It’s all about a place to give voice and a place to learn. That’s the reflection of Sharn Riggs, TEU National Secretary, who has just come back from the NTEU National LGBTIQ Conference: Our Voice @ Work & Beyond in Melbourne, Australia.

The conference ran from 31 January and 1 February 2020 and was organised by the NTEU’s (our sister union the National Tertiary Education Union, Australia) Queer Unionists in Tertiary Education (QUTE) caucus .

The Our Voice @ Work & Beyond conference was held to help empower NTEU members to connect with issues related to people of diverse sexualities and genders and represent these through activism at branch, divisional and national levels of the NTEU.

The NTEU conference saw a number of LGBTQI+, union, sector and academic speakers present on a range of topics and issues, including activism and collective strength, indigenous intersectionality, and the issues affecting sexuality and gender diverse people in tertiary institutions.

TEU National Secretary Sharn Riggs, and National Industrial Officer Irena Brorens were welcomed as guests at the NTEU conference.

For Riggs, the conference provided an opportunity to hear from a diverse range of voices on the issues facing the LGBTQI+ community, and of the types of campaigning and collective action needed within tertiary education to ensure diversity and inclusion:

“It was a wonderful event. NTEU is doing some amazing work in the LGBTQI+ space. It really reinforces the fact that unions are the place to give voice, and to really make change in all sorts environments”.

Reflections and knowledge gained from the conference will assist with the development of the programme for the TEU Rainbow Te Kahukura Hui to be held in 2020.