As the 2023 Pride Month draws to a close we reflect on the month that has been and how Murdoch University students, staff, alumni and community came together to celebrate the LGBTIQA+ community.
This year we celebrated Pride Month with a range of events and activities on and off campus, focused on telling stories of Pride past and present through the lens of this year’s theme Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You.
Pro Vice Chancellor (Equity Diversity and Inclusion) Dr Rebecca Bennett was thrilled with Murdoch’s involvement in Pride Month 2023.
“[This year was] one of Murdoch’s most successful and engaging Pride’s ever.”
Pride Parade 2023
One of Murdoch University’s largest Pride Parades to date, this year’s event saw 70 students, staff and alumni all coming together to partake in the Pride Parade. Murdoch attendees brought their enthusiasm, some great dance moves, a whole lot of glitter and Pride Flags to the event on Saturday, 25 November.
Adorned with Progress Pride graduation gowns, Murdoch’s parade participants demonstrated exactly what it means to study and work with pride. Commentator Matt Tinney remarked that “Murdoch is among the loudest we’ve seen” as the float passed by their stage.
Check out the live stream of this year’s Parade (tip - Murdoch University is on at 48:28).
Telling stories on and off campus
Murdoch University was also proud to host and be involved in several Pride events on and off campus, such as the Kulbardi End of Semester and Pride Barbecue and Pride Picnic. Both events offered staff and students the opportunity to share their stories, including Kulbardi Lecturer Toni Walden and Murdoch Guild Queer Representative Luke Morgan, who both highlighted the spaces at Murdoch where they had found community and support.
Murdoch also hosted an additional two community events, Pride in Storytelling and the WestPride Archives launch.
Pride in Storytelling brought together five storytellers from the Western Australian university community to speak about the importance of LGBTIQA+ representation in literature, teaching, research, and curriculum. Chaired by Pro Vice Chancellor (Equity Diversity and Inclusion) Dr Rebecca Bennett and hosted in Boola Katitjin with a livestream, attendees heard about what it means to tell diverse stories both to those who can relate to them and those who learn about the experiences of others through these stories.
The WestPride Archives are housed in the Murdoch Library Special Collections Section and detail WA’s LGBTIQA+ history back to the 1930s. A number of items were put on display, including banners from Pride Parade’s gone by and other artefacts.
Inaugural Murdoch student and first openly lesbian parliamentarian of WA, Giz Watson, attended to share the message of the importance of preserving this history of LGBTIQA+ existence in WA. In her speech, she highlighted how special this evening was, as it brought together multiple generations of LGBTIQA+ people to celebrate our history.
“[It was] great to be back at Murdoch and support WestPride, thank you to all the volunteers who created and archived our history and thank you to Murdoch for hosting the collection,” said Giz Watson.
The evening also showcased the work of the WestPride Archives committee, particularly Graham Grundy and Guy Gomeze, who both thanked the Murdoch Library and Special Collections staff for their support.
Murdoch’s incredible Pride Volunteers also attended Northbridge’s Hyde Park for the FairDay market, sharing information about our courses and what Murdoch is doing to support LGBTIQA+ staff and students. The Murdoch University ALLY training team also hosted a session for staff with an added focus on the history and importance of pride.
Why we celebrate
Murdoch University celebrates Pride Month in November, along with the rest of Western Australia, as a mark of respect to the ‘89ers’, a group of 300 LGBTIQA+ activists who marched on Parliament House in 1989 to call for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Following this was the formation of Pride WA, who now run PrideFest every November.
From our beginnings as the first Australian university to introduce a flexible admissions system, making education more accessible, to the global centre for learning, teaching, research and industry we are today, we have always kept sight of our purpose, remaining a place of inclusive education.
It is important that everyone feels welcome at Murdoch. Our university is a socially rich and culturally diverse community where all students and staff can thrive to be their best. It is a place where personal identity, cultural heritage, faith, gender expression, sexuality and ability are respected and celebrated as cornerstones of a vibrant and inclusive learning community.