Pink Day, a day of workshops introducing students to LGBTQ issues, jointly organised by Trinity Students’ Union (SU) and Q Soc, took place for the first time in college on Saturday.
The event is a condensed version of the Union of Students in Ireland’s (USI) annual weekend workshop, Pink Training, and consisted of six hour-long workshops dealing with LGBTQ issues.
Q Soc auditor, Jessica McKeon, began the event with a workshop titled Queer 101. Attendees were given a crash course on gender theory, gender identity, sexual identity and what is considered offensive to various members of the LGBTQ community.
This was followed by two talks by Leslie Sherlock, a former PhD student in Trinity who wrote her thesis on educating people about LGBTQ issues and sex education. Sherlock spoke about heteronormativity, which is how societal norms cause the oppression of those who do not adhere to them, and sexual empowerment.
Speaking to Trinity News, Sherlock explained that events like Pink Day help those who identify as LGBTQ to “meet other people like themselves and form communities” and give people the opportunity to explore their gender and their sexual identities in a welcoming environment. They also help to maintain the fight for LGBTQ rights, she argued, as “oppression runs deeper and can be more subtle and complex” than marriage equality.
Afterwards, participants were given the option of attending a talk on either asexuality or alternative relationships. Lily Kelly, who led the workshop on alternative relationships, told Trinity News that “a lot of people coming into college haven’t had an adequate sex education” and that Pink Day helps to provide this.
The final discussion of the day was led by Ivan Fahy and addressed the issue of sexual consent. “Consent is a continuous process,” according to Fahy, and is a much more complex concept than often portrayed. “Just because you agree to something at 9pm doesn’t mean you still want to be doing it two hours later,” he said.
The event received a positive reaction from those present. Jason Leonard told Trinity News that: “As someone who has been to a lot of similar events before, I found that there was still a lot for me to learn and a lot of interesting discussions came up on things I hadn’t discussed before.”
McKeon, one of the event’s organisers, said that: “There were a few hiccups with some last minute cancellations and with the room booking, but we overcame them and the day was a success.” Samuel Riggs, TCDSU’s LGBT Rights Officer, spoke about where the event could go from here. “On the basis of today, we have a really solid ground to expand on,” he said, and mentioned plans to “make it into a larger, more encompassing training event” in the future.