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How UON’s Queer Collective is Continuing to Support Students Despite COVID-19 Restrictions

Hollie Hughes caught up with TJ Hays from UON’s Queer Collective to talk about it’s upcoming Pride week celebrations, and, support for LGBTQIA+ students.

The Queer Collective at UON is the University’s autonomous representative body for students who identify as LGBTQIA+. The group’s executive team meet regularly to plan and host events designed to raise awareness of issues impacting the queer community, and to build a sense of inclusion on campus.

Due to COVID-19 some of the Collective’s big plans for 2020 have been unable to run, but, fortunately there are still many more events scheduled for the second half of the year!

Normally held in the last week of August, UON’s annual Pride celebrations had to be postponed due to the pandemic. However, Queer Convenor TJ Hay says the Collective are planning to run various events and activities in a couple of months to ensure that the queer community feel supported and celebrated,

“COVID-19 has unfortunately really impacted Pride this year. However, this year we have moved it to October and instead of holding Pride events for one week the celebration will be run from October 12th – 30th. A number of our activities will be online but hopefully if COVID-19 cases remain low in the Newcastle area we will be able to hold some in person events.”

For allies – TJ says because of the lack of events and in person spaces available for the LGBTQIA+ community to connect due to COVID-19 restrictions, now is a great time to step up and show your support,

“One of the biggest things that allies can continue to do is to keep being educated about LGBTQIA+ issues and people. You can find really great resources from organisations like ACON, Minus18 and more. There are also other things you can do like calling out anti-LGBTQIA+ conversations when you hear them and introducing yourself with your pronouns. It’s also important to listen to people who are LGBTQIA+ and be ready to be reflective.”

In normal circumstances, students would be able to go to the Queer Space in the UNSA building for information, time out or a chat, but, due to restrictions the best way to get in contact with the Queer Collective is through Facebook or email.

Feature Image: Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Designer

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