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News & Events
LGBT Staff Network AGM 2021
UCC LGBT Staff Network elected a new Committee and reflected on the past year’s activities at its AGM on 9th December.
Outgoing Co-Chair Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin outlined key events, issues and intersections with the wider UCC community and beyond, and looked ahead to 2022. His outline indicated that despite Covid 19 restrictions, the Network was intensively active in 2021 via events, advocacy, and collaborations. All these activities had a common theme: promoting the inclusion, well-being and participation of LGBT+ people in university and public life, acting with Allies, and overcoming homophobia and its legacies.
A glance at Network events alone shows this common theme in action and indicates the extent of outreach, advocacy and interactions too. Promoting student welfare, Network members contributed to panel talks and workshops on ‘Coming Out at College’ and ‘Identifying as Trans’ at UCC Admissions Office’s ‘Fáilte Fest’ for 1st Year students and 2nd Years’ Orientation Days (Sept 2021). And promoting LGBT+ welfare across the University,
the Network participated in the ‘Coming Out at College’ webinar organised by the EDI unit as part of 11th October’s National Coming Out Day, along with representatives from the UCC SU and other LGBT+ groups such as NXF, TENI, LGBT Ireland.
National Coming Out Day was a joyous day for UCC’s LGBT+ community. UCC President John O’Halloran unveiled the UCC rainbow walkway (based on the LGBT+ Progress Flag) at a public ceremony. The rainbow walkway was proposed by the LGBT+ Network and is a joint initiative in partnership with the Student Union, Buildings and Estates and the EDI Unit. At the unveiling ceremony, the Network awarded Lifetime Honorary Membership to the Network’s founding members: Cathal Kerrigan and Joan McCarthy, formally presenting them with crystal trophies marking their contribution to LGBT+ rights in UCC and beyond. To further promote LGBT+ visibility on National Coming Out Day, the Network purchased a Progress Pride flag, which was flown by UCC on the day.
Advocacy, collaboration and outreach continued with the Network hosting a delegation from Cork City Council’s EDI unit who wished to see and hear about LGBT+ themed developments at UCC. In addition, the Network organised two LGBT+ health-matters public webinars, delivered by leading professionals and activists, for UCC Community Week 2021: ‘Improving Services for LGBT+ People with Dementia’ and ‘Cervical Screening Report for LGBTI+ people.’
The Network also organised a public webinar hosted by incoming Network Co-Chair Dr Fiachra Ó Súilleabháin as part of the national and inaugural ‘Valuing Ireland’s Teaching and Learning Week’ in November: TRANSforming the Curriculum’ with guest speaker Vanessa Lacey of TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland).
In November, the Network was delighted to hear that its incoming Treasurer, Dr Laurence Davis, was a successful nominee for the prestigious UCC Staff Recognition Award, The Frank McGrath Perpetual Award For Equality and Welfare.
Countering the isolation often felt during Covid 19, the Network emphasised online social events too, collaborating with UCC Book Club in November to host a joint event with Cork-born Gay author Jamie O’Connell discussing his debut novel Diving for Pearls. This event was preceded by a very successful giveaway competition for copies of the novel. Another popular giveaway competition organised by the Network involved tickets for the Quay Co-op documentary launched at Cork IndieFest in October; UCC LGBT activists including Cathal Kerrigan and Joan McCarthy featured in that documentary.
Looking forward to next year: the Network is collaborating with the community organisation LINC (Advocating for Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Ireland) and scholars from UCD, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Brighton to bring the 25th annual Lesbian Lives Conference to UCC in March 2022. Full details at https://www.ucc.ie/en/lesbianlives2022/
The new LGBT Staff Network committee includes Co-Chairs: Ms Mary O’Rourke and Dr Fiachra Ó Súilleabháin; Secretary: Ms Mary Byrne; Treasurer: Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin; PRO Ms Julie Butters; Events Officer: Dr Diarmuid Scully; LGBT+ Staff Liaison Officer: Dr Laurence Davis; Tyndall Representative T.H. Fass; Ordinary Members: Ms Silvia Brandi, Ms Ciara Murphy, Ms Kasia Pyrz.
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