17 August 2023

The 2023 Interschool Student Sexuality and Gender Leadership Conference

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The 2023 Interschool Student Sexuality and Gender Leadership Conference
The 2023 Interschool Student Sexuality and Gender Leadership Conference
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On Thursday 3 August the Carey Pride Leadership Group had the opportunity to attend the second annual Interschool Student Sexuality and Gender Leadership Conference hosted by Melbourne Grammar School. There were 22 independent and state schools from across Melbourne involved in this year’s conference.

The day started with an introduction from Melbourne Grammar School Captain Daniel Cash, followed by a speech from comedian, TV presenter and writer Zoe Coombs Marr who talked about the evolution of LGBTIQ+ people in the media. Zoe’s address was followed by a Q and A session with Carey’s own Pride Group leader, Eliza, alongside Melbourne Grammar School Captain Daniel and one of Melbourne Grammar’s pride alliance leaders, Ashley, the panel discussed school curriculum, student leadership, bigotry in schools and different experiences coming out in school settings.

The introductory session was followed by the first choice of workshops on various subjects concerning LGBTIQ+ issues, including Gender euphoria and dysphoria, supporting gender diversity and creating safe spaces in schools for LGBTIQ+ students. The workshop on creating safe spaces for students within the community discussed and gave inspiration on how we can work with the school, teachers and students to create a better, more supportive and safer environment for LGBTIQ+ students. The workshop also focussed on the importance of having LGBTIQ+ student voices within the school and the importance of education of teachers within the community. Other workshops discussed supporting diverse identities in a modern world where society has become more accepting of queer identities, the importance of continuing positive change, and the complexities between gender identity and assigned sex and navigating gender dysphoria and euphoria.

The first round of workshops was followed by a break giving the chance to talk to students from other schools, before the second group of workshops began. The second round of workshops discussed the topics of intersectionality, identity and mental health, and leadership and events. The intersectionality workshop discussed how race, religion, culture and sexuality can multiply experiences of discrimination and the importance of identity within yourself, following the day’s theme of ‘being yourself’. While the workshop on identity and mental health had similar themes linking to identity, it discussed how important it is to have a sense of identity within yourself, how no-one else can define your identity but yourself. The workshop also focussed on how loss of identity can unravel mental health and how helpful creating supportive and healthy environments for conversations surrounding mental health is for many students. The third workshop on ‘leading with pride’ talked about how to plan events to create more visibility within school communities and build support.

The conference was an informative and engaging experience, with the group walking away with a lot of inspiration and knowledge to share with the rest of the Carey Pride Group and the greater student body. The group meets every Thursday Week A in C108 and is always welcoming new members! A bonus of the conference was meeting students from a range of other schools who have established Pride Alliance student groups and the sharing of events and opportunities for Carey Pride Group students to engage with other schools and to continue to build on the knowledge shared at this year’s conference.

Keira and Eliza
Year 10 students from the 2023 Carey Pride Group

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