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Rainbow flags fly high for equality at USQ

Taking part in IDAHOT Day events at USQ (from left) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Services) Professor Ken Udas with Ally Network members Megan Cooper, Student Services Director Christie White, Dr Geoffrey Parks and Kate Charles.
The rainbow flags flew proudly over USQ campuses yesterday to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).

USQ was swathed in rainbow with a number of activities held at Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich to show the University’s support of the LGBTIQ community and USQ’s Ally Network.

The Ally Network aims to provide a safe zone and visible support network for students and staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer.

For Ally Network and USQ staff member Megan Cooper, IDAHOT Day was important to recognise.

“One thing we should do as a society is stand up together and say no to persecution, fear and the threat of physical, social or emotional violence,” she said.

“And realistically, while pockets of fear and hate still reside in the darker corners of our society, we need to show our support for each other at every opportunity.”

When Ms Cooper saw the rainbow flag flying at the top of the front drive at USQ Toowoomba she was brought to tears.

“It symbolises a voice for a group that may have had to sit below the radar,” she said.

“It symbolises courage and strength. And it symbolises that USQ is a place that truly values the beautiful diversity of its students and staff.”

As part of the day’s activities USQ also launched its Library Safe Place initiative a collaboration between the Library and Student Services.

“This initiative aims to accentuate the Library’s commitment to provide a visible and inclusive safe place for staff and students,” Library Services Director Carmel O’Sullivan said.

“Our LGBTIQ community can be assured that the library is a designated safe place for all students and staff to work and study, free from harassment or discrimination based on sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.”

Library staff are receiving USQ Ally training, will have access to resources and equipped with a network of professional referrals.

For more information on USQ’s Ally Network visit: www.usq.edu.au/current-students/support/ally.