As a University, we understand, cherish, and champion social justice topics that affect the lives of our staff, students, families and friends. In everything we do, we stop, reflect, and we respond. Our response always reflects our values in what we do and the benefit it will have on our staff, students and the wider community.
Australian and International statistics highlight the importance of creating a safe environment for our community. The Diversity Council Australia highlighted in their 2019-2020 Inclusion@Work Index that:
- 35% of LGBTQI+ Workers hide or change who they are at work,
- 44% experience some form of discrimination and/or harassment; and
- 47% felt that people had made incorrect assumptions about their abilities based on their age, culture/ethnicity, disability, Indigenous background or sexual orientation.
As an organisation, we have pledged to champion the power of people to connect the world for good. Connections can only be made if we understand and empathise with each other.
Sydney has just experienced the excitement of Mardi Gras Festival. This year’s theme is “What Matters”. In this time of celebration of community and solidarity makes it opportune moment for the following announcement about what matters to our LGBTQI+ community.
Over the last twelve months, under the Executive Sponsorship of our Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, Bryce Ives, the PRIDE Framework was developed.
Ali Saad, who led the initiative says that for him, the Framework has been a long time coming.
“Building barriers as a gay middle-eastern man can sometimes be a matter of life or death. I am one of the lucky ones, who was able to break those barriers by immigrating to Australia and shattering any remaining fears by working at Torrens University,” he said.
“I am finally free to be who I am. Now it is my turn to do what I can to support and create awareness and visibility for my LGBTQI+ Community.”
Quarterly Pride in Diversity roundtables involving staff representatives now take place across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Ali Saad said it does not just stop there.
“Our voice is being heard and included amongst the most prominent organisations across Australia.
“The Adelaide Campus hosted the SA Pride in Diversity roundtable and networking event in November 2019.”
“Our PRIDE Framework set the plan for TUA, THINK and MDS over the next three years on the work we all need to do to create the required visibility, the support and the awareness for our LGBTQI+ community.”
A steering group chaired by Ali Saad and supported by Kerry Valentine and the HR Team commenced work on the PRIDE Framework to:
- Establish the PRIDE Ally Network
- Develop the PRIDE page on the Student Hub
- Review policies to ensure protections and inclusiveness of LGBTQI+ staff and students
- Develop the gender transitioning and transgender policy
- Ensure the inclusion of LGBTQI+ events into the campus calendars
- Provide LGBTQI+ awareness training to staff and student
- Review our courses to ensure the integration of LGBTQI+ topics
The committee believes that having these initiatives in place now means that we are committing to stop and to celebrate days as we did for Wear It Purple 2019 when staff across all campuses stood side by side celebrating and listening to our leaders commitment to the LGBTQI+ Community.
“We are going to continue the needed work beyond the parades and the photo opportunities,” Ali Saad said.
“We are part of the conversation, and part of the community shaping the change to a better tomorrow for LGBTQI+.”
Over the next few months, there will be more exciting announcements and opportunities for staff and students both in Australia and New Zealand to participate in various projects.
To join the PRIDE Ally Network, register for the training through this LGBTQI+ Awareness Training Request Form.
This is only the beginning, and together we have much further to go. If you are interested in knowing more about the PRIDE Framework, contact the Project Lead, Ali Saad firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be loud, be proud, and show your support to the LGBTQI+ Community. Happy 2020 Sydney Mardi Gras from TUA, THINK and MDS.