From its initial humble historical origins, the social struggle of living proud and queer continues to be a challenging one. Whether we look to Stone Wall, the legislative weaponry passed in Texas and Florida, or the mental exhaustion brought on by the red setting, queer people everywhere continue to hold the line. That is what I truly admire about the Queer Community; despite what civil society or the international system throws at us, we own who we are fearlessly and unapologetically. As Electra Abundance from the TV series Pose says, “being yourself takes courage.” A phrase that queer folk more often than not personify—sometimes unknowingly.
I reckon there is a spiritual nature to being queer, often difficult to describe if the words do not come naturally. It is that sense of connectivity that all queer people share, bonded by the sense of empowerment that comes with not fitting into the boxes. We witness it at Pride, a wild display of spontaneous colours marking our membership expansion and political growth. We sense it in our nightlife, a safe space that exists beyond the confines and suffocation imposed by heteronormative society. We see it at university, where the pursuit of knowledge awakens our youth to the truth of who they are. It exists in our hearts; that letter we wish to write to our younger selves, telling them that everything will be okay and that everything works out. Whatever your truth, the spiritual nature of queerness awakens all to the possibilities of life.
I think that is why I ran for the Queer Rights Officer portfolio, to restore that sense of pride and being that was lost by the suffocation of lockdown. Stimulating lost morale requires finding a spark that hopefully exists somewhere beyond the polarity of power, privilege, and entitlement. Next to building a queer social life that lasts, I wish to build memories; something that will last longer than any individual’s term in office. The prosperity of queer social life on campus should be built by queer students for queer students, anyone that wishes to join is welcome.
Lastly, to first-year queer students navigating their first semester of university online, I take my hat off to you. Exiting almost two years of online NCEA, Cambridge, or IB to enter potentially a full year of online university is no easy contortion. Keep an eye on our Queer Student Council and AUSA Facebook pages, we aim to have a strong presence for 2022 Pride Week. Alternatively, should you need anything, my door is always open in Queer Space.
I wish Auckland University’s Queer Community a very happy pride week. You are all stronger than you may know or realise. I look forward to seeing you all back on campus at some point.
Your Queer Rights Officer