By Ash Taylor
June is International Pride Month – a time to celebrate and uplift diverse LGBTQ+ voices and identities around the world.
Pride is celebrated in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York. Led predominately by Black transgender women, the Stonewall Uprising kicked off the modern LGBTQ+ Rights movement.
One year later, in 1970, Christabel Poll and John Ware came out. In an article published in the Australian, Ms Poll and Mr Ware became the first people in Australia to publicly discuss their identities using their full names and photographs. Their courage helped launch the Gay Rights movement in Australia.
Today approximately 4% of the Australian population identifies as LGB+, and around 1% identify as transgender or gender diverse. Unfortunately, nearly half of all LGBTQ+ Australians don’t feel safe to be open about their identities, and LGBTQ+ Australians are more likely to struggle with their mental health – that’s why it’s so important to listen to and support LGBTQ+ individuals.
For some, moving away from home and attending university can be their first opportunity to truly be themselves.
But this can also be scary. Communities, clubs, and social organisations all play a role in helping LGBTQ+ people feel safe and supported.
UNE has a very diverse range of both students and staff. A member of ACON’s Welcome Here Project, UNE also established its Ally Network in 2022, which aims to provide a visible network of approachable allies for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as further establish UNE as a safe and inclusive environment.
Although LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way, many members of the community still face very real and significant challenges. ABC Queer has compiled a list of services that provide support to the LGBTQ+ community, and UNE’s Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available for UNE students.