350 student delegates from universities and IT’s across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland attended Pink Training, with 20 DCU representatives in attendance, last weekend.
Pink Training involves two days of training sessions, involving workshops on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and plus issues. The weekend is the largest LGBTQ+ training event in Europe for third level students.
The event began on Friday, November 13th, with an opening ceremony in O’Flatherty Theatre in NUI Galway.
USI hosted 43 workshops over the weekend, facilitated by a variety of speakers. Primarily focused on educating LGBTQ+ students, Pink Training is also open to allies. This year was the first Pink Training that ran workshops on gender non-binary and gender expression, expanding the topics available for delegates to learn from.
“The workshops do more than just give knowledge, but they empower people to do something with the knowledge that they have. That’s the power of Pink Training,” Patrick Dempsey, Pink Training speaker and former Chair of the International LGBTQ Student Organization, said.
Workshops covered over the weekend included Coming Out, Plus 101, Positive Sexual Health, Being a Trans Ally, Bisexuality Awareness, How to Spot a Queer, LGBTQ+ safe spaces, along with many more.
This year’s Pink Training was the last to be organised by USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, Annie Hoey.
“I never thought I’d be standing here after the last year that we’ve had and the changes that we have gone through as a community. I never thought I’d be standing here as an equal citizen in front of you,” Hoey said during the closing ceremony.
Pink Training 2015 was the first one to be held post marriage equality. However, Hoey went on to highlight the work that still needs to be done to achieve marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
“It’s going to be a long road, a very long battle, but I’ve no doubt that they’re going to get there and everyone in this room is sending their solidarity and their support and will be with you every step of the way,” Hoey said.
Hoey concluded the ceremony by looking back at her time working on Pink Training, “Pink Training, you have inspired me to be a better person, not only for each and every one of you in the room, but for each and every and every person that’s not here today.
“You’ve reminded me why I do what I do. You’ve reminded me why I work on Equality & Citizenship. You’ve reminded me how important this job is, how I have an enormous weight of responsibility on my shoulders, but I hope I do you very proud and continue to work around them,” Hoey said.
Photo Credit: USI