Queer Officers Report: Semester 1, 2014: the year in queer

We started the year with a successful float in Mardi Gras, which was organised by queers from universities across NSW and available to queers across Australia. Students and allies, including many from USyd, had the chance to march, many for the first time.

We created a buddy system to introduce new queer or questioning people to the collective. As a result there are a lot of fresh faces at collective meetings, creating an awesome space to share ideas
and skills.

Members of the queer collective also participated in a pink bloc at the recent National Day of Action (NDA) against the Liberal government’s cuts to higher education. Such blocs serve to make broader political actions relevant to minority groups. As queers, we formed our pink bloc- identifying ourselves with pink triangles- to highlight the importance of a fully funded education for those who experience systemic oppressions on the basis of their gender identity and sexuality. Courses such as gender studies and services such as counselling are two examples of things that are important for queers at uni and threatened by consistent cuts to our education. We had students from all over NSW contribute to the bloc, which made it very successful.

Be sure to look out for many more pink blocs throughout the year.

At the campus level, the collective has learned of an issue involving the names used on the Blackboard eLearning discussion boards. As it currently stands, people are required to post content under their legal name/name at enrolment. For trans* students in particular, this can mean outing yourself to classmates.

This discourages participation in online education from queer students. We’re building a campaign to try and change this. To get involved, come to a meeting (1pm
on Tuesdays in the Queerspace), or indicate your interest on the (secret) collective Facebook page – if you haven’t been added yet, get in contact (queer.officers@src.usyd.edu.au) and we’ll rectify this immediately!
Sadly, this is the last queer report that Honi will permit us this semester, but look out for more next semester. In the meantime, the autonomous group for queer non-cis men called “Queerkats”, which meets on Thursdays at 1pm in the Queerspace, will be occupying the Wom*n’s Officers’ report at points later on in semester. Thanks to the Wom*n’s Officers for sharing their weekly space.

David Shakes, Holly Parrington, Edward McMahon and Elsa Kohane discuss Semester 1, 2014: the year in queer.

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