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July 21, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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UniQ Conference 2009

On the weekend of 10 to 12 July, UniQ Victoria hosted the annual UniQ Aotearoa conference, where representatives of different UniQ groups came to meet from around the country to discuss issues facing queer students and the wider community. A series of workshops were held, starting with Dr Alison Laurie’s ‘Queering New Zealand’ lecture, which gave an overview of queer history in New Zealand, starting from the colonisation through to the present day.

Natalie and Debbie from Agender came to talk about trans-inclusion on campus and the problems facing trans students. After a brief break, Jasmine and Freya from VUWSA held a workshop on queer student’s issues within universities and student’s associations. They highlighted the fact that many students’ associations do not currently have a Queer Rights Officer or UniQ and pressed for the creation of such roles and rep groups. After lunch, the group was broken into three workshops consisting of pakeha privilege within the queer community, fighting fat phobia and challenging body image, and breaking down the stigmas attached to HIV. These three workshops all aided wider understanding of common problems within the queer community. To finish our glorious Saturday, Sandra Dickson from the Wellington Sexual Abuse Network had a chat with the group about her Sexual Ethics Programme and what she plans to achieve with it.

Saturday night was celebrated with the annual UniQ ball, with the fun theme of burlesque. A great night was had by all, with themed performances from Rachael Wright, Stephen Jackson, and Ellie Kat. Prizes were awarded to the dykiest walk, horniest couple, most skin showing, highest heels, and exec pet (which went to Becky from Canterbury for her amazing insight in the fat-phobia workshop and being the only one of her group to pay in full at the correct time). The after party was held at Ivy with an 80s theme in conjunction with Aaron and Andy’s Homosexual Law Reform anniversary party. All in all, a great night was had by everyone.

The next day, despite all being a little worse for wear, we listened to Elizabeth Kerekere’s workshop on Takatāpui, who raised much of the same points as Dr. Laurie, and told everyone of how Maori culture was traditionally more accepting towards homosexuality, as long as the familial lines continued. We then spent hours (literally, we delayed lunch much to co-president Rachael Wright’s dismay) discussing motions that UniQ Aotearoa could put forward at the next NZUSA conference in September and others to put into a constitution, bringing us together as a stronger national body.

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  1. Caitlin says:

    Stephen Jackson co-authored this!!!

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