The University of Newcastle ALLY Network is a community made up of staff and students supporting sexual and gender diversity established over 15 years ago. The Network’s key aims are to promote and celebrate a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive culture within UON through facilitating great visibility and awareness surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues.
Allies at UON are predominately members of staff, however students in leadership positions are encouraged to complete the free training. Newcastle University Post Graduate Students Association (NUPSA) President Ashleigh McIntyre outlines why she joined the Network and what being an ALLY means to her,
“I wanted to become an ALLY to support my friends as well as become a more effective student leader, I feel like ALLY training is something all students should engage with even if it just to ensure that you understand how to speak to all people with respect and fairness.”
“Allies are important because they represent a movement of people trying to support a community that has suffered years of oppression, subjugation and discrimination and I believe ALLY training is intrinsic to the development of an equitable and respectful community.”
As this week is Pride Week it is a great opportunity for allies to showcase their support for fellow UON students and staff. UON Equity and Diversity Co-ordinator and ALLY Network Convenor Astrid Gearin says the existence of the Network is extremely important especially during Pride celebrations,
“The LGBTIQA+ community are not just diverse in regard to their body, gender and/or sexuality; they are First Nations Peoples, people of colour, individuals of different faiths, people who are differently abled, of differing social classes, shapes and sizes. Allies help to dismantle stereotypes and provide valuable support to influence institutional and systemic change.”
The easiest way to begin to be an ALLY is to listen as when you take the time to truly hear others, that is when you learn from them.
“Allies help others understand the importance of diversity, equity, and mutual respect and the easiest way to begin to be an ALLY is to listen as when you take the time to truly hear others, that is when you learn from them. Recognising and acknowledging our own privileges enables us to be allies that work towards challenging biases, prejudices, and patterns of injustice that continue to persist within our society.”
To find out more about the ALLY Network, join and/or find an ALLY visit their site here.
Newcastle University Students Association Queer Collective in collaboration with NUPSA are holding a range of events every day this week celebrating Pride and for more information on these visit their Facebook page.
Feature image: ALLY website.