Bachelor of Media Design students, Matthias & Casey, give us an inside look into Media Design School's LGBT+ club; Queer Visibility.
After noticing a lack of queer culture within the school, Matthias and Casey worked together to create a means of evoking it. The Queer Visibility club meets fortnightly and brings in 14 or so students (and growing) across all the different courses. It is facilitated as a safe space for those that identify as queer, and provides them with the support to be themselves.
We had the privilege to sit down with them both and learn about it all.
How did Queer Visibility come to be?
C - "It mostly stemmed from that fact that I thought most of my classmates were straight and I was the only queer person - because I never had any reason to believe otherwise. I also felt kind of isolated because I couldn't really jam with anyone about queer community things, and I guess I was also feeling isolated in my own identity."
M - "I've always felt this kind of disconnect to the queer community in Auckland because it is mostly centred around 'club culture'; going to town and drinking. As someone who doesn't like either of those things, I was kind of left without a community to be a part of. I remember Casey coming up to me and being like "Hey - I'm kind of having a situation right now - help me do something about it!" With everything that I was feeling, I said yes and we just went for it!"
What does a typical meeting look like?
M - "A typical meeting at QV starts with a name circle. You say who you are, what your preferred pronouns are and then an answer to a themed ice-breaker question. The conversations usually just flow from there. I think that overall, it’s a very comfortable and natural environment where people feel welcome. The main point we're really trying to keep with QV is that there aren't any cliques. A lot of groups I’ve witnessed (or been a part of) always seem to have a clique within them, and if you’re not in it – you kind of feel like an outsider in a group that's meant to be for outsiders. Because of that, I’m really trying to push to be as inclusive as possible.
Why is it important to have a safe space?
M - "For myself personally, I like being surrounded by people who are kind of on the same wavelength. I feel like people understand where I am coming from more because they are going through similar kind of situations or have similar backgrounds to me."
C - "So that I can have somewhere to go and know that no matter what, people are going to respect my identity."
Have you noticed a change in the LGBT community at Media Design School since this club was started?
M - "With this club we’ve actually developed a kind of queer culture that was not there before, but within myself I’m also happier now because I know that every two weeks I’m going to be with QV, talking to people, learning about people, and maybe meeting someone new. The excitement of someone new coming through is the best part because….
C – “You feel like you’re doing something good!
M – “Yes! But it’s also great to just meet people. You get to meet people, learn about their identities and where they came from, which in some weird kind of way - makes me feel not so alone."
What are your hopes for the future of Queer Visibility?
C - "The club has the air of being for the queer kids but we want to try and open it up a little bit more with having people who aren’t inherently queer or maybe aren’t out as queer – to come into the space and either just use it as a learning opportunity or just to come in and hang out. I think that will not only be a challenge - but also a really interesting thing to watch unfold."