From cake stalls to banners, discos to face-painting, schools across the country marked International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on held May 17th.
Schools across the Capital celebrated IDAHOT with markets, pledge events and chalk art. Safe Schools Coalition ACTs Erin Smith attended the festivities at The Canberra College where students participated in a David Bowie-inspired parade. Students discussed the importance of having an inclusive and diverse school community, where everybody can feel safe and part of the community.
In NSW, Safe Schools Coalition NSW team member Caiti Smith attended Burwood Girls High’s IDAHOT celebration. They held a concert hosted by True Colours (their diversity group) in the hall at lunchtime. Former students explained how students can make a big difference to use the term “that’s so gay” as an opportunity to educate friends and encourage them to#bebetterLGBTI+ allies. These former students shared their personal stories about growing up trans and same sex attracted. “It was very inspirational,” Caiti said.
In Tasmania, Delloraine High’s diversity group ‘BIG PASTEL Q’ designed posters and held a free dress day where they had to dress in a way that represented ‘being happy’. Funds went to their diversity group. Two schools in attendance approached Safe Schools Coalition TAS team member Dean Mundey, wanting to set up their own diversity groups. Students in another school chalked positive sentiments on their school’s wall (below).
In WA, Safe Schools member school Cyril Jackson Senior Campus presented a library display with LGBTI-themed books for young people. Safe Schools Coalition WA’s Senior Project Officer Olivia Knowles attended the school’s health expo to brainstorm ideas for how student and staff can #bebetter LGBTI+ allies. Regional school Derby District High School had a cake sale to raise funds for supportive groups.
On the day, Olivia also participated on a panel discussion at the ‘Promoting Human Rights in Australian Educational Communities for People of Diverse Genders and Sexualities’ held by Murdoch University and Young and Well CRC. “It was great to see so many people in attendance, including familiar faces from member schools and staff from Safe Schools supporter organisations,” said Olivia.
In Queensland, a morning tea was held in a state high school to launch a new LGBTI student group. They had an array of cupcakes and a spread of yummy treats. In another state high school, teachers celebrated by theming their annual staff portrait in rainbow colours. Safe Schools Coalition Qld staff presented an in-school professional development session focused on supporting gender diverse students.
In South Australia, schools across the state participated in a range of activities including discos, tie-dying t-shirts, cup cake stalls, lunch time bands, face painting, lots of chalk art, student and staff presentations, and workshops. Flinders University ran an event about the work of Safe Schools Coalition and manager Natalya Giffney (pictured above, far left) gave an update on the work in SA, presenting along side a parent, teacher and academic. The presentation and additional LGBTIQ videos were projected on a big screen in the plaza for students to watch while enjoying a BBQ and more cup cakes.
In Victoria, students at Mount Waverley Secondary College (pictured in the main image above) created a banner that reads ‘It’s not okay to say “That’s so gay,”’ while Brunswick Secondary College got on their rainbow! (See their colourful pic above).