Pride Day 2016
On 19 August, Darwin High School held its very first Pride Day. This student-led initiative supported LGBTQIA+ students, and is part of Darwin High School’s ongoing wellbeing focus. The initiative was also supported by the Darwin High School Board, the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC), Headspace, Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH) and Northside Health.
The lunchtime event had a festival atmosphere, with members of the school community dressing in rainbow colours or wearing a rainbow pin to show their support for the day. Students and staff enjoyed musical performances from school band GAIA, and students Jasica Jong and Naz. Guest speakers Ira Racines from YEAH, Daniel Alderman from NTAHC, and Dr Danielle Stewart from Northside Health also addressed students in between performances. There was plenty of rainbow themed food and merchandise available, with proceeds going to NTAHC to assist them with their work of supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals and young people within the community. An information stall with LGBTQIA+ resources was also accessible to students interested in learning more about LGBTQIA+ issues and identities.
The event was a huge success and an absolute credit to the group of students who initiated, planned and coordinated the day. Feedback about the day was overwhelmingly positive:
“[Pride Day] made me realise that I’m not alone”
“[Pride Day] did not directly affect me, but my transgender friend has never smiled so much, and I really appreciate that he could be himself and talk to people with experience.”
“It was [a] really beautiful event. Very moving to see all the acceptance and love.”
“As a queer woman, [Pride Day] made me realise how impactful youth empowerment can be. The gathering of so many supportive/LGBTQIA+ people brought me to tears.”
“Thank you so much for organising this event. Most of my friends are bisexual, and I have a couple of lesbian and transgender friends that really benefitted from the positive atmosphere and acceptance that the whole school has shown for them through Pride Day.”
Additionally, in the lead up to the Pride Day, all Darwin High School teachers attended a professional learning session with NTAHC focused on inclusive practice for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA).
The session covered:
- Explanation of the different labels/identities encompassed by the acronym LGBTQIA
- The challenges that LGBTQIA student might typically encounter in their lives and at school
- Ways that staff can work with LGBTQIA students to ensure they feel included, safe and supported in their community
Events such as Pride Day provide an opportunity to celebrate diversity and promote understanding and inclusion within our school and the wider community. This event is part of our ongoing commitment to provide a safe, supportive and welcoming learning environment for all students.
The day raised a $1000 donation for NTAHC, and plans are already underway for Pride Day 2017.