Queer and Far New Support for International Queer Students

OUSA Student Support have initiated a new support service targeted at international University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic queer students.

Named Queer and Far, it will provide a support and talking group. The project was conceived by the current OUSA Queer Support Co-ordinator Hahna Briggs, in the hope that it will help international students be more confident in group situations.

Queer and Far will provide social support and advocacy, and be a forum for students from around the world to discuss LGBTQ issues.

The group was launched on 19 July, with meetings taking place every Wednesday at 3pm in the International Office. This provides a great service to those students who come from countries where there is a lack of support for LGBTQI people, as well as for those exploring their sexuality and identity during their time studying here.

Previously, for International students, going to the Queer Support Co-ordinator would likely have been a big personal step, and many who have English as a second language struggled to keep up in group situations and conversations. Now, the International Office and Queer Support have combined to make one easily accessible and, they hope, less intimidating service.

There is also a social side to the group. At the first meeting students were asked about what sort of things they wanted to gain from their time in the group. The OUSA Queer Support office is also looking to start a Q2 trust in order to plan more Pride events around the Dunedin campus.

The annual Queerest Tea Party will be on again this year, held on 23 August in the OUSA Main Common Room between 12-2pm.

Additionally, there is also a Dunedin Pride community which can be found on Facebook and who have a monthly ‘Rainbow Potluck’. If you’re looking for more information about the Queer community on Campus, whether you’re an international or domestic student, you can email q.support@ousa.org.nz. If you’re in search of any resources on the topics mentioned in this article, the Queer Library is located in the Student Support Centre at 5 Ethel Benjamin Place.

This article first appeared in Issue 18, 2017.
Posted 10:44am Sunday 6th August 2017 by Zahra Shahtahmasebi.