate people on transgender issues to be released later in the year. Work to send delegates to Queer Collaborations in July is also underway and promises to be a very exciting week for some of our members.

For more information or if you have any queeries get in contact with the Queer Officers at

queer.officers@usyd.src.edu.au

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