June stands for a month's worth of celebration and acknowledging the importance of the LGBTQI+ community. And our section could not help itself from participating in its 25th festivity in Vienna! By virtue of providing students with a large array of activities and learning opportunities that they can benefit from, the Rainbow Team (our new working group dedicated to including the LGBTQ+ community in our work) organised an entire week dedicated to its commemoration that started on the 12th of June up until the 19th of June. This initiative wrapped up with the Vienna Pride Parade, where together with ESN Austria and EDDI Bike we ensured that our students would not miss the opportunity of partaking in this act of advocating for the most basic human rights.
We kicked the week off with a unique workshop designed by our team entitled “LGBT- Life Gets Better Together”, the alliteration makes sound even better, doesn’t it? Well, the premise of this event was that of providing an educational platform for those interested in expanding their knowledge while also piquing the interest of those who might not otherwise be aware of the lacunae they have about this community. The agenda of the workshop consisted in uncovering background information in relation to the most omnipresent elements of discussion, e.i., we planned on tackling the linguistic formalities that shape our understanding of the world, as such we asked ourselves what the difference between LGBT, LGBTQ and LGBTQIA+ is, how we define gender, while also bringing to the light the uncertainties related to the story that lies behind the famous Rainbow Flag.
On the same day, we continued our educational activities by expanding the reach to all those who could learn by passing through their social media feed. More exactly, we promoted platforms on our channels, such as ILGA World, that campaign for LGBTI human rights on the international human rights and civil rights scene, and regularly organise petitions.
As days went by, we shared informational posts set out to decrypt the LGBTQ+ symbols, but also shedded light on the efforts taken, research findings or the call offered by organisations, such as IGLYO (International LGBTQI Youth and Student Organisation), for providing more inclusive curricula in schools, or the need to campaign more about this subject in everyday lives of students who experience bullying regularly. Not to mention the listing of Vienna's Queer Spots which promoted inclusive businesses opened up by the community such as counselling centres, cafes, clubs or bookstores.
One more event organised before the large celebration was the Online Movie Night - perfect recreational ending to the educational activities organised previously, where we watched the famous film “Douglas” together on Netflix which combined mundane observational humor, American culture, autism and historical art "with empathy, wit and some extremely relatable metaphor.”
Eventually our full week culminated in the famous Vienna Pride Parade where our section, together with all people embracing of the spirit, celebrated the right to personal sexual orientation and gender expression. As a team composed of partners and fella students, we carried a flag throughout the streets of Vienna that further accentuated our stance regarding the exclusivity of our society and the urgency of promoting a liberal spirit. What a way to end this celebration of LOVE and FREEDOM! Emotions were high as after a year of isolation from everything embraceful and positive, we allowed ourselves to become entangled in this frenzy honouring of human rights.