PRIDE WEEK 2015: BROADENING THE SCOPE
It’s time to get your mind and body ready for Pride Week: the three day festival celebrating everything and everyone in the University of Sydney Queer community. From stretching your muscles in queer/trans* yoga, to opening your mind with discussions on queerphobia in education systems, Pride Week engages and celebrates every aspect of the Queer community.
Pride Week is a joint initiative run by the University of Sydney Union and the SRC Queer Action Collective and is led by this year’s Queer coordinators Georgia and Charlie. They took on the role together after becoming involved and inspired themselves by the on-campus Queer community.
Georgia and Charlie have used their experiences to create a comfortable, safe and inclusive space for all Queer students and the wider Queer community at this year’s Pride Week.
From putting on a small OWeek event, they now have a huge opportunity to reach out to queer students at this festival. They’ve focused on creating a festival celebrating the nuances and diversity of the queer community, with a vast array of events to make it more intersectional and welcoming of people who aren’t as involved in the Queer community.
Georgia, a fourth year Arts student, speaks of the importance of broadening the scope of Queer festivals “the Queer community has the tremendous potential to break down social boundaries, particularly at university. Through broadening the scope of the festival, different experiences are able to be recognised and a more inclusive environment can be created.”
Together, they’ve faced the somewhat daunting (but fun!) challenge of organising the festival. “It’s been a challenge to get a vast array of Sydney’s Queer groups together, particularly as they’re all exhausted after Mardi Gras, but it’s nonetheless been a fun challenge” says Charlie. Georgia’s enthusiasm for involving Sydney’s diverse queer groups beyond those on campus has seen the scope of Pride Week broadened, “it’s important to recognise that there are people who aren’t as involved in the Queer community, and we wanted to create events that cater to that.” Georgia and Charlie have done this through a variety of different events, moving away from just the traditional “talky” workshops. Sports events, like yoga and swing class create a different way to celebrate the Queer community, and create a sense of inclusivity for all queer community members. Events like t-shirt printing, sex workshops and panel discussions allow students, particularly newcomers and people who are less confident in their sexuality to explore their identity in a comfortable, safe space.
Georgia and Charlie speak of the challenges faced by young people in the Queer community, and the significant role festivals and events like this play in creating a safe environment for young people. “For a lot of people, this can serve as their primary support network. Whether it’s people that come from high schools with ingrained cultures of homophobia, or families that haven’t been receptive, it’s important to facilitate safe spaces for people to get together and create that continuous chain of support.”
What’s next? Charlie and Georgia hope that the festival will showcase how giving the queer community is and encourage people to get more involved in upcoming events and initiatives “if you see us at an event, just come and say hi – even if you’re not sure how you can get involved, we’d love to meet as many new people as possible”.