Welcome to OUSA Queer Support
We are dedicated to making the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic, the most inclusive tertiary institutions in New Zealand. We recognise that often your student years are ones where you are exploring your identities and getting ready to tell others about who you are. Finding out about and coming to terms with gender and sexual identity is sometimes a challenging and confusing experience.
It can be daunting to be confronted with labels such as gay, lesbian, bi, trans, 'queer'. OUSA and OPSA recognise that sexual orientation and gender identity are not fixed but are parts of what makes us the unique individuals that we are at any given time.
What we offer:
- A confidential chat with the Queer Support Coordinator.
Sometimes having someone to talk to is an important first step into understanding who you are and preparing yourself to tell others about it. Our Queer Support Coordinator is friendly and well trained in theory around pastoral care and queer identities. Feel free to pop into the student support centre or arrange an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All conversations are guaranteed to be professional and confidential.
- Peer Support
Once you have figured out your identity, often a student’s next step is to try and find community and friends who are like-minded. This is where our super-awesome, well-trained interns can come in! The Queer Support Coordinator can peer you up with an intern to hang-out with, have coffee chats with and to attend queer events with you. Just having someone you know in the community makes things seem a whole lot less scary.
- SPACE Chat
This is our weekly queer and questioning discussion group. This is a great way to meet other queer and questioning students in a controlled and safe environment. We chat about a whole range topics and often watch video clips and check out other online material to keep up-to-date with queer news from around the world. There is always food, drink and good times so check us out in Room 5, first floor, OUSA Clubs and Societies, 84 Albany Street, every Monday during the semester from 1pm – 2pm.
Are you getting a rough time at uni due to your sex, sexuality or gender identity? The University is committed to providing a safe campus environment for all students, so if this is not your experience then come and chat to the Queer Support Coordinator. We are well placed to help you make change through policy development, lodging complaints or mediation. Even if you are not wanting to make change, just reporting incidents of homophobia or transphobia is very important for our records and research.
Check out the tabs above for more information about SPACE, Transgender enrolments, Resources, Library and contact details.
About Hahna Briggs, our Queer Support Coordinator
Hi, my name is Hahna and I am the current Queer Support Coordinator. I moved to Dunedin in 2007 to pursue my passion for contemporary dance by completing a Masters in Dance Studies. During this time I utilised the Queer Support services and joined UniQ. I have held many exciting roles in my working life predominantly in the Disability and Dance sectors, including tertiary and community teaching, support and advocacy, and administration. I was honoured to receive the 2013 Caroline Plummer Fellowship here at the University of Otago, and hosted by the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sceince. I spend most of my leisure time dancing with my awesome crew GASP! Dance Collective, going to the gym and hanging out with my partner (and Maui, our Cat). I have been on the Dunedin Pride Collective for the last two years, and have thoroughly enjoyed being more actively involved in local Queer events. Feel free to pop in for a chat or make an appointment to receive some support. I look forward to meeting you!
'Queer' is a term used to describe the many variations of sexual attraction and sex/gender identity, including intersex, transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, asexual, fa'afafine, takatapui, lesbian, bisexual and gay. Although it may not be the preferred term for everyone, it is used to challenge binary representations of sexuality, sex, and gender.