Straight talk about queer issues

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
0 908557 54 X

Traditionally diversity in the education community has tended to focus on issues of gender, race and disability. Many universities have a policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual preference within their Equal Opportunity Policy. In all states except Western Australia, sexual orientation is included in equal opportunity legislation. Despite these anti-discrimination clauses and legislation, anecdotal evidence suggests that discriminatory behaviour and offensive comments and gestures with respect to sexual orientation continue to occur within university communities. In this regard the university community mirrors the larger community in that it can be oppressive and devaluing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people. There is a demonstrated need for proactive initiatives that increase awareness of issues faced by GLBT staff and students and that seek to change the culture of university campuses to one that is supportive and affirming of GLBT people. This paper explores the climate for GLBT people in the workplace and describes two projects that aim to make The University of Western Australia community safer and a more productive and positive work and study experience for GLBT people. The Rainbow Project aims to assess attitudes toward GLBT staff and students and to raise awareness of GLBT issues on campus. The Ally Network extends this first initiative by developing a support and advocacy network of Allies throughout the university community and initiating awareness and educational programs on GLBT issues.

Keywords: queer issues; diversity; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered;

Straight talk about queer issues

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Goody, A. & de Vries, J.