This issue is a special one for me. I remember coming across it as a wide-eyed, closeted, first-year student from a traditional, all-boys high school, who had been brought up in a Christian household. Reading Queerlient for the first time, I felt I finally belonged to a community that accepted me, for me. What a wonderful feeling.
As I became more open about my sexuality ‘little’ things like Queerlient helped build my confidence during my formative years. I’m sure some of you reading this will be in the same position I was four years ago. You’re looking for Queerlient. You’re looking for UniQ. You’re looking for something that says Victoria accepts you, for you.
I’m lucky to have a community that accepts me. But it’s not always easy. At times I feel I can’t relate to my straight friends, or I get that odd comment about being ‘camp’ or ‘girly’. At times I’ve needed a queer role model to look up to, to remind me things will get better.
A couple weeks ago the UniQ President, Alex Mark, and I discussed how Victoria can better support queer students with the University’s Director for Student Academic Services. We discussed having a queer-friendly student-staff network, the issue of deadnames (referring to a transgender person’s birth name instead of their chosen name), queer mentoring, and the importance of having a safe space for queer students on campus.
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Many students including me chose Vic, in-part, due to the belief it’s inclusive. We chose Vic because it’s a capital-city university, located in the depths of a city where laws like homosexual law reform and marriage equality were passed. It can’t just be Queerlient or UniQ supporting queer students. Victoria needs to support queer students too.
After I graduate I hope I can say it supported me during some of the most formative years of my life. I hope I can proudly say, “Victoria supports queer students.”
What a wonderful feeling that would be.