This year, Victoria University took to the day with enthusiasm, support and embraced the celebrations remotely! Wear it Purple Day (WIP) is marked annually, on the last Friday of August, and celebrates rainbow young people. Each year allies wear purple to show their support for the LGBTIQA+ and gender diverse community, particularly rainbow young people.

    Wear it Purple day was founded in 2010 in response to a number of young people who took their lives as a result of bullying and harassment because of their sexuality and gender identity. Many young LGBTIQA+ and gender diverse people hold their identities close with data from Pride in Diversity revealing that people aged between 18 to 24 are least likely to be open or ‘out’ about their sexuality or gender identity at work. The University aims to provide an inclusive work and learning environment for all staff and students. Led by the Diversity and Inclusion team, supporting days like Wear it Purple is one of the ways the University does this.

    In the week leading up to Wear it Purple Day on the 28th August, staff and students turned on their web cams, and donned purple to shower support to rainbow young people at VU. The university has gone virtual since March with the COVID pandemic imposing a new way of working and learning. Staff and students alike have adapted to engaging with the university remotely, and the current climate encouraged virtual Wear it Purple celebrations at VU.

    Victoria University collaborated with universities across our state to bring virtual events and raise awareness about Wear it Purple. The Victorian Allies Network recognised that universities across Victoria are all dealing with the same issues in regards to COVID-19 restrictions, and it was a chance for bigger shared events to be coordinated and celebrated to raise awareness for Wear it Purple. Panel events, trivia nights and a baking competition #bakeitpurple2020 filled the week, with virtual engagement across the state.

    VU held a Wear it Purple selfie competition with staff and students posting their picture to compete for best dressed. This was a way to connect with students and staff, for allies and rainbow young people to see each other, at a time when many people in Melbourne are isolated during stage 4 lockdown.

    Student and VU Queer Collective Officer Oliver Kaiser was in the midst of two weeks in hotel quarantine in Perth “the events have kept me busy, I’m opening the student trivia event and have worked on writing the questions. Pre- pandemic I was a pub quiz master of 5 years, and it’s been good to have that to focus on. The selfie competition was a lot of fun too, I had days to perfect my photo”

    Senior Leaders at VU embraced the celebrations, with many accepting a challenge set by Executive Director; Dr Ross Coller, also co-chair of the VU Staff Ally Network, to Celebrate, Host, Activate, Notice, Give and Educate (CHANGE) to support the 2020 Wear it Purple theme We are the Change. This led to strong engagement and support from staff throughout the week, building on the inclusive culture which VU strives for.

    Manager Student Life and Leadership; Shannyn Cain, and her team helped to coordinate the VU activities and spoke about bringing student and staff events together; “as a member of the VU Staff Ally Network, it was really important for me to ensure we were embracing VU’s philosophy of Students as Partners and collaborating with representatives from the student community such as the VU Student Union and the VU Queer Collective student club to develop the program for the 2020 Wear it Purple activities at VU. Drawing on the expertise and experience of the Student Life team who have recently delivered several successful virtual events for students this year, staff and students collaborated to put together an exciting program of events.”

    To view the events which occurred throughout the week visit the VU Wear it Purple webpage.

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