Australian universities offer a colourful array of supports for LGBTIQ students


In recent years, Australian university campuses have emerged as vibrant hubs of inclusivity and empowerment through the establishment of queer collectives. These student-led groups create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals to connect, advocate for change, and foster a sense of belonging within the academic community.

One key aspect of these collectives is their commitment to creating an open and accepting environment for students of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Queer Collective activities

Through a range of activities, such as workshops, panel discussions, and social events, these groups provide a platform for discussions about queer issues, identity exploration, and intersectionality. The impact of these collectives extends beyond their immediate members. By managing awareness campaigns, Pride celebrations, and collaborative events with other student organisations, these collectives aim to raise visibility and promote a more inclusive culture at campuses throughout Australia.

Queer Collective support services

Queer collectives offer a sense of belonging that can be crucial for individuals who might feel isolated or marginalised. Many students express how the collectives provide them with a supportive network that helps them navigate the challenges of university life.

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Australian university Queer Collectives

These collectives exist at almost all state universities. Here are some examples of the work they do:

University of Wollongong

The Allsorts Queer Collective at Wollongong University describes itself as a social and support group “run by queer people for queer people”.

It aims to create a safe space for both staff and students to embrace their LGBTQI+ identities by increasing the queer presence on campus. This is achieved by coordinating events, offering support, and providing resources.

At this university, the Queer Collective has a Queer Space (in room G039 in Building 19) – “up the rainbow stairs” in the Wollongong campus. It’s open to queer and questioning students and is a place to study, get information, meet new friends at the weekly meetings, or simply escape and chill with a board game, movie night, picnic, BBQ, party, or whatever’s coming up next on the busy social calendar.

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University of Queensland

UQU Queer Collective is a community group for UQ’s LGBTIQ+ Community. Their social, charitable and political events are all free (and voluntarily organised by members of the collective). LGBTIQ+ students are invited to join the Queer Collective and allies are welcome at their public events.
The collective’s physical hub space is known as the Carden Queer Room and is reserved for LGBTQIA+ students only, although invited guests are welcome. It’s a space for study and socialising, and a refuge for students who need it.

UQU’s priorities are clear:

  • Advocacy
  • Community
  • Sexual health
  • Socialising
  • Support

Charles Darwin University

The CDU Queer Network is part of the university’s ally and Pride networks. It provides a safe space for Queer Charles Darwin University (CDU) students to connect, support each other, and embrace their culture and identities.
Both the CDU Queer Network and Pride@CDU are closed, private social groups for students and staff who identify as LGBTQIA+. Together, they acknowledge and celebrate significant LGBTQIA+ dates in these safe (virtual) spaces, where the community gathers online to share stories and support each other.

CDU is also home to a separate Ally Network made up of CDU staff. They are encouraged to become “active allies and visible advocates for LGBTIQA+ inclusion at CDU”.

In practise, this means that, as well as taking part in celebrations, they’re also called on to correct harmful language, stereotyping, and behaviours. They also permanently display symbols of inclusion (badges and photos, etc) after completing their Ally Network training.

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The future is advocacy

Queer collective university students

Queer collectives play a vital role in advocating for policy changes within their universities. From gender-neutral restrooms to inclusive housing options, these groups have been catalysts for tangible transformations that benefit the entire campus community.

At Charles Darwin University (CDU), the Queer Collective encourages CDU to “promote queer theory in student learning” and they strategically organise campaigns about issues that matter.

At University of Queensland the UQU Collective queer community has seen “the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the introduction of the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Marriage Equality acts, the hosting of numerous national conference, and hundreds of events.”

This work continues today through regular events, advocacy campaigns, mutual aid, and the power of community.

Australia continues to progress in terms of LGBTQ+ student visibility and acceptance, and the role of university Queer Collectives remains crucial. These student-led initiatives help shape campus culture and contribute to a more inclusive society within the broader university community – and beyond.

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By Charlie
Charlie Writes is a Sydney based, London born, Caribbean writer, interviewer and poet. A colourful 27 year career has taken Charlie from typing poems on the spot on her 1970’s typerwiter named June, to donning a hard hat as a roving reporter in the construction industry. All while living out her favourite quote that the greatest adventures begin with a simple conversation.