Queer Collaborations Conference
By Louisa Foley
Sydney — "People are hungry for a forum like this", said Nic Connolly, one of the organising collective for the Queer Collaborations Conference, held in Sydney over the weekend of August 22-23.
Initiated last year, Queer Collaborations is a network of tertiary students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. It produces a monthly newsletter and a quarterly magazine.
The network's first conference attracted 100 people; this year more than 250 people from tertiary institutions and high schools around Australia attended.
Skills learned through the conference include combating academic heterosexism, practical strategies for coming out on campus and setting up groups on campus. Other issues taken up were student sex workers, s&m, pornography and racism.
There was good attendance from women and from isolated campuses. Results of the conference include a strengthened network with plans to expand, an HIV support campaign and a National Coming Out Day of Action.
"We are starting a new wave of activism", said Connolly.
"We strongly encourage people to get involved — it's a living network", said John, another organiser. To get involved in the network, call the lesbian or gay officers at Sydney University SRC. Help is needed producing the newsletter and the magazine, as well as organising the National Coming Out Day.