For a week in November all the colours of the rainbow shine bright on Curtin’s Bentley Campus as it celebrates Pride Week in support of equality for lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual and intersex (LGTBI) people.
Ranked the second best employer in Australia for diversity in the workforce and a main sponsor of Pride WA, Curtin’s impact is significant. This year, Curtin has held a number of on-campus Pride events and has a large contingent of LGTBI staff and students representing Curtin at the Pride Week festivities.
Curtin’s Director of Support Services Michelle Rogers said Curtin’s contributions to Pride Week included the popular rainbow hexagon crossway, a Pride breakfast for staff and students, a Pride flag raising ceremony, a new rainbow light display at the Curtin stadium and the biggest Curtin group marching in the parade to-date.
“We’ve had over 40 people march in the [Pride] contingent, it’s the biggest number we’ve ever had in the parade ever, which is fantastic,” she said.
“We’ve got rainbow glow sticks, lots of sparkle, we’ve got wings and rainbow umbrellas, plus Rodney the golf buggy.”
This is the second year that Curtin has sponsored pride WA, and the University is making sure it effectively gets the message and meaning of Pride out to the public through different media.
“This year has been much more significant for Pride in terms of the press coverage with adverts across radio and social media,” Michelle says.
Not only was Pride Week a fun and vibrant celebration of the LGBTI community, but it was also a chance for the public to learn more about diversity and equality in society.
Michelle said Curtin aims to improve inclusion for staff and students, further develop the current equality policies and continue the Ally Program, which supports LGBTI people and fosters a culture of tolerance.
“I think Curtin’s commitment is really front and centre, people here do understand that it is an inclusive environment that we’re trying to foster.
“It’s different to when I was a student back in the late 70’s. I have worked here nine years and I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement,” she said.
“We want improve our reach for Ally training not just on this campus but also in our regional areas and other campuses.”
Michelle explained there would also be further support for Curtin LGBTI staff.
“We’ve started a network specifically for LGBTI staff. It’s something we will continue in the New Year.”
This year Curtin was the highest-ranking university for LGBTI equality and ranked second in the top ten employers for LGTBI people nationally, making the university a significant, national leader in sexual diversity and gender equality.
“We want to stay in those positions if we can, and in order to do that we have to constantly improve,” Michelle said.
“We’re trying to embed an understanding of inclusion into other kinds of information, events, and activities in the future.”