Words || Amber Loomis
In the days of the postal survey, tensions are running high. In the midst of the ‘debate’ surrounding marriage equality, it is paramount that the Macquarie University Ally Network extends its sincerest support for our LGBTIQA+ students and staff.
Announcing support for marriage equality is one way to show the significance this conversation has on our campus. For this reason, the Ally Network at MQ has worked to collect a range of marriage equality support statements from departments, groups, students, and staff. As of late, public supporters include: Academic Senate, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee, the Dept of Biological Sciences, the Dept of Anthropology, Faculty of Human Sciences, the Dept of Physics and Astronomy, the Philosophy Dept, Dept of Biomedical Sciences, Dept of Psychology, Dept of International Studies, Student Equity and Diversity, the MQ Library, Dunmore Lang College, PACE, a number of individuals from the Law School, Grapeshot and the Queer Collective.
The list continues to grow.
At Macquarie, the Ally Network is comprised of students and staff who are knowledgeable (but not experts) about issues facing members of the LGBTIQA+ community. Allies undertake training related to understanding sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, intersectionality, diversity & inclusion and ways to support people who are part of the LGBTIQA+ community and where to find further support and services. Ally Network training also includes active bystander skill development, which is aimed towards combating homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and other forms of prejudice. Allies may or may not be from the LGBTIQA+ community.
In the words of Mariella Herberstein, here’s what it means to be a part of the Ally Network:
“I joined the Ally network in 2010 after being invited to one of the workshops. While I was participating in the workshop, I thought ‘surely we no longer need this sort of awareness training’. My assumption was that everyone is well aware of the issues faced by LGBTIQA+ staff and students and that everyone is indeed an ally of sorts. It was not until a bit later that I realised the need for ongoing awareness training (including for myself) and the need for visible allies.
In the Department of Biological Sciences we ran, through Equity and Diversity, several training sessions and many professional and academic staff signed up to the ally network, and have stickers on their office door as a clear signal of their support of LGBTIQA+ staff and students. I make sure whenever I lecture, I not only introduce myself and my area of expertise, but also that I am an ally member.
At this time, when the question of marriage equality is being discussed at home and on campus, an active and visible ally network lets everyone know that we are here and that we support sexual and gender diversity, regardless of the outcome of this postal survey.”
In a time where inclusion, support, and diversity must be celebrated louder than ever, it is crucial that our Macquarie community stands up and takes action when it counts.
You can join the Ally Network for a morning tea from 10-11am on Thursday 12 October outside the library. The event is an opportunity to say thank you to those who have supported our LGBTIQA+ community, as well as provide a chance for those who haven’t posted their surveys to do so. Students and staff welcome.