LGBT+ awareness week took the University campus by storm last week bringing in various events to raise awareness about the issues that the LGBT+ community face on daily basis.
Organised by Courtney Levin, LGBT+ officer, and Newcastle University’s LGBT+ society members the week invited students to take part in various workshops, talks and film screenings in order to celebrate the equality and diversity amongst the students.
Courtney Levin told the Courier: “As always this year we hired a large tent to host a variety of stalls on many LGBT+ issues, including bisexuality awareness, gender identity, and a memorial stall remembering those we have lost this year. New this year in the tent however was our LGBT+ history stall, which contained excerpts from the Courier archive about the LGBT+ society and about the history of LGBT+ support on campus.”
Kicking off with a Mental Health Talk, organised together with Mind the Gap society, the organisers welcomed students interested in the state of mental health in the LGBT+ community. The event allowed interested students to listen to Society’s members testimonials about the challenges they faced dealing with their mental health and being a part of the LGBT+, and to discuss what changes could be made in order to improve the current situation.
“LGBT+ mental health issues are so rarely addressed, so it was great to see such high levels of engagement from the student body,” said Courtney adding that the event had the best turn out of all.
The week also offered students a LGBT+ Sex ed talk where they could gain important information about safe sex practices that they may not have heard about in school, but also pick up plenty of freebies for protection.
Those interested in the history were welcomed to attend a public lecture delivered by Peter Tatchell, British human rights campaigner, on the LGBT liberation (Read more about Peter Tatchell on page 6).
Members of the LGBT+ society also invited students to get to know different sexualities and identities by organising talks on bisexuality, asexuality and QTIPOC (queer, trans* and intersex people of colour) panel about whitewashing of the LGBT+ history.
Finally, students were able to ask all remaining questions of the two panellists, LGBT+ officer and the President of the LGBT+ society, at the final day time event – Queer Question Time.
The week also invited students to two screenings of films about the LGBT+ community. The screenings attracted a large numbers of viewers who were happy to take advantage of both the company of others and the free food and drinks provided.
Courtney was very happy with the support received from the Union:
“They also edited our promotional video for the week, which can be viewed on the union Facebook page.
As a part of the LGBT+ awareness week, Newcastle University Fashion Society organised a photoshoot featuring the members of LGBT+ society and Courtney Levin, LGBT+ officer.
"In honour of LGBT Awareness week, NUFS wanted to celebrate the LGBT community and showcase their pride. Not only did the participating members star as fashion models for the shoot, but they also starred as role models acting as the face of Newcastle Uni's LGBT community."
Overall, Courtney and the LGBT+ society were very happy with the week. She told the Courier:
“I hope that many people on campus have engaged with the week, whether via the tent or marketing and more people have been made aware of the LGBT+ society, and what we do. I also hope that the week has given a chance for groups who are marginalised within the LGBT+ community to educate on key issues.
“In March I will also be convening the LGBT+ forum with the society, so I can feedback about the work done in the Union this term for LGBT+ students, and students can tell me what campaigns they would like to see in the future.”