The 26th annual Pink Training was held in NUI Galway over the last weekend of November, where 21 DCU delegates attended alongside VP for Welfare and Equality Aisling Fagan, who acted as the SU Support Officer.
The event is hosted by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and began in DCU in 1992. The weekend-long event has risen to 300 students in attendance. It focuses on issues in the LGBT+ community and how to get involved in activism regarding these issues.
“The weekend is the perfect example of intersectional representation,” said Chairperson of DCU LGBTA Society, Dean O’Reilly. “Pink Training provides an invaluable resource, in that it provides people the space to see other people like them… It’s a crash course on the LGBTI+ community, but a crash course in empathy too.”
During this year’s event, there were eight workshops which took place over Saturday and Sunday. These included “Gay and Angry in Northern Ireland”, “The Intersextion: Disability & Sexuality” and “Re-writing the Narrative of Gender”, among many others.
Two of the DCU delegates delivered their own workshops. Gillian McInerney has been studying in DCU since 2013, and has attended Pink Training six times. McInerney’s workshops dealt mostly with non-binary issues and identities within the LGBT+ community.
This year, they facilitated six hours of workshops. These workshops included “The +101”, “Alphabet Soup”, “Queer Safe Space” and “Self Care”, as well as facilitating one of the ten “Coming Out” workshops.
“It’s a true privilege to meet the delegates and provide space for them to learn, ask questions and just relax,” McInerney said. “Although we have seen a major shift in acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people in the 26 years since Pink Training began it is still something most delegates experience in both positive and negative ways and this space cannot be undervalued.”
Dean O’Reilly gave two workshops this year, one which dealt with the running of an LGBT+ Society in third level education and the other which discussed the different attitudes to nude images. When asked what inspired this latter workshop, O’Reilly said “One of the things I’ve become increasingly interested in is the weird relationship society has with the naked body…. people didn’t validate my nudes enough.”
Looking towards next year, O’Reilly said that “at Pink Training this year, we saw an amazing array of workshops on trans issues. Next year, I can imagine we’ll speak heavily on Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland.”
Image Credit: Oissine Moore