RMIT staff, students and alumni marched together with pride at this year’s Midsumma Festival.
Now in its 21st year, Midsumma recognises, supports, and celebrates people from diverse genders, sexes, and sexualities.
Representatives from RUSU’s Queer Department and the University’s Careers and Development team attended the Midsumma Carnival Day to speak to current and prospective students about the University’s Pride Mentoring program.
RMIT was also well represented at the Pride March, with current students, staff members and alumni marching behind the Take Pride with RMIT banner.
Mohammad Taha, co-Chair of RMIT’s LGBTIQ Working Party, said that events like Midsumma showcased the attitude the queer communities have had since the days when it was illegal to fully embrace who you are.
“You go into these events and it’s such a sensory pleasure to see that you are not alone as a queer individual,” Taha said.
“People who go, and used to go, to RMIT were so happy to see us. They joined in halfway through the march, they ran to hug us and show us how much they loved RMIT.”
Tom Lehner, support officer for the Pride Mentoring program, said that RMIT’s participation in Midsumma was a chance to celebrate and acknowledge our diverse LGBTIQ community.
"It was such a privilege to march alongside students, mentees, mentors and fellow staff,” Lehner said.
Lara Rafferty, co-Chair of the LGBTIQ Working Party, and Manager of RMIT’s Equity and Diversity Unit, said that RMIT’s participation was a great way to visibly demonstrate our commitment to inclusion and diversity.
”We met a lot of people with a connection to RMIT and the response was so positive. It seemed to really mean a lot to the students who are commencing at RMIT this year.”
2016 marks the launch of RMIT’s new Diversity and Inclusion Plan, including a dedicated LGBTIQ Inclusion Plan.
“The plan will result in updates to RMIT policies and practices, upgrading of facilities, and a continued commitment to inclusion and support for our staff and students,” Rafferty said.
Story: Alisha Ryans-Taylor