Student Larissa Cullen on winning inaugural Queer Community Champion Award

Student Larissa Cullen on winning inaugural Queer Community Champion Award

We caught up with Larissa Cullen, the inaugural winner of the Queer Community Champion Award presented at RUSU’s 2022 Student Life Awards.

The 2022 RUSU Student Life Awards recognises student contributions, big and small, to student life outside the classroom. This year RUSU created a new award, the Queer Community Champion Award given to an RMIT student who represents, advocates for, and empowers RMIT students who identify with Diverse Genders, Sexes, and Sexualities (DGSS).  

The winner of the Queer Community Champion Award, RMIT student Larissa Cullen, was presented this month for her outstanding advocacy work for the LGBTIQ+ community through her roles as a Parklife facilitator with Proud 2 Play, Chairperson of the City of Whittlesea's Youth Advisory Committee, and member of Lacrosse Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ advisory group. As part of the LGBTIQ+ advisory group, Larissa helped develop the delivery model for Lacrosse Together, a social lacrosse platform for all genders and ages at RMIT.  

We caught up with to find out more about what inspires her to champion the queer community and what she wants the future of sport to look like.  

Larissa Cullen award winner (L) RUSU Queer Officer Patrick Pieciun & (R) Queer Community Champion Award winner Larissa Cullen

What made you decide to get involved in and champion LGBTIQ+ sports?  

Sport has always been a big part of my life. I grew up doing athletics and playing AFL and I love trying my hand at new sports. Along the way I became aware that not all sporting spaces are safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ people, and because sport has had such a positive impact on my life I wanted to create opportunities for it to have a positive impact for other people in the LGBTIQ+ community too.   

What was your goal when delivering social lacrosse for students at RMIT?

Our goal with the program was to create a welcoming space for LGBTQI+ people to get active, learn a new sport and feel connected within the RMIT community. Lacrosse Together will again run in Semester 2 and Lacrosse Vic are currently planning a lacrosse Pride Cup, for which RMIT will definitely enter a team or two!

What has been your proudest moment so far when advocating for the LGBTIQ+ community in sports?  

I enjoyed being part of the Park Life program with Proud to Play. I likeed creating welcoming and relaxed environments for people to participate in beginner-friendly social sport, so they’re able to step into that space without gender confines or judgement, and just have fun. Seeing the accepting and inclusive environments that the RMIT Hockey and Lacrosse clubs have and being a part of that as a member also makes me feel proud.

What would you like to see changed in sport?

While there is so much fantastic work already being done in the space, we must continue to change sport culture, so that it is more welcoming and accommodating of the LGBTQI+ community, especially trans and gender diverse participants. It is important that discrimination and harassment are stamped out at all levels of sport, from the community and recreational levels to the professional and elite levels. Sport needs to include people as their true self.

Find support and resources

RMIT promotes equality and inclusion for staff and students who identify with Diverse Genders, Sexes, and Sexualities (DGSS). Additional support and resources can be found below:  

17 August 2022


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.