QUEERS OF BRISBANE
We still live in a heteronormative world, even in our classrooms. This can be hard for LGBTQI students, especially those who don’t feel safe or are not OUT in their country. I wanted to create a SAFE SPACE where international LGBTQI students had somewhere to meet and be themselves. Rainbow Hub was borne out of this realisation and these students are the inspiration for the Rainbow Hub.
What started out as a casual meet up with a small group of Queer international students at the school I work at has grown into creating a safe and welcoming space for the wider Brisbane community. I feel very lucky to have met all and hear their stories. One story that still resonates with me was that of a Brazilian student, named Vivi. She came out as transgender to her mother when she 14. Her mother feared for Vivi’s life living in Brazil so she moved her to Paris as a teenager to live with her mother’s friend. Being a mother myself, I cannot comprehend how her mother had to deal with this situation but if her child’s life was in danger, what else could she do? I would hope that Vivi was able to find a group of people that would be there to support and befriend her. I encouraged Vivi to tell her story to her class mates as I have learnt that stories that speak from the heart are the way you educate people. To help people understand. That we as queer people, maybe a minority but we are the same as anybody, except maybe we spend more money on hair products, face creams and wear fancier shoes.
Statistics on the number of international students who identify as LGBTQI are unavailable and generally difficult to gauge; however, according to the Victorian AIDS Council, it is widely believed that 10% of the population is sexually fluid. Thus, if we are to estimate at least 75,000 students commenced their studies in QLD in 2016, then we can predict that 7,500 students would identify as LGBTQI. It’s important that we as a state ensure these LGBTQI students feel welcomed and safe. These students are important to QLD.
At the Rainbow hub we are committed to creating a community where International LGBTQI students and friends can meet and openly share their experiences in a safe and trusting environment.
Where international LGBTQI students can access information to LGBTQI services which will allow them to connect with friends and the wider community. Thus enhancing the experience of the LGBTQI international students in Queensland and thus, being able to share their positive experience with others both here and their home country.
For me, personally, the Rainbow hub program is close to my heart and so far has been deeply rewarding with the people I have met inspirational.