IF YOU NEED HELP, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN GET IT: Some of the content in this editon deals with mental health, queer-phobia and a range of other emotionally charged topics. Uni’s also just an incredibly stressful environment. Everyone needs help sometimes. If you need help, the University’s FREE counselling service can be contacted on (02) 9852 5199 or via counselling@ westernsydney.edu.au If you need urgent support, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, LifeLine on 13 11 14 or QLife Australia 1800 184 527. If you have questions about what it means to be queer, or want to learn more, the ALLY Network are happy to answer your questions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit westernsydney.edu.au/ally for more info.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO RAINBOW CAMPUS TEAM: Alexandra Hiemann Anais Carrington Emma Del Dot Falean Mourmourakis Grant Murray Lauren Stanley Mandii Carr Maxwelle-Jane Dwyer Michael Wright Vanessa Noble
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Rainbows on Campus?
Rainbow Buzz and Not Dead Yet
h i K l o
Colour Me Human and We Can Do It
Queer Services Directory
LGBT Exclusivity - Privilege in Binary
Emma Del Dot & Michael Wright Welcome to the rainbow half of W’SUP, celebrating Queer Pride. Compiling this paper has given us the opportunity to see life through the eyes of some of Western Sydney’s queer students. From the euphoric joy of Mardi Gras in Taylor Square, to the appalling treatment of students at Hawkesbury’s CLV, queer students have extraordinary experiences. It’s our pleasure to provide them with a platform. Queer student’s voices are often left by the wayside, and in publishing content that tells their stories, we hope you feel welcome in this tight-knit community, whether you are queer, or an ally. This is only the beginning of their story. Queer students are committed to fighting for true safety, support and equality on campus. Between (artistic) protest action on Parramatta, baked goods of solidarity at Kingswood and Bankstown, and casual hangouts at Hawkesbury, students have used the #glitterunlimited campaign as the launching point for progress at Western Sydney. We look forward to continuing to work with them, and celebrating with them when they succeed. Creating this edition of W’SUP has been a challenge for us all. We’ve had to balance work, our studies and the little that is left of our social lives with the publication for the first time this year. We are so grateful for the massive show of support we received following the O-Week edition and look forward to our next edition, which is ironically “stress less” themed. We’d like to thank our writers, sub editors, designers, the Rainbow Campus Team and contributors for taking the time to share your ideas with us. Most importantly, we’re honoured that the queer community has allowed us to tell their stories, and hope we’ve done them justice.
For more editorials, please see the reverse side of this edition.
In attempt to get a better sense of queer affairs at Western Sydney University, we asked Queer Collective members some questions about being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Here’s what they had to say:
Q) What’s one thing the University could do to make life easier for Queer Students? Taylor R (Lesbian): Giving people more education about the queer community, we aren't scary! If you don't understand something just ask.
Q) Who’s your favourite Queer role model? Anonymous (Gay): One of my friends; a gay refugee from Iran.
Broady G (Gay): Promote LGBT events more as this would make it easier for the community to feel accepted.
Mitch B (Gay): My cousin, I grew up seeing him be loved, accepted and treated just like everyone else in the family which helped make me realise that there's nothing wrong with who I am and how I was feeling growing up.
MJ J (Trans Guy, queer as hell, polysexual, and aromantic): More unisex bathrooms rather than just the disabled bathrooms. We shouldn't have to take up those in order to feel comfortable.
Anonymous (Pansexual): Model and actress Cara Delevingne. She fights so hard for bisexual awareness and acceptance in the community as well as having a can-do and bad ass attitude.
Samantha W (Pansexual): Education, the university has limited education on why diversity is important and a necessary part of life. They need to teach students respect and that an attitude of bigotry will not be tolerated.
Anonymous (Bisexual): Singer MIKA.
Jackson K (Gay): I think the university already does a great job for queer students, but maybe getting CLV to impose better LGBT+ bullying management stuff or whatever, you know what I mean? Like, get CLV to support us more. Anonymous (Pansexual): Create more student events that are inclusive- not just during O-week which even some campuses don’t often end up with a store which sucks. More awareness to queer spaces (I only found out about ours from purposefully trying to find the space myself).
Talia M (Pansexual and genderfluid/non-binary/ transgender): Loki, gender fluid and pansexual shapeshifting Norse god, who one time became a mare to seduce a centaur, and then gave birth to an eight legged horse. Charlotte O (Cis female bisexual/queer): Musician Frank Ocean, he doesn't strictly highlight his sexuality in his music; but when he does it's relatable. And also proving to people that he is more than just a black queer man. He has more to offer than his sexuality and colour. Tim W (Gay): CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper.
Dear Queer Corner, I’ve just hit the queer scene of Western Sydney: my OkCupid account is going off and I’ve got some hot dates lined up. I came out to my friends and family at the beginning of semester so I’m new to the queer dating scene. I was just wondering if STI checks are that much of a thing in the queer community? How would I broach the topic before I get freaky with some Westie queers? Hi First exam.
Q) What’s a myth about being (identity here)? Mandii C (Bisexual): People assume that I am confused and still making up my mind. Or they comment about me being ‘greedy’ or ask me which sex I prefer. The answer is neither because that’s the point of being bisexual … liking both. Anonymous (Gay): All gay people or men who like men are effeminate or even follow gay culture, you’d be surprised to find how many people around you are secretly gay, in church, in the mosque, at Uni, in your family. Alexandra H (Cis female Pansexual): That pansexuality is the same as bisexuality. Maxwelle-Jane D (Demi-romantic Polyamorous Trans Woman): Apparently because I'm a Polyamorous Trans Woman I'm really a dangerous individual who can't be loyal to my wife? What is this bullshit. Mitch B (Pansexual), Anonymous (Pansexual) and Talia M (Pansexual and genderfluid/non-binary/ transgender): A popular myth about pansexuals is that we're sexually attracted to pots and pans, which is ridiculous, have you seen woks? You can make a far better stir fry in that. Vox Pops are a "man on the street" style of interview. All you need are some questions and a way to record answers! If you’d like to do Vox Pops for future editions of W’SUP send us an email at email@example.com and tell us about your ideas. PAGE D
Congratulations on coming out and diving head first into the queer dating world, I admire your energy! STI checks are just as much of a thing in the queer community as in hetero relationships. In fact, you might find it easier to talk about than with straight people you’ve dated. I’d recommend broaching the topic in an open, non-accusatory way and have some services up your sleeve to recommend your sexual partner if they’re not sure where to go. I have mates who go with their sexual partner on a cute health date, however, some people do prefer to go alone. Check out the Western Sydney Health Clinic in Parramatta or Mt Druitt for more info. You can do an easy HIV test there plus other tests, and they have a thriving Indigenous sexual health program. ACON Western Sydney is a better option for trans folks and intersex people. Good luck on your incredibly exciting sexual journey and stay safe! Dear Queer Corner, I don’t usually send in questions but this one’s a bit of a whopper. I started University this semester and I have been having some unexpected feelings about my tutor. Her knee high boots and peasant skirts continually pop up in my dream, not to mention her voice when she reads feminism into Chaucer. How do I deal??? Hi Love-struck, It’s completely normal to crush on your tutors and lecturers. Everybody does it and you’re not alone! Unfortunately, it would be slightly inappropriate for you to take things to the next level from your steamy dreams so I’d say just enjoy from afar and appreciate the sexiness of her intellectualism. You never know, you might find a fellow student who shares your passion for feminist readings of Chaucer and there’d be no stopping you to pursue things with her!
RAINBOWS ON CAMPUS? Rainbow Campus Initiative Team If you were at Parramatta during week six you might have noticed that a magical rainbow crosswalk appeared outside of the bookshop. But what is this sorcery? Why was it there? The Rainbow Campus Task Force is a small group of students who are determined to make life easier, safer and better for queer students at Western Sydney University. During week six they held a series of small actions across multiple campuses in an attempt to spread the word. The group have developed a list of eight improvements that the university could action very easily; and which will instantly improve life for queer students at Western Sydney University:
1. Make safe spaces safe All students have a right to feel safe. Accessible and protected Queer Spaces on all campuses, and online, have a vital role in student life!
2. Guarantee SSAF for Queer Collectives
5. Love should always be #UNLIMITED Love is love, is love, is love, is love. Be public about #PRIDEUNLIMITED and support marriage equality.
6. We all need to pee Sex-segregated bathrooms expose queer students to indignity, harassment and assault. Unisex bathrooms should be the available in all buildings.
7. Re-staff vital support services Queer students are far more likely to need mental health support. EVRS (Early Voluntary Retirement Scheme) gutted Counselling. It’s time to fill the vacancies.
8. Fund Respect. Now. Always. The Respect. Now. Always. project fights assault, rape and stigma. We need a permanent staff member to unite our community.
1 in 10 students are Queer. We should have input into the spending of SSAF, on initiatives that support our community.
How can I get involved?
3. ALLY training for ALL staff
Visit westernsrc.org/glitterunlimited where you can find the demands, and see some cool footage from Mardi Gras.
Let’s give ALL staff comprehensive training on how to be allies, because understanding and empathy are crucial in breaking down prejudice.
4. Say goodbye to dead names It’s not that hard – listen to queer students when they tell you that they have different pronouns and names to those on file.
You can also join the ALLY Network. The ALLY Network is an endorsed group of staff and students who are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful culture at the University for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) community members. ALLY training is free, friendly and extremely important.
Monday March 27: Activists from the Rainbow Campus Initiative were out in force on both Monday and Tuesday at Parramatta South. Student's created a fantastic rainbow crosswalk to celebrate the stories of Queer students, and to draw attention to the Uni's failings. We spoke to hundreds of students and staff members who seem eager for change. On Tuesday, the Parramatta Student Campus Council had HSPs for Equality, Education and Welfare, supporting Rainbow Campus as well as national education and welfare campaigns. - Michael Wright
Tuesday March 28: In conjuction with Bankstown Student Campus Council, the Bankstown Queer Collective actively discussed the issues LGBTIQ+ students face. The group offered Western students and staff the opportunity to take a pledge to assist in improving quality of life for these students by placing hand prints on a wonderfully eclectic canvas that will be in the queer room at Bankstown. The canvas paints a picture of equality and support and will remain a symbol until changes are made at Western Sydney University. - Grant Murray
Wednesday March 29: The Hawkesbury Queer Collective held a free BBQ for students and staff of the campus. As well as inviting them to sign a petition in support of the rainbow campus initiative, a rainbow banner was set up. This allowed students to add their hand print to it as a symbol of solidarity and support for all LGBTQI+ people on Hawkesbury campus. - Faelan Mourmourakis
Friday March 31: Penrith Student Campus Council and the Penrith Queer Collective celebrated Queer Week by handing out rainbow cupcakes to staff and students, aiming to promote inclusion of sexual and gender diversity. In the afternoon they were joined by the Western Sydney U Nerdfighters who held 'Rainbow Nerdfighter Friday' during which attendees played board games and printed their hands on an equality pledge board. - Mandii Carr and Emma Del Dot
Western Sydney Queer Officers
Pride Unlimited was the theme of the Western Sydney University’s 2017 Mardi Gras float, and there was definitely a diverse group of proud Mardi Gras participants on the float. But how can Western Sydney University showcase pride when institutionally we’ve forgotten respect?
To speak, or not to speak, that is the dilemma?
The University continues to advertise pride while incidentally making life harder for queer students. Reductions to the number of counselling staff who support us all through university life, hit queer students hard, as they are 14 times more likely to require support1. Choosing to make ALLY training optional for the (increasingly casualised) staff population has led to questionable conduct within classrooms. They have failed to aid transgender students; neither protecting them from bathroom abuse, nor bringing an end to dead-naming and outing.
Picture the scene; you’re a mature age student (MAS) sitting in class, surrounded by young-guns, and the lecturer asks a question. Dead silence. Not an inkling of response from anyone. You’ve done the readings; because to be honest, if you don’t keep on top of them your life will crumble around you and you’ll end up a dribbling mess in the corner. You’re busting to stick up your hand, BUT, you’re mature age, and you’ve answered time and time again. Let’s be real, some of our MAS mates have let the team down by overanalysing topics in class, and talking about an inane subject that was relevant two decades ago, way before these guys were even a twinkling in their parent’s eyes. AND quite frankly, even you are sick of your own voice.
The university has yet to support students of diverse genders and sexualities (including asexuality) through an action as simple as signing the Australia Marriage Equality pledge.
Speak up, and get over yourself. The younger students may be stunned mullets sitting in that lecture room, but engaging with our lecturers means that we will draw out the gold within. However, let’s be savvy about this. There’s a fine line between engaging with the lecturer, and being a smart-arse!
We as a community have an obligation to ensure that university, government, and society do what they can to help those most vulnerable in society. When they fail, we must stand united to create action.
Use your instincts. You ARE an adult. Sit back and watch the room, and see how the other students respond. When a young-gun speaks up, encourage them by making “mmmm”, “ahhhh” and “yes” sounds in support.
This is why in 2017, the Queer Collectives are working with the ALLY Network and Western SRC on Queer Week and the Rainbow Campus campaign, to ensure our pride is because of respect and support for the Queer community, and not despite our failings in aiding vulnerable communities.
We’re in this together!
Rosenstreich, G. (2013) LGBTI People Mental Health and Suicide. National LGBTI Health Alliance. Sydney.
Australia is arguably the most diverse and multicultural country in the world. We actively promote egalitarian views and constantly reiterate the importance of inclusivity through the media and public policy. Despite all these efforts, the prevalence of racism, both conscious and unconscious, still manages to persist due to physical and cultural differences.
The Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers has left a lot of people unhappy.
For this piece, I will be examining the frequently asked question, “Where are you from?” I am usually confronted with this question upon my first contact with people. When asked occasionally, I do not mind answering, however, it’s the repetition of the same question that can be frustrating and embarrassing. I find it extremely difficult to respond with an appropriate answer as I don’t identify with my country of birth or my parent’s ethnic background. I moved to Australia at an extremely young age and I have only experienced life within the Australian culture. When asked repeatedly, I feel my sense of self and positioning in Australia is being questioned. The best answer I can respond with is, “I am from Blacktown”, which is usually considered unacceptable. Noticeably, this question is frequently directed towards people of colour and unintentionally portrays us as the ‘other’. I have observed the adverse effect this has on individuals not only with darker skin, but also those with lighter skin who identify with a specific ethnic background. It can be disheartening when preconceived assumptions based on skin colour limits an individual’s social identity. Please don’t ask me ten times where I’m from. I am mixed raced. I am Australian.
As students, we’re angry. As part-time workers, we’re angry. As a woman, I’m angry. Retail and hospitality are female dominated industries, with the majority of women employed in part-time or casual positions. Samantha Fowler is one of the many working mothers who will suffer under these cuts. Samantha was in her third year of Bachelor of Arts (Pathway to Teaching Primary) when she found out she was pregnant. She left her studies to work full-time before her daughter Layla arrived. Layla is now four months old and Samantha is preparing to return to Gloss as a casual. Her partner works six days a week, and Samantha will be giving up Sundays, family day, for the much-needed money. The high cost of childcare means many women stay home with their children during the week, and work weekends when their family is available to babysit. Samantha will now have to consider getting a second job to make up for the money she will be losing. “There’s not really a choice. I will still have to make money, and give up more time with Layla. Working more hours, for less money.” “People can say all they want that the penalty rate isn’t completely gone – but a pay cut is a pay cut.” It is a pay cut that disproportionately affects women. And is a pay cut that will surely increase the gender pay gap in Australia.
HAWKESBURY HELL Michael Wright
Note: This article deals with transphobia, violence and bullying. It also contains expletives.
“End of last week, I had a threat against me, going ‘we should burn you, we should kill you.’” Transgender students at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus believe that it’s only a matter of time before they are physically assaulted by their peers. One student, Charlie*, told W’SUP that they’d been threatened with weapons by a group of fellow students. “I had people come into the place I was living, with pots, and pans, and bats … it was pretty serious.” A number of students have come forward to W’SUP regarding what they say is systemic transphobic bullying on the campus. Western Sydney University Village at Hawkesbury has been the scene of these violent outbursts, leaving students feeling trapped in their on-campus accommodation. “I’m scared to leave my house half the time,” says Harry*, a trans-male student who lives on campus. “You live in a 300 metre radius from these people, it’s not something you can get away from.” The on-campus student residences are operated on behalf of the University by an external operator, Campus Living Villages (CLV). University policy dictates that any allegations of violence, including at residences, should be dealt with under the Student Misconduct Rule. W’SUP understands that these issues were not referred to the University by CLV, however, and were addressed internally. “The solution was to give them a written warning,” says Charlie, referring to the students who allegedly threatened them with weapons. “There was nothing beyond a sort of slap on the wrist.” When W’SUP approached the University regarding the allegations, a spokesperson denied any knowledge of the incident, or any other instances of transphobic bullying at CLV.
“This has not been reported to the University, and if other students are aware of this type of behaviour, it should be brought to the University’s attention.” Harry stresses that when he discussed feeling unsafe with Village management, he was told there were only limited options available. “They told me that all I could do when it happened was to call the RA [Resident Assistant] or Security. But I’m not confident that security will do anything … and the RAs are just other residents, … there’s not really a lot they can do.” Mr Steve Tucker, General Manager of Western Sydney University Village, says that they have policies in place for responding to any allegations of bullying and harassment. “We work extremely closely with the University support services, who are the experts, as the name suggests, in providing appropriate support.” “Where breach notices (official warnings) are issued for behaviour, these are forwarded to the University for further consideration.” In regards to allegations of physical threats, Tucker says that these would likely “constitute a criminal matter.” “If reported to CLV staff, [threats by armed students] would be reported to the police at the time of reporting.” Charlie, however, says that they believe CLV never involved law enforcement. “There was no ‘you should contact the police or security’… They don’t really give any advice.” Charlie notes that while only a few of their fellow residents were involved in the physical threats, a number of others had harassed them both verbally, and online. “There’s over 100 people living on res, pretty much majority of them had said something to me on social media. [The posts were] really negative. I got a lot of slurs, ‘tranny’ … ‘trap’, stuff like that.” Offline, the attacks are often more venomous, sometimes taking the form of threats. “They said to me, to my face, that they wanted to bash me PAGE I
for being gender confused,” says Charlie. Harry details an incident that happened in early March, days before he spoke with W’SUP. “I had a threat against me, going ‘we should burn you, we should kill you.’” While both Harry and Charlie continue to experience verbal aggression, there have not been any physical incidents since early 2016. On that occasion, Charlie says that certain fellow students came home from a night out, and intentionally intimidated them. “[The other students] were pretty much yelling … and bashing against my windows at like 2 a.m. in the morning.” While both students suggest that heavy drinking and rowdy behaviour is a regular occurrence at the Hawkesbury CLV, they believe that this particular incident was targeted. “[The group] had actually taken the bathroom signs, stolen them from one of the lodges, and they’d stuck the female one to my window.” “[It] was [a] very direct, transphobic sort of thing.” says Charlie, who identifies as non-binary. This means that Charlie doesn’t identify as either male or female, and instead uses gender neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ to refer to themself. Hawkesbury campus has had a number of issues relating to its drinking culture in the past. The on-campus bar was closed in 2012, with then-Vice Chancellor Janice Reid telling students that the move was made “in light of a number of recent incidents.” W’SUP understands that at least one of these events allegedly involved patrons assaulting bar and University staff. This hasn’t completely resolved the issue however. “Every Thursday night [a group of students] go drinking, to the extreme.” says Harry. “They do pre-drinks on campus, and then about nine o’clock they get a limo, which is supplied by The Clarendon.” “They’ve been kicked out of every other bar.” Charlie says that the alcohol definitely emboldens the aggressors. “The violent attacks against me have all been when they have been drinking, so they’ve all been on bar nights.” “Is it a matter of time before they get drunk, or even if they’re sober, for something to happen?” asks Harry. He believes he’s waiting for the inevitable, and that while he lives on campus, he won’t be safe. “I don’t want to be living here, I don’t want to be near these people.” Due to the wording of their contracts however, Harry and Charlie look to be stuck on campus until at least the end of the year. PAGE J
“You either have to pay out the rest of your contract … till December – or to go on a waiting list for someone to take over your contract.” Harry says that neither are feasible options, as he cannot afford the former, and the latter is impractical. “[Village management] could probably just give you 24 hours’ notice to move out. I would have no-where to move to.” Mr Tucker says that although the contracts are legally binding, CLV is committed to the safety of residents. “There are provisions under which we can authorise early release without continued financial obligation, however claims regarding personal safety or any other grounds would need to be evidenced and substantiated.” In Harry and Charlie’s minds, moving off campus is the only solution. “[Your home’s] supposed to be a safe space; it’s supposed to be your space. You can’t really feel safe when there’s people who want to hurt you for being trans.” Both Charlie and Harry believe that the University could be doing more to help queer students like them. “Being at Mardi Gras is a very superficial sort of ‘oh, look, we support our Queer Students,’” sighs Charlie. “There have been those few staff members who have been really good with us [the Queer Collective], but beyond that, it’s really difficult.” However, the University has stepped up its focus on LGBTIQ+ issues in the past two years. According to a spokesperson, there are a number of initiatives “promoting respect and inclusion of LGBTIQ young people.” including the soon to be released Sexuality and Gender Diversity Strategy 2017 – 2020. “The Ally Network is conducting a campus climate study to measure the homophobic/transphobic experiences of students and staff on campus, called the Diversity and Safety on Campus Project.” Any students who have experienced verbal or physical aggression are advised to contact security on 1300 737 003. If you are in immediate danger, contact Police on 000. If you need to speak with someone regarding this article, contact details for several counselling services can be found on the inside cover of this publication.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy The W'SUP Publications Committee engaged the services of independent expert legal advice prior to the publication of this article.
QUEER SERVICES DIRECTORY WESTERN SYDNEY U QUEER COLLECTIVES
The Queer Collective is a place for students and staff of diverse sexualities and genders (including questioning and ally members) at Western Sydney University. The role of the Queer Collective is to provide safe and comfortable spaces, hold fun events and advocate for more inclusive policy and practices at Western Sydney University. They also act as the representatives of queer students, contributing to feedback and discussion to encourage diversity within the University and campus life.
QLife provides a web chat and telephone counselling, as well as referral and support services for the LGBTIQ community. It is peer supported and can be really useful for early intervention. QLife have also collated a database of other fantastic services: qlife.org.au/support. Visit qlife.org. au or call 1800 184 527, 3p.m. to Midnight, 7 days a week.
Pop by the Queer room on your campus to chat about the Collective and how to get involved: Bankstown: 1.1.212 Campbelltown: 4.G.07 Parramatta South: EB.3.16 Parramatta City: PC.1.1.37 Kingswood: N.G.03 Hawkesbury: K4.G.79
WESTERN SYDNEY U ALLY NETWORK The ALLY Network consists of trained staff and students who commit to a future of safe, supportive and respectful environment for all LGBTIQ community members. Allies also demonstrate support for LGBTIQ staff and students though taking part in events such as Wear It Purple Day and Mardi Gras. They can also answer any questions about being a member of, or supporting, the Queer community. Contact Equity and Diversity on (02) 9678 7378 or visit westernsydney.edu.au/ally
WESTERN SYDNEY U COUNSELLING A team of qualified social workers and psychologists to help you with any issues affecting your study. If youâ€™re not sure that university is for you, a counsellor may be able to offer advice and support or help you improve your study skills. Counselling is free, confidential and you can contact a counsellor via email if you prefer. Visit westernsydney.edu.au/counselling, call 9852 5199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
TWENTY10 AND GLCS NSW Twenty10 incorporating GLCS (Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service) NSW is a community-based, nonprofit, state-wide organisation, working with and supporting people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and communities. They provide a broad range of specialised services for young people aged 12-25 including housing, mental health, counselling and social support. You can find out more at twenty10.org.au or contact them at email@example.com or on (02) 9698 3831.
ACON ACON is a sexual and mental health service focussing on safe sex, contraception, HIV prevention and support, and LGBTI health. They are a major provider of sexual health resources based around providing condoms and other sexual safety resources (as well as promoting feminine sexuality) through their I Love Claude and How Hard projects. For more info visit acon.org.au or hit up firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GENDER CENTRE The Gender Centre is a support network for people with gender issues, their partners, family members and friends in New South Wales. They provide an accommodation service that also acts as an education, support, training and referral resource centre for other organisations and service providers. All discussions are confidential. You can find out more by visiting gendercentre.org.au or calling (02) 9519 7599.
GLITTER UNLIMITED Grant Murray
On the 4th March, 2017 a group of Western staff and students marched their way to the Syd CBD in anticipation for celebrating Mardi Gras, marching for equality. Students were excited, staff were enthusiastic and the (Western float) organisers were very proud of their efforts. The vibe was electrifying in anticipation, although the wait for the loo was dampening to say the least. I marched last year alongside the Western float, and it just did not compare to this year’s. The feeling was even more ecstatic and there was such a collective cheer to be involved in such a major event. Also, the sense of community was visible. Every Western student and staff member who marched/danced committed to the shared sense of pride in their attendance. We were accompanied by Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University, and Dr Sev Ozdowski AM, Director, Equity and Diversity. These executive members of the University staff were enthusiastically welcomed albeit ignorantly, because let’s face it the average student has no idea who these people are. Especially when they don’t introduce themselves to the general student population. I think it is a great initiative that the Office of Equity and Diversity gave the University executive members the opportunity to attend our beloved parade. For a number of reasons: 1. Actually looking like some University staff members give a damn about the Western students who identify as LGBTIQ+. 2. Supporting a wider community cause. 3. Involving themselves in initiatives that are student endorsed/organised and student supporting. But is this really enough I ask myself? Does the majority of the University support marriage equality? In my opinion, probably. I rarely meet people who reject the notion of multiple valid gender, sex and sexuality identities. But for those who do, I’ll PAGE L
paraphrase Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Hottest World Leader; ‘it’s 2017’. We live in the modern era and our University is still ashamed to publicly announce its support of marriage equality and act on supporting transgender identifying students. It is time for the University to publicly demonstrate that we are a university which is proud of its #glitterunlimited students and their diversity. I would absolutely love to see the University demonstrate this by pledging support of marriage equality at australianmarriageequality.org/ I would also love to see a commitment to access for Transgender students with ungendered unisex bathrooms on all Western campuses and not just the token one, which is also accessible for students with disabilities. I would hate to think our fellow students (with disabilities) are waiting for the bathroom just because it is the only one that a trans student feels comfortable (or just needs) to use. It is time for the University to act. It is time for Western to become truly #glitterunlimited if they think they are #prideunlimited. I have no question I will return with Western next year to Mardi Gras ‘18. Who knows, maybe Western will celebrate coming out as officially proud and make it a big thing during the parade? Western Sydney University's participation in Mardi Gras is organised by a proactive team of staff, students and alumni volunteers. The committee met from early November and worked hard to ensure the night went off without a hitch. Students are encouraged to get involved in 2018 in helping set the theme, decorating the float, designing costumes and deciding how we celebrate #prideunlimited. To find out more about LGBTIQ+ projects, join the ALLY Network and your campus’ Queer Collective. - Lisa Lewis, 2017 Mardi Gras Committee member.
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LGBT Exclusivity â€“ Privilege in Binary? Maxwelle-Jane Dwyer
Within the last 10 years, major strides in the queer equality movement have led to the increased decriminalisation of homosexuality and major strides in the ability for transgender individuals to transition legally and socially. These accomplishments are heart-warming as they have led to greater social acceptance and quality of life for individuals who struggle with their identities. However, have we really progressed that far when Marriage Equality and Bathroom Bills are considered the "great battles" of the century? This may sound like an odd point to you. "Of course these are great battles" you may proclaim, and you are right! These are serious equity issues that need to be addressed. But in fighting for the rights of the binary LGBT, have we forgotten those with issues more drastic than our own? Consider the following. As a polyamorous individual, Marriage Equality isn't the full picture. To explain for those who haven't heard of polyamory in the past, polyamory is a romantic/sexual orientation that simply means to love multiple people and/or partners. In the context of Marriage Equality it is largely ignored as polyamorous relationships are less common than monogamous (single partner) samesex relationships. To give a personal anecdote, Marriage Equality is equal in the sense that it would allow me to marry my girlfriend, but not any other partners that I date concurrently. That's not equal! My legal partnerships couldn't be as complete as a monogamous partnership, as I would only be able to choose one of my partners. If they're both equal, it means no marriage, no de-facto under the law, and no equality of outcome compared to my monogamous friends. And that's assuming people even defend polyamory. While universities such as Monash, USyd, and UTS have signed the Australian Marriage Equality pledge, Western Sydney University, for all of its declarations of being pride friendly, have not demonstrated support for monogamous Marriage Equality through a pledge. If one of the most progressive universities in NSW hasn't signed this pledge, what support (if any) would they offer to polyamorous individuals? Furthermore, while Norrie's Case allowed for some minor improvements in the way the law handles non-binary individuals by granting them an X gender marker on some
government forms, challenging Bathroom Bills still leaves non-binary individuals undefended, while these equity engagements aid binary transgender individuals in their right to their own bathroom, people who don't identify with the binary are forced into choosing a bathroom inconsistent with their identity or worse, sending them to the disabled bathroom, suggesting that their identity is a disability of its own right. Embarrassing and degrading. Even Western Sydney suffers from an issue with tokenism, where many campuses have a single token unisex bathroom which is inconvenient at best for non-binary students to find and use. It should be noted that the majority of University forms are still Male/Female with no room for declining to state gender or an â€œOtherâ€? option vital to feeling understood, supported, and encouraged by the University. Now, at no point would I ever suggest we stop fighting for Marriage Equality, against Bathroom Bills, and for policy improvements within University. These fights directly support me as an individual of binary(ish) sexuality and binary gender. But have we not neglected those who face even worse prejudice than us? We all have a duty to stand up to injustices in this world, especially in the Trump era. But can you look at yourself and say that you have done your share to challenge the injustices against those who face tougher obstacles in social and legal acceptance? The way I see it, we all have more work to do. Queer rights are human rights. And no Queer person should be more equal than another.
Image of the Ground Floor Unisex Ambulant Bathroom at 1PSQ, and its Binary Gender Signage PAGE O
cing benefi ts and risks
g alcohol involves balancing the pleasur e of socialising, the taste oyment with food, with the health and social risks.
The National Health and Medical Resear ch Council (NHMRC) r ecommends that if you are planning a pr egnancy, pr egnant and/or br eastfeeding, it is safest not to drink alcohol.
questions to ask yourself
The NHMRC has made this r ecommendation to help you r educe the risk of harm from alcohol to both you and your baby .
you contr ol when you start or stop drinking?
It is not known yet how much alcohol is safe to drink when you ar e pregnant. However, it is known that the risk of damage to your baby incr eases the mor e you drink, and that binge drinking is especially harmful. Ther efore, drinking no alcohol is the safest choice for your baby .
ou have diffi culties controlling how much you drink?
ou suf fer nausea, vomiting and headaches after drinking?
ou unable to meet family, personal, work commitments after drinking?
ou suf fer legal or fi nancial problems as a r esult of your drinking?
more information visit drinkwise.org.au or if you ar e concer ned our alcohol consumption speak to your doctor .
* Restricted to ages 18+
ou verbally or physically abusive?
It is important that you seek advice about alcohol by talking to your doctor . To get the facts on the ef fects of alcohol while pr egnant, trying to fall pregnant or breastfeeding, visit drinkwise.org.au