Smiling staff in the sun in the park
Just some of the staff and students who marched in VU’s first-ever Pride March contingent: Marian Cronin, Elisse Baitz, Oliver Kaiser, Shannyn Cain, Chris Hill, Jo Doley, Kate Benesovsky, Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker, and Professor Chris Walsh

There were plenty of rainbows but not a cloud in sight at the 2021 Midsumma Pride March, as thousands of friends and families showed (and shouted) their support for Melbourne’s LGBTQIA+ community.  

Among the 5000-strong crowd was a proud group of 43 VU students and staff, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker, Naomi Dempsey (Deputy Provost Students & Academic Services), Marian Cronin (Associate Director, Inclusion & Engagement), Leon Kerr (Director, Student Services), Professor Chris Walsh, VUSU General Secretary Oliver Kaiser and Welfare Officer Kate Benesovsky, and VUPA Equity Officer Natalia Mendes Garcia.

Professor Shoemaker said he was privileged to be a part of the event, especially because it marked VU’s involvement for the first time. "This is really amazing – a chance for everyone to come together to celebrate pride and diversity. We are all so proud to be here for the very first time."

While numbers were down on last year, the COVID-safe event wasn’t short on atmosphere, as dancers shimmied and sashayed their way down Fitzroy Street amidst a sea of rainbow flags.  

Karina Ireland, Lecturer in Midwifery, said that taking part in the march was validating. “For me to be here is really important – being an out queer person and to be so proud of who I am. And I love to march and show who I am at an event like this that makes me really proud. And to be here as part of VU that makes me even prouder, because as a university I know I can be out and proud at work and be supported."

For Iman Hassan, Course & Unit Advisor for the College of Law & Business, the day was significant because: "Pride is making sure everyone in the community feels included and welcomed. At VU we want everyone, whether they be from the LGBTQIA+ community or other intersectionalities, to feel welcome.”

More about VU LGBTIQA+ & Gender Diverse Inclusion resources for students and staff.

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