Rainbow pedestrian crossing signifies University’s commitment to diversity
The University of Newcastle believes in a “show don’t tell” principle in our commitments to community and equity. That’s why, as part of the University of Newcastle’s Pride Week 2020, a permanent rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossing will today be unveiled on the Callaghan campus in front of the Chancellery building.
The rainbow flag (also known as the Pride flag) is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual/aromantic (LGBTIQA+) pride and social movements.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO welcomed the installation of the permanent rainbow crossing as demonstrating the University’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
“The University’s Pride Week started as a grass roots, student-led fight for visibility, and has grown to what is now a broader institution-wide celebration. Having a permanent rainbow crossing means that beyond the week of celebration our LGBTIQA+ students and staff know that they are accepted, embraced and supported by our community,” Professor Zelinsky said.
Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Tina Crawford, said the University was acknowledged as a leader in providing opportunities for people from all walks of life.
“We are proud to create an environment that empowers our staff and students to reach their full potential and an important part of that is reflecting and celebrating diversity,” said Ms Crawford.
The rainbow design chosen for the crossing is based on the Philadelphia flag which incorporates brown and black lines to represent all people of colour, particularly our own First Nations Australians including Brotherboys and Sistergirls. The transgender flag was also incorporated into the design creating stronger visibility of the trans and gender diverse community.
A second rainbow crossing will be installed at the University’s Ourimbah campus later this year.
Queer Collective Convenor TJ Hay said while Pride does have a focus on celebrating queerness in all of its forms it is also a time for advocacy and education.
“One of the aims of Pride is to provide opportunities for people to gain more knowledge about the LGBTQIA+ community and strengthen our ties with other members of the University community. It’s also a time to reflect on the work that has been done to try to meet the needs of queer students and what still needs to be done,” said TJ.
The University’s Pride Week activities include the annual flag raising ceremony, pride picnic, art displays, student and community led panels, musicians, trivia and movie nights.
The University also offers student leaders and staff access to an ongoing program called ‘The ALLY Network’. This program provides professional development and training to those who are prepared to advocate on behalf of members of the University who are diverse in their sex characteristics, gender and/or sexuality (LGBTIQA+).