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UC queer students want space

By Kerces - 16 February 2006 73

Earlier there was some discussion about what’s happening for O Week at the universities around town.

Yesterday the University of Canberra held their market day — when the various clubs, societies and anyone else wanting to flog things to students set up a stall and proceed to flog.

This being one of the biggest crowd-attracting events (possibly because it’s also about the time people start thinking about everything they need to do to get organised for next week), it was also the day the Student Association and queer collective UCanQ chose to launch their campaign for a dedicated queer space at UC.

Queer space campaign launch

I headed on down to the uni in the afternoon, mainly in search of textbooks, cheap newspapers and so on, and caught up with UCSA Sexuality Officer Jessica Rodgers who is leading the campaign.

Jess said the launch included speeches by herself, national Queer Affairs Officer Rachel Evans, Wollongong Uni Queer Officer Karlee Jones and UTS Queer Officer Chris Brew (who is an ex UC and ANU student). It looks like from the photos she sent me they had a bit of a march as well.

At this stage the campaign mainly consisted of getting people to sign a petition to the University asking for a queer space, as well as flyers, posters, chalked messages and a stall all aimed at raising awareness of the issue.

UCanQ stall

One of the flyers explained that a queer space is “a room for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, genderqueer and questioning students”.

“A queer only space provides a safe space for queer students to meet, socialise, politically organise and simply act without fear in public, in a way that heterosexual students take for granted.”

Jess said, “We desperately need a queer space to help queer students come out. Queer Spaces are safe spaces where queer students can feel comfortable to be themselves and not fear queerphobia, which can sometimes take the form of violence; they can seek out information and build strong networks.”

“We have not identified a space as yet, we are more hoping to build the launch, build interest and get more people to help.”

In the hour or so before I arrived the campaigners collected more than 150 signatures and said they had found most clubs and societies were supportive of their cause. Thirteen activists from NSW universities came to help out and Jess said they were making sure to explain the cause to people signing the petition, not “just shoving it in their face”.

She said she hoped to be able to put in a submission to the University, including the petition circulating yesterday, in a month’s time.

What’s Your opinion?


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73 Responses to
UC queer students want space
Absent Diane 11:18 am 16 Feb 06

I guess if people really want access to this free room they can feign fagness (meant with the upmost respect)… in the end it doesn’t really matter… and has no real affect on anything…..
but then on the other hand Im sure that if asked for a free room for the Eradicate Christian Nazi’s (and other violent imaginary belief systems) then I would be completely ignored…

Ari 11:11 am 16 Feb 06

What’s the need for a queer space? I hear there’s a perfectly good bar called the Phoenix where Johnboy and his “homo mates” hang out.

RandomGit 11:10 am 16 Feb 06

Discriminated even!

RandomGit 11:01 am 16 Feb 06

Homosexuals get a free room and heteros don’t because heteros aren’t discrimated on for being hetero. Homosexuals get the injustice, so they need a place to get some support.

Just like women got a lot of injustice, so they need support to compensate for that.

It isn’t rocket science.

colsim 10:28 am 16 Feb 06

Classic downwards envy – “oh my god, someone else is getting (well, asking for) special treatment (a room – unis are full of them) and I’m not getting special treatment therefore I’m going to bleat and bellow and whinge about it”.

How precisely does it affect you whether a room is provided or not. If we indeed did live in a world that was 100% tolerant and accepting of difference, sure it might be asking more than is necessary but if these people genuinely feel a need for a private space maybe that’s more a reflection of the fact that the Howard Youth are a bunch of selfish, bigoted redneck fucks. (IMHO)

As for objections to womens refuges – again, maybe some women know what they want at times of trouble and/or in the face of abuse.

Where the money comes from is a question I guess – presumably this isn’t something that’ll come from student unions anymore and I’d be just as supportive of the uni footy club’s right to ask for a clubhouse (which presumably wouldn’t be occupied by people not there to play footy – as divisive as this may seem)

Kerces 10:25 am 16 Feb 06

Yes, I believe the national Queer Affairs Officer is an NUS appointment. Apparently there’s two and at least on has to be female.

(I’m told she’s going to be up on the hill watching the RU486 vote today if anyone wants to meet her)

Unbeliever 10:25 am 16 Feb 06

I don’t know about UC, but the uni I attended had a student union body which was able to provide rooms on campus for a whole range of clubs/activities. Fortunately, this was one of the few unis in oz which had had decades of student union membership and was able to sustain vital student services even after state-bases VSU was introduced.

This demand is no different to the range of clubs on campus which care enough to demand and get their own space. UC will probably come around soon – keep up the good work.

bulldog 9:59 am 16 Feb 06

here’s a sheep molestation link I prepared earlier….

[link]

Might have to cut n’ paste it as I am a bit of techno-tard.

barking toad 9:44 am 16 Feb 06

Oh, ffs this is just another example of “I’m gay and I demand your attention because of it”.

Tell someone who cares because I couldn’t give a flying – and I sodomise sheep (Warning : sheep fucking is illegal)

Thumper 9:29 am 16 Feb 06

I agree with Bulldog on this issue.

What a total and absolute load of crap. Its a fucking university for Christsake.

This sort of us and them attitude is half the problem. Can you imagine what the rednecks out there are saying now? This is simply diversive and will not help in any way.

If I were to demand a straight space area or an area designated ‘non gays’ it would be seen as discrimination.

There are certainly so many more worthy things and issues that they could be concentrating on.

simto 9:12 am 16 Feb 06

It’s a development of the standard university continuum of “women’s rooms”, which are in turn developments of the “women’s refuge” system in general society.

No, neither of them are particularly things I agree with (there are many things that should be done to help a woman in a domestic violence situation, but putting her in an environment where an entire gender is seen as the enemy is not one of them), but this is where this stuff is coming from.

That and, since universities have seen a proliferation of sexuality officers, they need something to do, and organising dance parties make them feel shallow.

che 9:01 am 16 Feb 06

but Davith is the only gay in the village, you can’t be an gay

johnboy 8:59 am 16 Feb 06

national Queer Affairs Officer Rachel Evans

I take it that’s an NUS appointment?

bulldog 8:58 am 16 Feb 06

Seems to have very little to do with equality – can the hetero’s have a “queer-free zone”? No, that would be seen as discrimination. IMHO this is a huge load of crap – I understand that there are various issues here, but segregation is not the answer.

Mr Evil 8:49 am 16 Feb 06

If they want a space, then let them pay for it!

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