How to unlearn homophobia

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Have you ever heard someone say ‘that’s so gay’ and had that icky feeling in your gut? This happened to me on the bus recently and I found myself confronted by an ethical and moral dilemma. When do you give nothing, and when do you speak up?

A person in the UC community also noted to me the irony of the saying being used in a conversation during a te reo class – a context on campus which actively encourages inclusiveness. People think that’s not really bad ‘on the scale of things’ but passive homophobia can be just as damaging as an aggressive homophobic verbal attack because it inhibits the rights of people to feel free and confident to be who they are, where they are. This person had no idea who they might be sitting beside and how it might affect them.

Friday 17 August was the day of silence. The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, name-calling and harassment in schools. The goal of the Day of Silence is to make schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Often times it is the casual homophobia that causes the most damage, like the saying ‘that’s so gay.’

I encourage you to download and print posters to put up on your noticeboards. Download posters here>

You can also check out the LGBTQIA+ info page.

Please tell students and staff about the new safe space on campus for rainbow communities – Locke Room 109a. The space was granted to QCanterbury by the College of Arts, and named the ‘Robin Duff Room’ in honour of a former UC student leader who poured his heart and soul into advocating for LGBTQIA+ people on our campus and beyond during the years surrounding the Homosexual Law Reform of 1986.

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