Ally Network

The Ally Network is an endorsed group of staff and students who are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful culture at the University for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community members.

Australian Ally Conference

 

On 27-28 June 2016 Western Sydney University hosted the inaugural Australian Ally Conference (Opens in a new window). By hosting this conference we brought together higher education institutions from around the country and New Zealand to build awareness of LGBTIQ issues sector wide. 

The event showcased best practice from not only leading employers of choice such as the Commonwealth Bank, the Australian Federal Police, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the ANZ bank, but from some of the best performing Australian and New Zealand higher education institutions. 

At Western Sydney U we are committed to LGBTIQ inclusion. Strategic leadership is an important part of our own Ally Network and we encourage you to become an Ally and help us make a difference.

Feeling affected by the Orlando tragedy?

Orlando has witnessed the worst mass shooting murder in USA history - murder inspired by hate and terror. Western Sydney University would like to offer our deepest sympathy to the victims of this horrible crime, their families and friends and to the world-wide LGBTIQ community. These events will leave some of our students and staff feeling very personally affected. If you're feeling affected by the Orlando tragedy, there are supports available for you within Western Sydney University.

Our Ally Network is made up of staff and student volunteers committed to cultural change and to providing support to our LGBTIQ community and supporters. Give your local Ally a call or drop them an email to chat about the recent events and relevant things happening at Western. Find out more below.

Western Sydney University's Counselling Services is free and confidential to students for face-to-face sessions, and Skype counselling, phone counselling, or eCounselling services is available where face-to-face counselling is difficult for students. We're very proud that our Counsellors are trained in LGBTIQ awareness and many are also members of the Ally Network.

The Queer Collective is also available to support students identifying as LGBTIQ, questioning and/or their allies. You can find the contact details for your local campus through OrgSync.

Staff and their families, including same sex partners, can access Employee Assistance Program for free and totally confidential support.

The Ally Network also lists many external community support and other organisations able to assist. Including ACON who in response to Orlando, have counsellors on standby to help anyone experiencing difficulty coping with last weekend's tragedy, and we encourage everyone to reach out and connect with friends, family and fellow community members. More information about our counselling services can be found at: www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/mental-health/#lgbti-counselling (opens in a new window).

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What is an Ally?

An Ally is a volunteer (staff or student) from the Western Sydney University community who is committed to cultural change and who provides support to LGBTIQ community members at the University.

University Allies:

  • can be identified by the display of an official Ally sticker or Ally pin;
  • provide a welcoming and confidential 'safe zone' for LGBTIQ staff and students;
  • demonstrate leadership in the areas of respect and inclusion for LGBTIQ staff and students;
  • practice respectful, accepting and non-homophobic language and behaviour that is in keeping with our policy work towards increasing the acceptance of diverse sexualities and genders;
  • develop and promote a greater understanding of the LGBTIQ community;
  • promote a community that includes and embraces diverse sexualities and gender;
  • work to dismantle homophobia and heterosexism;
  • commit to making positive changes within the University; and
  • attend Ally Network meetings.

Why become an Ally?

There are many reasons to become an Ally, following are a few:

  • You could make a difference to your campus environment and the experience of LGBTIQ staff and students;
  • You could make the campus a better place for everyone ;
  • You have the opportunity to interact with and learn from a community with which you may not otherwise interact; and
  • Your work toward ending homophobia and heterosexism could help members of the LGBTIQ community develop stronger self-esteem and pride in who they are.

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How do I become an Ally?

In order to become an Ally you need to complete a training session, organised by Equity and Diversity, during which you will cover the following topics:

  • Reflection upon your own assumptions and understanding of LGBTIQ people;
  • Become familiar with some of the issues faced by LGBTIQ staff and students such as sexual prejudice and 'coming out'; and
  • Overview of the University Ally Network and what it means to become an Ally.

After the training session, you can nominate yourself to become an Ally, and we will provide you with the University Ally stickers and Ally pin to identify you as an Ally.

You may also find that you do not feel comfortable with the role of Ally and decide not to become one.

The Ally Network communicates via email and meets four times a year to discuss issues, organise events, and participate in training. We also have a social group that gets together to attend social events.

More information

For further information contact Equity and Diversity (opens in a new window) on 9678 7378.

To My Grade 7 Self

Watch this powerful To My Grade 7 Self video (opens in a new window) produced by Get REAL, a Canadian non-profit movement that empowers uni age students to help high school age students unlearn LGBT discrimination and harmful language, and embrace difference and positivity.

Link to Video: To My Grade 7 Self

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