Celebrating a new era of Pride at Flinders

Flinders University’s revitalised Pride Network was officially launched on Monday 1 August with a commitment to promoting inclusion and community for members of the LGBTQIA+ community at Flinders.

The event, held in The Tav at Bedford Park, was attended by people from across the University community.

Pride Network co-chairs Dr Jessie Shipman and Dr Monica Cations welcomed attendees to the event, and explained that the Pride Network is designed to enhance University culture by creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for members of the Flinders community who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning, asexual, as well as other expressions of gender, sex, sexuality, and identity (LGBTIQA+).

Jessie and Monica also introduced the new Pride Network Committee, which is made up of student and staff representatives from all areas of the University.

The Committee is looking for a staff representative from the College of Science and Engineering. If you are interested in filling the role, please contact the Pride Network at pride@flinders.edu.au.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Romy Lawson spoke about the importance of the network in addressing discrimination, harassment and vilification, all of which she has experienced first hand.

“It is important when addressing discrimination that these individual experiences are acknowledged. People who experience discrimination on the basis of sex, gender or sexuality simply want to enjoy the same rights as others in the community; rights that so many take for granted,” said Professor Lawson.

Liz McNeill from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences shared the history of the Ally movement, which started at UWA in 2002. Liz acknowledged the work of Jan Thompson, who was pivotal in bringing the concept to Flinders University in 2003 and founded the first Ally Network in 2005, along with Lisa O’Neill, who supported and promoted the network.

Liz explained that Flinders was the first university in South Australia to form an Ally network, which provided the foundation for the Pride Network, and she shared her experiences from being a part of the Ally Network.

“We help create a safe space to help staff, students and their families to form new communities and identities,” said Liz.

Student Queer Collective President Darlyn Tan-Sik spoke to the audience about constant challenges to achieve equity and acceptance and the importance of students having a voice in this conversation.

For more information about the Pride Network, visit the Network’s website: https://staff.flinders.edu.au/employee-resources/working-at-flinders/equal-opportunity/sexual-and-gender-diversity/pride-network

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