Will my LGBTIQA+ teenager feel supported at university?

Group of students at staff at Pride Festival

We strive to make sure Murdoch is as inclusive and safe for every member of the LGBTIQA+ community as possible.

If your teenager identifies as a member of the LGBTIQA+ community then, as a parent or guardian, you may have a few questions about the opportunities and support they’ll receive when they venture out of high school, onto university and into the world.

For their next step into higher education, you may want to know more about their inclusion on campus, how to access to the support services they need, the availability of inclusive bathrooms, and make sure they can be themselves in the university environment.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the initiatives, programs and policies in place at Murdoch that make our campus an inclusive and safe space for every member of the LGBTIQA+ community.

Walking the talk

At Murdoch, we don’t tolerate homophobia, transphobia, racism, or ablism. It’s so important to us that Murdoch is a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for all so that everyone can feel safe and supported to bring their whole self at study and work.

Murdoch is a socially rich and culturally diverse community, where personal identity, cultural heritage, faith, gender expression, sexuality and ability are respected and celebrated as cornerstones of a vibrant and inclusive learning community.

We feel strongly about walking the talk to create a place where everyone feels respected and supported. So, we don’t just say Murdoch is a safe and inclusive, but we show it.   

Here’s how:

  • In 2017, an LGBTIQA+ Advisory Group was formalised as part of the University governance structure to oversee matters pertaining to the needs and concerns of students and the LGBTIQA+ community.
  • Since 2018, Murdoch has participated in the annual Pride Parade, with regular appearances at Western Australia’s Pride Fest.
  • In 2018, Murdoch introduced gender-neutral and all-gender bathrooms to the Perth campus with more planned each year, including in the new teaching building, opening in Semester 1, 2023.
  • In 2021, Murdoch upgraded the Pride flag on Bush Court to the Progress flag, which is considered more inclusive as it recognizes and celebrates the intersectional identities of the LGBTIQA+ community.
  • Since 2021, all staff have been encouraged to display their personal pronouns in emails and on name badges.

LGBTIQA+ student support networks

At Murdoch, we ensure LGBTIQA+ students know they’re welcome and supported on campus.

We have a supportive and active Ally Network with over 150 easily-identifiable staff trained and pledged to advocate for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Murdoch Allies are listed on the Murdoch website.  They wear colourful rainbow lanyards and use Ally door labels, and can also use a special email signature, to indicate they are a safe, understanding and reliable contact point available to support the University’s LGBTIQA+ community.

The Access, Wellbeing and Equity (AW&E) team provide a range of support services for LGBTIQA+ students through both online and in-person counselling, accessibility advice, and medical support services, should they require them.

There is a team of Student Wellbeing and Equity Ambassadors who are all Allies. They help facilitate various wellbeing and equity activities throughout the year, including every Wednesday at ‘The Den’, where they engage students in conversations about their wellbeing, as well as direct students to the best support for their needs.

The free counselling service also has staff who specialise in working with members of the LGBTIQA+ community and run a support group for LGBTIQA+ students.

Campus wellbeing and safety

In response to the National Student Safety Survey (2021), an advisory group is overseeing various initiatives to better prevent and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In addition to raising awareness within key areas, developing additional resources around respectful relationships and consent, and increasing the availability of our Bystander Intervention Training, recommendations are in place to introduce a Pride and Respect Officer to support LGBTIQA+ projects, including the development of a LGBTIQA+ equity and inclusion strategy for the university. 

Safe spaces at Murdoch

There is also the Queer Collective: a student-run group that provides inclusive platforms for LGBTIQA+ students, including virtual and face-to-face support.

  • Murdoch Student Guild has a Queer Room, which is designed to be a safe space and is made available for LGBTIQA+ students to meet others in the community and hang out together.
  • The Guild also regularly hosts events especially for LGBTIQA+ students, including “queer beers” at the Tavern.

What other resources are available for my teen?

We will always do everything we can to ensure every student attending Murdoch feels as welcomed as possible while they’re at university.

  • We have a range of policies designed to remove barriers for LGBTIQA+ inclusion in university activities and systems for students and staff. We carry out regular reviews to ensure these policies are current and inclusive.
  • LBGTQIA+ students have set up their own social groups to connect with their peers online.
  • Murdoch uses the Australian Workplace Equality Index to measure our progress against the national benchmark on LGBTIQA+ workplace inclusion.
  • A dedicated group of Murdoch staff has undertaken a ‘queering the curriculum’ project to promote PRIDE @ Murdoch inclusive teaching practices amongst teaching staff.

LGBTIQA+ Murdoch: the take-out

Murdoch strives to be a place where LGBTIQA+ students can enjoy feeling safe, supported and included, where they can be respected and appreciated for who they truly are.

Discover more about raising a teenager and how you can help them navigate their journey to university.

Posted on:

14 Jun 2022

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