UL’s Best Society is Back!

We’re about to head into a new semester and with that comes new adventures and opportunities for UL’s best society!  I want to say a huge welcome and good luck to all the new students starting in UL, and welcome back to all of our older members, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful, relaxing summer and are fresh and excited for the semester ahead, I know I am!

The last year has been incredible for our society and we were awarded the title of Best Society in UL, a title we plan to live up to in the coming year.  We have so much planned for this semester, from our weekly members meetings which take place every Monday starting in Week 2, our weekly Queer hangouts in the Students Union where our members can come and relax and get to know each other and take a break from the hustle and bustle of college life, and of course Rainbow Week.  Rainbow Week is one of the busiest, but most exciting weeks of the semester for Out in UL, with educational workshops, displays in the courtyard, our big night in with food, fun and games, and of course, our Big Night Out!  Now if you’re new here I bet you’re thinking that that does not sound like something you’d want to miss, but how do you join? Well its easy:

  1. Pre-Register on ULSU.ie
  2. Come say hi to us at the recruitment drive in the UL Sports Arena on Wednesday the 7th of September (there will be lots of rainbows, you won’t miss us!) and pay the €3 membership fee.
  3. If you can’t make it to the recruitment drive do the following steps and pay at our first meeting of the semester in Week 2.
  4. YAY! You’re officially a Queer Wolf!

We look forward to meeting and welcoming all of our new LGBTQI+ students and our allies into the Out in UL family, so don’t be shy, come along and bring a friend, and you’ll make new ones here too! If you’re interested in joining our committee and learning new skills too, there will be an EGM in Week 2 where you can run for a committee position.  There are 4 positions available: Ordinary Committee Member, First Year Representative, Treasurer and Secretary positions.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been a part of a committee before, we have excellent, experienced committee members to help guide you as you learn, and it’s a great opportunity to get to know people, and can count as volunteering towards you President’s Award too!

Make sure you follow us @outinul on all of our social medias; Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, for updates on our upcoming events and the time and location of our weekly meetings.  If you have any questions, feel free to message us on any of our social medias, we are always more than happy to help in any way we can!  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

237

Orla x

Advertisements

Queerbash 14 is near!

QueerBash 14 poster

Out in UL’s largest showcase event, Queerbash, will take place on Friday, April 7th in Dolans Warehouse. Queerbash, now in its fourteenth year, is Limerick’s longest running LGBTQ+ night out, and also one of the longest running events in the University of Limerick’s history.

Every year, Queerbash takes on a new theme, with people encouraged to dress up and all the décor of the night based around that theme. This year, the theme of Queerbash 14 is ‘Fairytales and Fiction: Let your Imagination Run Wild’. People will come emulating their favourite fictional characters and creatures on the night.

Queerbash was set up by the late Paddy McHugh as a way of bringing the LGBTQ+ community and wider community together, to reclaim the term “Queerbash” in a positive way, and also as a response to the violence against the queer community in Limerick at the time. The event is carried on with these aims in mind, and also to give local talent and University talent a chance to showcase what they can do.

The show will be hosted by a former Alternative Miss UL performer, Notorious K.I.D, and will also feature performances by UL Drama Soc, BA in Voice and Dance students, and Ruth Walsh and Billy Verlinden. This year, local band A Weekend Away, winners of University Battle of the Bands 2017, will be featured in the show. There will also be a live DJ, Eoghan Clark. With a wide variety of acts, from both communities, it is sure to be a great night with something for everyone.

Doors open for the event from 9.00pm, April 7th in Dolans Warehouse. Tickets price is €10 and can be bought at the door.

Out in UL’s first consent workshop

1094

Out in UL held its first ever consent workshop as part of the Not Just SomeBody campaign.

The workshop was led by Co-President Ciara Ciara Mag Mhuirneacháin and First Year Rep Orla McDermott. It focused on putting scenarios involving consent forward to those taking part. Everyone who took part came away with a better understanding of issues around consent and better equipped to speak to others about it.

The consent workshop was one of three held in one day as part of Out in UL’s Not Just SomeBody campaign, which also included  workshops on Domestic Abuse (with the Feminist Society) and on Gender Identity. Highway to Heels Catwalk that took place in the Courtyard as part of the campaign.

Out in UL recognises the importance of issues around consent hopes to see more consent workshops being held on UL campus in the future.

Highway to Heels Catwalk video

Check out the highlights from the Highway to Heels Catwalk that took place in the Courtyard on Tuesday as part of Out In UL’s Not Just SomeBody campaign which aimed to promote gender equality and show that what you wear doesn’t define who you are.

The campaign also included workshops on Consent, Domestic Abuse and Gender to educate and spread awareness about these important issues that contain one common theme: Our right to make decisions about our own bodies.

Heels vid screenshot

UL Best Society WINNERS 2017

C&S Group w Lydia

Out in UL had an amazing UL Clubs and Societies Awards 2017 haul, winning the Overall Best Society award for 2017. This is the second time the society have won this award. having last received it in 2015.

There was elation among the committee as our name was called as winners of the award, a true vindication of everything the society has done in the last year to better the lives of LGBTQ people on UL campus.

Queerbash 13 was shortlisted in the top three for best event while Co-President Ciara Ciara Mag Mhuirneacháin made it to the top three individuals.

Out in UL Co-President Seán Lynch received the Mike Sadlier Overall Lifetime Achievement award 2017, a recognition of the work he has put into helping make the society the success it is today. Seán has three years of experience on the society’s committee and has really made a huge contribution in wider C&S in UL.

Out in UL will go forward to represent UL at the national societies’ awards BICS in the Best Society category on April 13. Wish us luck!

Alternative Miss UL 2017

AMUL 2017

By Aoibhínn Slattery

amul poster

On Thursday of Week 5, February 23rd 2017, Out in UL hosted one of our biggest events of the second semester in the form of Alternative Miss UL. AMUL is the annual amateur drag competition held in the Scholars Club by Out in UL and we always welcome numerous performers –drag kings, queens and also faux queens and kings– to take to the stage and unleash their inner drag disasters.

Preparations for AMUL had our committee working hard over the last few weeks. At our weekly member’s meeting on the Monday (20th February), we had a meeting on the topic of Gender Identity and Expression, which included a discussion about drag and why it has such cultural significance within the LGBTQ+ Community. Right up until the night, the feelings of excitement were at their height in Out in UL HQ and beyond! Indeed, we attracted fantastic crowds to AMUL, Out in UL members and non-members alike. The turnout was outstanding with the Scholar’s Club packed to capacity. The crowd seemed very engaged and some were even live- tweeting the event! Though some people who were in Scholars beforehand may or may not have been aware that AMUL was taking place there, a few looked ever so slightly taken aback when the action began, but it did not take long for them to start cheering on our queens and enjoy themselves immensely!

This year, AMUL was hosted by  Mei Yuan, one of the queens who competed in last year’s AMUL and came in second place.One of our previous winners, drag queen Aurora Sapphyre performed a beautiful ballad act at this year’s AMUL, which was very well received by everyone in attendance. We welcomed three contestants, all of whom were first-time performers with no previous drag experience. We had Betty Swallows, Royal Pain  and TeCiara Mockingbird who was one of the joint hosts for AMUL 2016!, As a member of the audience, I myself was completely and utterly awestruck by how impressive all the contestants were, especially considering that this was the contestants’ drag debut. The winner was Betty Swallows, who pulled off a remarkable performance that left the crowd mesmerised. It was a particularly entertaining act for those sitting at the judges’ table, right in front of the stage! The winner was presented with a tiara, a sceptre and two tickets to Dragged Up’s Latrice and Aja, which takes place in late May in HANGAR, Dublin. Also, thanks to the Odeon Cinema Castletroy, there were two cinema passes that were raffled on the night.

 

 

Now that AMUL 2017 is done, Out in UL HQ is now preparing for our next big event, Queerbash! This is perhaps Out in UL’s largest event of the year. Each year Queerbash has a different theme and the theme is announced at AMUL, and the theme of Queerbash XIV will be ‘Fairytales and Fiction-Let your imagination run wild’. Queerbash will take place in Dolans on Friday 7th April; tickets will be sold at the door for €10 and will be hosted by none other than Notorious K.I.D, a much-loved previous winner of AMUL who also performed at this at our Big Night Out in Stroker’s Gay Bar during Rainbow Week last semester. We have many amazing acts lined up for the night, including the band and performances from UL Drama Society and some students from the B.A. Voice and Dance programme. It should be a fantastic event so come along, and here’s hoping it will be an even bigger success than AMUL.

AMUL 2017 Contestants

Out in UL Create Gender and Sexuality Wall for Rainbow Week!

By Kiera Thornton

As a part of Rainbow Week 2016, Out in UL held an interactive event in the Students’ Union Courtyard on Wednesday 9th November which allowed people on campus to contribute to the society’s Gender and Sexuality Wall. The wall was painted with a total of eighteen different colours, each representing one sexual orientation or gender identity. Passers-by who visited the courtyard between 12-3pm were invited to paint sections on the wall to represent their own orientation and gender, eventually filling each of the wall’s segments with a diverse range of colour.

The Gender and Sexuality Wall was created with the aim of bringing about awareness for lesser-represented sexual orientations and gender identities. This corresponds with one of Out in UL’s aims as a society and a key objective of Rainbow Week; showcasing the diversity of sexuality, gender expression and gender identity among UL’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community. This event allowed queer identities to be publicly showcased to the entire university population, in hope of bringing the LGBTQ+ community and the wider community on campus together.

With people’s perceptions of orientation and gender beginning to evolve beyond the binary ideals of the past, the Gender and Sexuality Wall event was crucial not just for showcasing diverse identities but for educating others. Indeed, many students approached Out in UL’s stand throughout the afternoon, with the intention of learning more about the topics of sexuality and gender identity. Students were also afforded with the opportunity to take a quiz on the various LGBTQ+ pride flags to enter a raffle, with one lucky person winning a free Christmas Days ticket. All of those who took part in the event kept an open mind on the subject of queer identity, and certainly Out in UL successfully educated many people with this event.

This event was one of many events held by Out in UL during Rainbow Week, an annual event hosted by the society which marked its sixth year and took place during Week 10 of the semester, November 7th-11th. Education is consistently a key aim of Rainbow Week, and other educational events held during the week included the workshop on feminism and the LGBTQ+ community, delivered in conjunction with UL Feminist Society on the Thursday of Rainbow Week. Out in UL also held Queer in the Courtyard – another interactive event which invited people to reflect on what the word “queer” meant to them – and teamed up with Limerick-based charity GOSHH to hold a workshop on the gender spectrum.

Among the other events which happened during Rainbow Week were the “Past, Present, Future” event in the Scholars Club – a nod to Out in UL’s history, allowing members to reflect on the past of the society, while looking to our hopefully bright and long future – and UL Drama Society’s “Stigma”, a production about mental health which featured stories from two of our committee members. Of course, Rainbow Week would not have been complete without the staple “Big Night Out” in Strokers on Thursday 10th November, a fantastic event with performances from Notorious K.I.D. and Alice Pow, as well as music from DJ Eoghan Clark. The ethos of Rainbow Week is “education, fun and educational fun”, and this year’s events most certainly lived up to this objective.

(Originally published in An Focal – ULSU Student Newspaper.)

Rainbow Week 2016!

By Robert Culhane

This year’s Rainbow Week falls on Week 10 of the semester, starting on Monday the 7th of November. The idea of Rainbow Week is to celebrate the LGBTQ community in its entirety through a fun and educational way. It is hosted during the autumn semester of every year and is one of Out in UL’s biggest events. The week involves a lot of work and dedication by all committee members as it takes a substantial amount of time and coordination to organise, but the finished product should be an amazing week on campus. The aim of Rainbow Week is also to provide visibility of the LGBTQ community in the wider society in an inclusive manner whereby anyone can partake in the events organised by Out in UL throughout the week. It is our week as a society to showcase what we do and what we stand for in a fun, interactional way while also educating people on LGBTQ topics.

Rainbow Week starts on Monday the 7th of November with ‘Queer in the Courtyard’ from 1 to 3pm. The centrepiece of this event is a canvas with the word ‘queer’ which will be placed in the students’ union courtyard. Anyone is welcome to write on the canvas whatever they feel the word queer means to them. Despite using the word ‘queer’, it is not just open to LGBTQ people and everyone is invited to take part. On Monday evening from 7 until 9pm we will be hosting our ‘Past, Present, Future’ event in scholars which is a mixer for past, present and future Out in UL members. We will be showcasing past events and achievements as well as looking at how we hope to advance as a society and move forward in the future.

Then, on Tuesday we have our ‘Gender Spectrum Workshop’ with GOSHH in SU Room 3 from 1 to 2pm. GOSHH are a charity based in Limerick city who provide information on sexual health and LGBTQ+ topics, and this workshop will focus on gender variance. In the evening we are holding our ‘Big Night In’ event in Plassey Hall from 7 o’clock onwards where we will enjoy a relaxing evening with games, takeaway and music. All members are welcome!

On Wednesday in the student union’s courtyard from 12 to 3pm we will be hosting our ‘Gender and Sexuality’ event where we will provide a board for people to paint different colours which will represent the different genders and sexualities of the LGBTQ community. In the evening, our good friends in UL’s Drama Society are holding Stigma, a performance in which monologues about mental health are read out. Some of our members have submitted pieces to Stigma to give a much-needed queer slant on the mental health issue.

Thursday will see us holding another collaboration event, this time with the Feminist society which will be a workshop on the LGBTQ’s place within the feminist movement. As queer people on all parts of the spectrum have for a long time played a major role in feminism, this should be an incredibly interesting workshop.

In the evening we will be holding our ‘Big Night Out’ event, which is one of the most anticipated events during Rainbow Week every year. This will take place in Strokers on Upper William Street – Limerick’s only LGBTQ-specific venue – and will feature performances from some of our fantastic members and friends. Doors open at 9pm and it should be a fantastic night for all! Finally, on Friday we will be hosting Recovery Tea with the Tea Appreciation Society from 1-3pm in SU Room 3 where we will all sit around and relax, drinking tea and playing games to recover from the busy week. As you can see, Rainbow Week has an amazing line-up this year and we hope it will a wonderful week which showcases the vibrancy of UL’s queer community.

Orlando Pulse Remembrance

orlandopulseremembrance

By Kiera Thornton

On Tuesday October 25th, Out in UL held a remembrance ceremony for the victims of the Pulse shooting which occurred earlier this year. This was Out in UL’s event for SoUL Week which was held to mark one of the deadliest incidents of violence against LGBTQ+ people in history, allowing people on campus to pay their respects to those who died and to stand in solidarity with UL’s queer community.

The tragedy this ceremony remembered took place in the early hours of June 12th when a lone gunman attacked Pulse, a queer nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 49 people were killed and dozens more was injured. Pulse is particularly popular among the Latinx queer people in Orlando and over half of the victims were of Puerto Rican descent, a fact that is too often erased from media coverage of this tragedy. The shooting sent shockwaves through the international LGBTQ+ community and the pain and despair in Orlando was most certainly felt worldwide, with people all around the globe expressing their sympathies on social media. Even months after Pulse was attacked, it feels fresh in the minds of queer people.

Out in UL’s Orlando Pulse Remembrance took place in UL’s Main Plaza at nightfall. Attendees gathered at 7pm and thanks to the help of ULFM committee members, the entire ceremony was aired live on campus radio. The ceremony was opened by Out in UL Co-President, Seán Lynch, who spoke a little bit about the importance of Out in UL holding such an event. “The LGBTQ+ community is brought together by a common set of experiences and ideas and thought and lives, and although something like the Orlando tragedy can have happened halfway across the world, it is something we either can all feel or can know someone else who has felt their pain.”

Following this, Lorcan O’Donnell, Out in UL’s Campaigns Officer, talked about his own unique experience having been in the United States when the Pulse shooting occurred. This powerful speech described the reaction to the shooting in the Castro LGBTQ+ neighbourhood of San Francisco and how queer people stood together after the tragedy. After this, the names of those who died at Pulse were read out and the lanterns that had been laid out in the Main Plaza were set alight; 49 lanterns for each of the 49 victims. This emotional moment was followed up by a speech from ULSU Welfare Officer Caolan O’Donnell, which expressed a message of togetherness in the midst of tragedy and praised UL’s queer community. “Our LGBTQ+ community in UL are among the most welcoming you could ever meet. They do not judge a person based on how they appear or who they love, but rather by the integrity of their character, […] time and time again we see these people as strong, vocal advocates for selflessness”. Seán Lynch concluded the ceremony with a final speech in which he thanked all those who came along and those who made the event possible. Most of the attendees remained for at least another half hour, reflecting on the tragedy and taking in the candlelit spectacle.

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most emotional and empowering events held by Out in UL in recent years, the Orlando Pulse Remembrance ceremony achieved one of the society’s fundamental aims in bringing the LGBTQ+ community and the wider community together. People stood together – regardless of orientation, gender, race or religion – to remember those whose lives were lost in the Pulse shooting. Certainly, this event allowed everyone on campus to show their solidarity towards LGBTQ+ people at this university.

#Education Is and why education access is an LGBTQ+ community issue

By Kiera Thornton (Vice-President and Public Relations Officer, Out in UL)

Image result for education is usi

Today, Wednesday 19th October, thousands of people will take to the streets of Dublin to protest against further increases in student fees in Ireland. With the Irish government suggesting that they will implement a student loan system and increase student contributions to €5,000, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has organised the “Education Is” campaign to fight back. Many other groups are taking part, including UL Students’ Union and Transgender Equality Network Ireland, to name but a few.

Such an increase in student contributions would have a major impact on access to third-level education in Ireland. Students would effectively be saddled with a debt of at least €20,000 for an undergraduate degree, a price that no individual should be expected to pay for the human right of education. The government should focus on making third-level education more accessible to students from all backgrounds and the system they are proposing is going to make education access even more limited. It will ultimately lead to thousands of talented young people in Ireland being priced out of education, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds or communities.

Young LGBTQ+ people are particularly vulnerable to being excluded from education. Earlier this year, the LGBTIreland report found that queer students had very negative experiences in Irish secondary schools, with 1 in 4 missing school to avoid bullying and harassment and approximately 1 in 20 leaving school without graduating. Queerphobia leads to many LGBTQ+ people facing an uphill battle to complete education, and creating an extra burden for us to access higher education worsens this. The same report found that Irish LGBTQ+ people had significantly elevated rates of mental illness compared to the general population, which is another barrier for queer people in education.

Most strikingly, it was reported that many LGBTQ+ people in Ireland still fear coming out to their families. As an increase in student fees would undoubtedly lead to people in Ireland relying on their families even more for financial support, the effects for a community whose members experience relatively high levels of family estrangement could be catastrophic. Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) provides most people under the age of 23 to provide details of their parents’ income(s) upon applying for a grant. If a student is estranged from their family, they are required to submit documentation “proving” their estrangement. I know from personal experience that this process is incredibly difficult and it is inarguably a highly problematic prerequisite for receiving financial aid in paying student fees, and one that affects some of the most vulnerable students applying to higher education. The government will only continue to fail its most disadvantaged citizens by implementing a student loan system, instead of seeking a solution that provides free third-level education for all students in Ireland.

All LGBTQ+ people in Ireland must stand in solidarity with those marching on the capital today. The proposed fee increase would lead to many in our community being prevented from accessing education and this can be nothing but detrimental for the inclusion of queer people. Education is a right rather than a privilege, and that right must not be shunned by our government.