GLBT students at the Australian National University (ANU) have complained of feeling unsafe as a result of a campaign of destruction targeting posters advertising gay rallies and events.
On October 30 an intensive postering effort was made by students to promote the Equal Marriage Rights Rally held in Canberra last Saturday. However by morning all 300 posters carrying the rainbow flag had been torn down and dumped outside the uni’s queer space.
It was not the first time it had happened. In May this year another 500 rainbow flag posters advertising ANU’s campus pride week were removed from authorised postering areas, and posters for other gay events have been similarly targeted.
ANU Students Association deputy sexuality officer Emma Eriksen told Sydney Star Observer it wasn’t a case of someone removing posters to make room for their own.
“The posters are often in rows next to posters for other groups and events and no matter how closely the other posters are posted to ours it’s the rainbow posters that have been consistently torn down,” said Eriksen. Less noticeable GLBT posters without the rainbow flag seem to have escaped the culprits’ attention.
Eriksen was not willing to speculate on who might be responsible.
“It would have to be someone on campus, but other than that we have no idea besides that they’re homophobic,” she said.
Eriksen stressed that the majority of ANU students were not responsible and the reaction on campus had been heartening.
“The response on campus has been really positive and really supportive and people are generally disgusted by these actions,” she said.
“They find that this is an inappropriate thing for people to be doing and I hope that support at the rally was actually greater because of this. It’s really raised awareness about how important it is for queer students to be represented and feel safe.”
A motion passed at an Ordinary General Meeting of the ANU Students Association condemned “the people or group who have this year been consistently ripping down posters with queer friendly images and the iconic rainbow flag.”
“These actions are directly against ANUSA a student organisation that supports the rights of students to express their sexuality in a way they feel fits.”