Rainbow Week was held on campus last week as part of an awareness campaign run by the Students’ Union in conjunction with the LGBT society.
Rainbow Week, which is usually held in semester two, is an annual UCDSU awareness campaign, during which events are held to highlight the sexual diversity of UCD students and to provide a support service for students for issues regarding sexual orientation.
UCDSU LGBT Rights Officer Evan O’ Leary was happy with how the week transpired: “We got a lot of new people involved, so that’s always the most important thing.”
However, O’Leary spoke of his annoyance at the timing of Rainbow Week and said he’d like to arrange things differently in future: “I’d probably have it just later in the year, because a lot of people don’t come out at the start of the year, so as time goes on, they do come out, and they get more involved. So having it this early, that’s the only kind of drawback – that you don’t get as many people involved as you would do in the second semester.” It is thought that the change was made so that Rainbow Week would coincide with Pink Training, a USI LGBT weekend that provides support and workshops for LGBT students.
O’Leary went on to say that in order to get more students involved, the SU and the LGBT society will be organising Rainbow Week Part Two in the second semester. “We’re going to have Rainbow Week Part Two, but not exactly like [before] – [there’ll be] another series of events.” He added: “Because in the past, it’s been just rainbow week and that’s it.”
One of the key speakers that took part in Rainbow Week was Brian Finnegan, the editor of Gay Community News (GCN). Finnegan is also a parent and he gave a talk about gay issues and the difficulties for same-sex couples that are parents. LGBT Noise, an organisation that campaigns for full civil marriage for same-sex couples also gave a talk during Rainbow Week.
When asked about the success of Rainbow Week, the current LGBT society Auditor, Sinead Glackin, explained: “People get a lot out of it.” Glackin, however, emphasised that she would like to see future Rainbow Weeks involving the whole campus “instead of purely LGBT people”.
With a view towards promoting Rainbow Week as an all-campus event, Glackin has had talks with O’Leary and the rest of the UCDSU officers. Plans are in place for several larger scale events to celebrate diversity that she hopes will be held in areas such as the Student Bar, in order to attract and inform more students.
In the print edition of this article, it was stated that LGBT Noise campaign for civil partnership rights. The organisation campaign for full marriage rights for same-sex couples. The University Observer is happy to clarify this.