06 August 2014


Hello glorious membership, 

I’m Liam Carrigan, the Queer Portfolio Holder for the 2014-2015 Board. 

It’s my responsibility to ensure that the interests, welfare and needs of every queer student on campus are considered by our organization in every decision we make. That means no matter what shade of the rainbow you identify with or where you fall on the gender spectrum I’m here to champion you and that’s a privilege I really cherish.

University for queer students is an intimidating experience.  Even though it’s a common perception that Universities are progressive havens for students in contrast to the battleground that high school often is, there are still regular reports of queerphobic violence and language on campus. Discrimination and misinformation is still rife, which often proves socially isolating for many students at what is a time to test boundaries, experiment and discover one’s identity. These barriers are even more pronounced for ethno-cultural students, rural students, wom*n identifying students and trans students. Whatever your background or identity the USU is committed to providing a safe and inclusive community on campus.    

I personally understand the immensely positive impact the incredible diversity, spirit and colour the queer community on campus can have on a students time here. For the first time in my life aspects of my identity I had taught to be ashamed of were celebrated and accepted by the friends I made and experiences I had within the union. I spent my first year on campus as part of the SHADES executive; easily the best society on campus. SHADES host social events for queer people and every party they have held has had a special place in my heart. Also being a cast member of the 2013 Queer Revue and its tour to Melbourne was easily the most challenging and enriching thing I did in my first year if you exclude the fact I had to perform in my underwear on roller-skates.

I’m not going to lie: I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. After years of inactivity the Queer Portfolio experienced a renaissance under the leadership of my predecessor, Robby Magyar. Just some of his achievements include providing funding for ten delegates to Queer Collaborations, advocating for and instating the first gender-neutral bathroom in a union building. With Robby I will fight to ensure that there is at least one gender-neutral bathroom in every union building. Most impressively, Robby undertook a comprehensive, landmark Queer Review that provided extensive recommendations and worthy insights for our communities place within the Union.

My vision for the portfolio includes consultation with the Queer Collective, which meet every Monday at 1pm in the Queer Space, to ensure I’m being held to account by my community. Make sure you come along if you identify as queer. The collective have also started an autonomous non-cis males group, Queerkats, who meet every Thursday at 1pm. I’m also intending to advocate for the mandatory inclusion of Queer officers in all faculty societies, taking action on the recommendations of the Queer Review and looking into issues of autonomy and queer representation within the Union. I’m also going to be running a campaign with the Wom*n’s Portfolio Holder, Kate Bullen, based on critiquing discriminatory or offensive language within the University community. Finally I’d love to look into providing more comprehensive orientation for new queer students to ensure everyone when feels welcome and supported as soon as they step onto campus.

Finally it couldn’t be a better time to be queer on campus. Thanks to the incredible hard work of our Queer Events Coordinators Alex Daly and Eloise Layard this week is awash with rainbows as we celebrate Pride Festival. There are some incredible events lined up: the upcoming 2014 queer revue ‘The Dykemare before Christmas’ will be providing us with a sneak preview, Crafternoons and consent workshops abound and we will be capping it off with SHADES ‘Back to School Party’. Check at the full program at: http://usu.edu.au/Bars-Events/Festivals/Pride-Festival.aspx

We are already a two days in – getting lightly hit by a bus unfortunately delayed the writing of this blog post! 

No matter who you are or who you love your USU supports you, so come celebrate!

I’ll see you at the next SHADES party,

Liam Carrigan
Queer Portfolio Holder – Board Director

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