Rainbow flags flew high for equality across USQ campuses last Wednesday, 17 May. Though perhaps a normal day for many, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) is a memorable day for the LGBTIQ community.

Swathed in rainbow flags and offering plenty of rainbow cake, USQ held events in Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich to show the University’s support of the LGBTIQ community and USQ’s Ally Network.

The Ally Network aims to provide a safe zone and visible support network for students and staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer. Ally Network and USQ staff member Megan Cooper felt IDAHOT Day was an important date for the university to recognise.

“One thing we should do as a society is stand up together and say no to persecution, fear and the threat of physical, social or emotional violence,” Cooper said.

“And realistically, while pockets of fear and hate still reside in the darker corners of our society, we need to show our support for each other at every opportunity.”

As rainbow flags waved proudly above USQ Toowoomba, Cooper was brought to tears.

“It symbolises a voice for a group that may have had to sit below the radar,” she enthused.

“It symbolises courage and strength. And it symbolises that USQ is a place that truly values the beautiful diversity of its students and staff.”

Continuing with the festivities, USQ also launched its Library Safe Place initiative, a collaboration between the Library and Student Services.

“This initiative aims to accentuate the Library’s commitment to provide a visible and inclusive safe place for staff and students,” said Library Services Director Carmel O’Sullivan.

“Our LGBTIQ community can be assured that the library is a designated safe place for all students and staff to work and study, free from harassment or discrimination based on sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.”

Receiving USQ Ally training, library staff will have access to resources and will be equipped with a network of professional referrals.

Read our story on USQ’s cocktail party celebrating the launch of 50 Years 50 Stories here.