VU proudly takes part in Pride
More than 10,000 people adorned in every colour of the rainbow gathered to celebrate the annual Midsumma Pride March.
Fitzroy Street in St Kilda was transformed into a sea of colour, glitter and glamour, and amidst the enthusiastic groups was a mighty VU contingent of staff and students.
2023 is the University’s 3rd consecutive year participating in the march. Each year VU’s presence has grown in numbers, and this year was the University’s largest contingency to date. Holding the banner high was VU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker, along with Dianne Semmens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Vocational Education, VUP.
For Dianne Semmens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Vocational Education, VUP, the march is about taking pride in self-identity.
“It’s about finding your tribe, finding your sense of place – PRIDE encompasses all of that. It’s so important for us.”
The first Pride March took place in 1996, along the same stretch of road and attracted more than 11,000 community groups and spectators.
VU speech pathology student Hayley Genn is commencing at VU in the coming weeks. Attending the march was a warm introduction to the inclusive spirit of the VU community. For Hayley, the highlight of this year’s Pride March was its joyful vibe. “I loved the energy and seeing all the diverse people celebrating.” At its core, the message of the day is inclusion, and it’s an opportunity to celebrate the thousands of LGBTIQA+ people who positively contribute, in countless ways, to the wider community.
By showing up on the day and proudly waving the University’s Pride banner, VU is actively sharing a message of support to the LGBTIQA+ community, showing those who study and work at VU that “you belong”.
The University has taken very intentional steps to build inclusion for the LGBTIQA+ and gender diverse community. In 2022 the staff Understanding and Celebrating LGBTQIA Identities online module was released; developed collaboratively by LGBTQIA+ staff and students from VU. The student version will be released in early 2023. While a number of important initiatives are taking place this year, VU continues to grow and strengthen its commitment to inclusion.
For Dr Ross Coller, Executive Director, Engagement and Advancement, and Executive Sponsor of VU’s Pride network, recognising the Pride March and other important days on the LGBTIQA+ calendar are vitally important.
“It’s a way to celebrate our pride with our colleagues and our students who are part of this community.”
The year ahead will see strengthened work towards progressive inclusivity.