On May 17, TEU will celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia in our offices, and at tertiary education institutions across Aotearoa.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQIA+ people and all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

Jennifer Middendorf, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury TEU branch member, and member of the TEU rainbow network says IDAHOBIT is about creating a supportive and welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ staff and students,

‘One of the biggest issues facing the rainbow community is being rejected by our whānau, friends, and by people in our workplaces. That discrimination has a real impact on people, and to feel as though people around us are actually fighting against that, and alongside people in the rainbow community, is really important. The feeling that the workplace is at least one supportive place where we can be is huge, especially in the tertiary education sector, where both staff and students are affected. In celebrating IDAHOBIT we can make sure our campuses are not just places where members of our Rainbow community feel accepted, but welcomed’.

For Jennifer, the day is about both fostering solidarity with the rainbow community, and raising awareness of the inequities and challenges many LGBTQIA+ people face everyday.

‘All campuses and departments are different. There are places where there is a lot of acceptance and support for the rainbow community, and others where there is much work to be done, where people still have the fear of rejection. So in some places, highlighting and fighting discrimination is really important, in others, just being supportive – and visibly supportive – is what’s important, and IDAHOBIT is a day about actively engaging in the creation of that’.