Important: Human Rights Commission Releases ‘LGBTI Uni Guide’

University is a time for growth, learning, and discovery, and it would be awful to have those critical (and enjoyable!) years stunted by discrimination and bullying. Many members of the LGBTI community have faced homophobia or transphobia throughout the course of their tertiary learning, and it’s something that has needed to be addressed for a long time. 

The Human Rights Commission recently released a guide to help students that are part of the LGBTI community, to find a supportive and inclusive university to attend. This could change the experiences of so many young people, who are seeking a university that offers them not only an education, but also respect and support. 

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said that the guide was to help gain equality:
“The guide doesn’t seek special treatment or assistance, it merely asks that LGBTI students and staff are treated equally and fairly in a University environment and that the education, health and welfare needs are equally met as with all other students. It is cultural change that moves a society from being informally exclusive to being inclusive. That is what this Australian LGBTI University Guide seeks to achieve: cultural accountability and change.”
Australian universities are rated on a number of different items, including:
  • A policy protecting LGBTI students from discrimination and bullying 
  • Mandatory training for staff around LGBTI discrimination 
  • Information, resources and welfare support for LGBTI students 
  • Health support for LGBTI students 
  • Events for LGBTI students 
  • A dedicated society/societies for LGBTI students 
  • Consultation with LGBTI students (for example through representation on boards and committees) 
  • Monitoring and data collection around sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status 
  • An ally network for LGBTI staff and students 
  • Specific career advice for LGBTI students 
  • Membership of the Pride In Diversity programme 
  • Involvement with the broader community on LGBTI issues (for example through local LGBTI events, or active engagement with prospective LGBTI student applicants) 
  • Support for transitioning students 
  • Access to sports facilities for trans and intersex students 
  • Support for students who identify as non-binary.
Each university is rated on each topic with a tick or a cross, and this comes from information which is publicly available via the university or union website. This is damn important, because if the HRC can’t find the info, how could prospective or current students?
The website also makes sure to mention that during the course of rating, they take into consideration that the experiences of bisexual people, intersex people, and transgender people is much different to gay or lesbian people. 
According to the website, the guide will also serve as a way for universities to clearly see where they can improve on their care for their LGBTI students. 
You go Human Rights Commission! It’s high time that all universities became a safe place for everyone to learn.
You can check our your university and how it shapes up here:
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