It may be another week in the college year, but this event is unlike any other. The UCC Queer Conference is swiftly approaching, and is beyond becoming the must-go event of the week. Take my word for it, this conference is for anyone and everyone regardless of whether or not you are a member of the LGBT community. No, that’s not hyperbole, that’s fact. This conference is for folks of all walks of life, and the forecasted weather is perfect so why not swing by?
Well, obviously enough, if you are a member of the LGBT community, then this event is perfect for you because that’s what it’s all about: the LGBT community. Are you a budding musician? We’ve got the legendary creators Brian Kennedy and Ellen King for you at the Culture panel. Who knows, maybe you can get a few inspirational words from them to work into your next hit! But what if you’re a musician and have a penchant for business and/or media as a whole? Worry not for James Kavanagh will be speaking at the culture panel as well!
“But Cillian”, I hear your disembodied voice questioning, “what if I have zero interest in any of that.” Well, believe it or not, we’ve also got that covered with our Education and Diversity & Inclusion panels. For the majority of people, education is one of the hardest times to be a member of our community, when we are truly discovering ourselves for the first time. In some areas someone may be surrounded by like-minded friends, but in others this may not be the case, even in places where there are more LGBT folk than you would think. For these people school can be a painful experience, but it does not have to be this way. Through the Education panel you can learn how to help students of all ages through such trying times. I know from personal experience what it is like to go into school day after day only knowing of two other students who shared my identity. However, thanks to personal and administrative supports I also know what it’s like to walk through those doors without fear of who I am because I felt like I belonged. On that note, let’s talk a little bit about the Diversity & Inclusion panel.
As you could probably tell from the short anecdote, education and inclusivity have a lot in common. As members of this wonderfully diverse community, it is vital that inclusivity is key to who we are. That sentiment expands beyond school halls. If we do not look at for and support each other then we will only move backwards as a community and a society. Naturally, as will most likely be covered by the panel, diversity is another major aspect of our community. Life itself is a spectrum, so naturally sexual orientation and gender identity would be on spectrums of their own as well. As such there are ways of being as inclusive as possible, and if you are unclear on how to do so then don’t worry, everyone is always learning new things (and there’s an entire panel on the topic).
Speaking of being inclusive, a considerable amount of you reading this and attending the conference are not directly involved in our community. If you are an ally, then thank you for all of your support, you are helping to make the world a better place for a countless amount of people. If you are not an ally, thank you for caring enough to read thus far. This conference is the perfect time for you to experience the LGBT community from our perspective, and learn about our own experiences and dreams. While it’s great for a community to support its own members, without your help it would be a lot harder for us as a modern society to make a more equal future. Hopefully you will be able to put names and faces to the acronym by the end of the day.
So please, come along for a brightly educational day. Not all of us the same but all of us have our own stories to share.
The UCC Queer Conference is taking place in the Aula Maxima (North Wing UCC) this Thursday November 2nd. Entrance is free, and doors open at 10am. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or email the UCC LGBT Society on LGBT@UCCSocieties.ie.