Kim Stern & Jasmine Duff
National Queer Officer
The NUS Queer Department fights against queerphobia on and off campus. We want universities – and society – to be places free from discrimination and oppression.
Whether we’re campaigning for our rights to legal equality or simply the right to use a bathroom that matches our gender identity, the NUS LGBTI Department is here to fight for the interests of LGBTIQ+ students around the country. We’ve come a long way since the 1950s but we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to combatting homophobia and transphobia in society today.
Over the last few years we’ve been involved in campaigning against transphobia and supporting the creation of gender neutral bathrooms on campuses, supporting the campaign for equal marriage rights and equal access to adoption – both of which are still not fully accessible to same sex or gender diverse people across the country, and opposing police brutality towards queer people.
We also want to make sure queer students know about the different services available to them, and support queer departments and collectives at universities.
Some of the campaigns we’re involved in today include:
Fighting for marriage equality: since 2004, our relationships have been excluded from legal recognition thanks to then-PM John Howard’s re-definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. NUS LGBTI is proud to have been part of the campaign to reverse the ban on equal marriage and we won’t stop until we have full marriage equality!
We all need to pee: this is a campaign that aims to highlight the challenges faced by trans* and gender-diverse students using public bathrooms on university campuses. NUS LGBTI defends the right of all students to use the bathroom of their choice according to their gender identity, free from harassment or policing.
Putting the ‘LGBT’ into making education free: the Turnbull Liberal Government has been on a warpath against students, pledging to increase fees and cut $2.8 billion from higher education. Attacks on students disproportionately affect LGBTIQ+ students, who often find ourselves socially and financially disadvantaged already. This campaign aims to highlight the ways that education cuts affect LGBTIQ+ students in the realms of welfare and access/ability to complete education.
As well as all that, we’re involved in fighting the governments attacks on our education – cuts to education disproportionately impact people who already experience marginalisation and oppression in society, and fee increases will make it all the more harder for queer people to access universities. In 2015 we want to do all that and more!
There are many more campaigns that NUS LGBTI takes up, whether it’s campus-specific or global, so if you have an idea for something you’d like to see us work on or for any more info, feel free to contact your LGBTI Officers Chris and Lauren.