Homophobia discussed at Deakin

Deakin University’s Nic Downes (left) and Roxanne Thomson promote yesterday’s cafeteria drop-in discussion for International Day Against Homophobia.         Picture: ANGELA MILNE

Deakin University’s Nic Downes (left) and Roxanne Thomson promote yesterday’s cafeteria drop-in discussion for International Day Against Homophobia. Picture: ANGELA MILNE

HOMOPHOBIA was the topic of discussion in the Deakin University Warrnambool campus cafeteria yesterday.

As part of International Day Against Homophobia, the university’s gender and sexuality advocate group Deakin Allies hosted a “drop-in discussion” and morning tea in the campus cafe. Deakin Allies spokeswoman Roxanne Thomson said the aim of the event was to encourage a respectful discussion about homophobia.

Ms Thomson said the event was not a debate, but raised a series of questions to stimulate discussion to help improve understanding about sexuality.

It was not a “coming-out event” but a chance for people to say ‘no’ to homophobia and to take part in an informal conversation.

“If people want to put forward a different perspective we are happy to hear that and perhaps give another point of view.”

Ms Thomson said such events were important, especially in rural areas or at smaller university campuses such as Deakin Warrnambool.

“I came out in a rural Queensland town and I suffered horrendous bullying — I couldn’t find anyone else in my small community who was a lesbian,” she said.

“I felt ostracised by teachers and other students.”

But she praised Deakin, describing it as the “most supportive work environment” she had worked in, adding that Warrnambool was “on a positive path” when it came to battling homophobia.

“This type of event is very positive for Deakin and we hope it has a ripple effect for the Warrnambool community.”

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