At Ed. Collective we believe the best environment is one where people can work together and be real. We want to see learners reach their full potential, be encouraged and have opportunities to express their identities. That’s why we were delighted to catch up with Tim Davison of Out@AUT to hear about what he and the Auckland University of Technology are doing to support sexual diversity.
Tim Davison is Co-President of Out@AUT, and he told Ed. about how the organisation is helping to build an environment of mutual respect, care and acceptance among staff and students. Not only that, they’re having fun along the way!
According to Tim, Out@AUT is about socialising, networking and support. The group has been working hard to give LGBTTI issues more visibility and to be available as a consultative group for the University.
Tim explains that it can be pretty tough being gay in the workplace even though your sexuality has nothing to do with your work.
He says after being encouraged to go along to one of the Out@AUT network dinners, he met other LGBTTI staff members and found them inspiring. He was suddenly amongst people who had worked hard on many of the rights he can enjoy today. For him, it was life-changing.
A highlight of the Out@AUT calendar is the LYC Big Gay Out, and Tim is personally excited about helping to co-ordinate AUT staff and students for the annual Pride Parade. There’ll be around 120 people marching for AUT this year, and they’re working on flying a rainbow flag on campus.
Out@AUT has been instrumental in helping the university to become the first tertiary institute to receive the Rainbow Tick. Rainbow Ticks are awarded to organisations that complete a Diversity & Inclusion certification process. The certification tests whether a workplace understands, values and welcomes sexual and gender diversity. Each annual certification deserves a celebration, so there are plans for a huge rainbow cake. Sweet!
Tim says having Out@AUT sends a strong message that the university has an open, safe and supportive environment and that it’s okay to be who you really are, regardless if you’re LGBTTI or not. We think that’s a message every place of learning should be proud to share.
Tim’s advice to learners is to seek opportunities – university and Rainbow networks are a cool place to meet people and to get involved in events that can make a difference in your fellow students’ or other people’s lives as well.