Dec 8, 2011

Think Before You Speak - MGRM's anti-bullying Campaign.

by Romina Tolu


Yesterday I attended a press launch for the new campaign by MGRM (Malta Gay Rights Movement) and the Voices Foundation. The campaign is called 'Think Before You Speak - Making Life Better for LGBT Youth'. At first my idea was that of covering it as normal run-of-the-mill press-report, as undoubtedly the real press would have done. However as part of the LGBT community myself I found it hard to distance myself from the campaign and write about it in such a manner. The campaign resonated within myself and spoke to me in a manner which would make it unable to write just a press report. 


Engaging with these posters, made me realise that I would have loved to have them around when I was a teenager struggling with my sexuality at secondary school and even at 6th form. Knowing that there were supportive people might have possibly made those years easier.
The campaign is indeed very needed in all schools, and I do hope that they welcome this initiative; for the sake of all LGBT youth who do not have any support.

Of course as Anthony Girard of Drachma Parents Group (a Christian support group for parents of LGBT children) also said, parents must also be reached out to. They also have their own 'coming-out' phase to deal with. Our parents are also the ones struggling to come to terms with their children's sexuality, I hope that this campaign does raise awareness of the importance of LGBT youth having supportive parents. In hindsight to my own coming-out experience, I am one of the lucky ones, with super-supportive parents, and I treasure this positive, enriching relationship I have with them, yet I know others who are not as lucky. 

The posters draw the viewer in and speak to everyone;
Through one you are drawn in by juxtaposition of photo and drawings. Is it really possible to find support when bullying? Can we, as a society, end bullying?
On another it is the look on a man's face, looking into the poster you realise that there is more to it than meets the eye, more images within tell a story, a parent and his child, a relationship which is precious. ''Hobb'' it pleads.
Strong powerful text on another poster has the capability of speaking straight to the heart, I know it speaks directly to mine, ''HUX INT HEKK?''.
The final one a strong contrast as scratches on a youth's back spell out their thoughts, ''Trans – f'gisem li fih ma jhossux komdu...''. You have the right to be happy is the overlying text.

The messages of these posters stay with you long after you have diverted your gaze elsewhere, and they have a capability of reaching out to not just the bullied, but the bully and parents of LGBT youth. 

The little girl inside of me wants to thank MGRM for this initiative, it truly made me think, and left me speechless. 

If you're looking for more information about this campaign check the Maltese online news channels, or MGRM's website or attend tomorrow's launch at Tom's Bar where the video-clips will go viral!
More information about that here: https://www.facebook.com/events/255836864470360/



Romina Tolu is Communications Officer @ We Are 

Dec 6, 2011

QMAS!

  • What is QMAS? Queermas...  a Queer xmas event :) 
  • We are meeting in Bugibba Square on the 16th at 21:00.. and we will see where the night takes us
  • Save our numbers so if you're late you can call and meet up with us later..!
  • no need to RSVP, but if you do want more information you can e-mail us!
  • be ready for games, drinking games, and a bunch of other things... 

Dec 5, 2011

New Executive formed!

The new We Are executive has had its first meeting this weekend following the AGM. 

President: Christian Vella
Vice President: Sanny H
Secretary General: Luisa Tolu
Treasurer: Mark Josef Rapa
Communications Officer: Romina Tolu
Events Coordinator: Gaby Gauci

During our AGM we discussed changes to our statute, and following this we have decided to set up a Governance subcommittee which will work to get We Are senate recognised. This subcommittee will also be revising our statute and make more proposals for next year's AGM. 

At the AGM we also presented our annual report. We reminded our members that there are Queer books now in the library; an initiative which we believe was our achievement of the last year. 

The new executive is planning our new year; our members can look out for a queer christmas event, human rights events, a drag night, and much much more :). Last year as it was our first year on campus the focus was on setting a base, now that we are 'out' (pun intended) we think it is important that we really listen to our members and focus on creating a space for LGBTQI students.

We have also decided to revamp this blog and have set up a twitter account, follow us on WeAre_UOM!

Nov 19, 2011

AGM 2011

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=167203780042181

After 1 year in action We Are is gearing up for a second year!

Our AGM is being held on Friday the 25th November at the University of Malta.

We would like to invite all members... especially if you're brimming with ideas and would like to contribute more significantly to the work of the organisation.

During the AGM we shall do 3 main things;

1. Provide an overview of the last year
2. Amend the statute (viewable here: http://weareuom.blogspot.com/p/statute.html)
3. Elect the new executive board

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If you'd like to be on the executive board send in your Name and Surname, Course and Year and state that position which interests you (please send to weareuom@gmail.com) by not later than Thursday 24th November at 13:00

These are the positions available:
President
Vice-President
Secretary General
Treasurer
Communications Officer
Events Coordinator

(position descriptions can be viewed in Art 9 of the statute)


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If you'd like to propose amendments to the statute also send them to weareuom@gmail.com by Thursday 24th November at 13:00
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If you're not yet an official member of We Are register to become one online here: http://weareuom.blogspot.com/p/membership-form.html




The agenda will be provided by email to all members on the 24th and will include the nominees and proposed amendments to the statute,


Hope to see you there!

We Are's outgoing executive board :)

Oct 31, 2011

Queer Books at the University!



This morning we had the great honour of being in an office at the University of Malta Library and seeing 20 queer books sitting, happily (of course), on the desk in front of us. 

What were those 20 queer books doing on a desk at the University of Malta you ask?
Well through a collaboration between We Are, the UoM Library and the KSU Students Resources Fund we have been able to get 10 different titles related to the Queer Studies study unit being offered at the UoM.
These books will definitely be very useful for all students who will be doing the Queer Studies course, but not only, as they will be of use also to anyone doing research in queer fields of study; or those who need to reference them for their assignments! (Or for like many of us at We Are - just for general interest's sake! ;))

For more information on the Queer Studies study-unit visit this link: SOC2057!

Almost all the books in the reading list have been bought by the Library. The books should be ready for borrowing by mid-November; and will definitely be ready to borrow by the start of 2nd semester and the start of the queer studies study-unit. :)

We Are would like to thank KSU and the Library for their collaboration in ensuring that these books would be bought after a request we had filed last year.  

May 18, 2011

Positive News Coverage and We Are's Next Event

LGBT News Coverage
Protest against Homophobia - MGRM
Malta Today - Flowers for Friendship Photo Slideshows
News Coverage on Times of Malta :)
Malta Today Kiss-In photo slideshow


Film Event - The Birdcage

Finally to end such a brilliantly positive week of awareness we would like to invite you to our second and final film night before the University exams start in full swing...

Are you busy with your studies.. but miss your friends and the chances to socialise?
Are you busy being an activist or a volunteer for gay rights this week? And haven't had a chance to wind down in a friendly environment?

Then join us for a 'Light and Fluffy' film night.

We shall be screening an LGBT movie in a fun and relaxing environment.. and most of all safe too!
So bring your friends if you don't want to come alone; or make a brave step and come and meet us :)..
Entry is against a donation of your choice... and you also get to munch on some free munchies and drinks.

See you tomorrow!!
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=143980505675660

May 17, 2011

IDAHO - flowers for friendship

This afternoon 100 flowers were given out at the University Campus by the LGBT groups We Are and MGRM. This initiative was to raise awareness about IDAHO - The International Day Against Homophobia; which is commemorated on the 17th May all round the world.
The volunteers also explained the initiative and invited students and staff to share their thoughts on equality and human rights on blackboards placed near the canteen.
This morning 400 flowers were also given out to passer-bys near the law courts in Valletta.

Photos from the event will also be available on our facebook page; photos from the Valletta event will be available on the MGRM facebook page.

Feb 23, 2011

We Are - February and March updates -

KSU Organisations' Days 2011
22nd-25th February 
We Are's first two days at the KSU Organisations' Days have so far been very successful. Our stand is exactly opposite the main debate area, and one or more members will be there between Thursday and Friday [10am-4pm]. If you've visited and become a member please pop by again, most of us happen to be chatterboxes. If you haven't visited yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
As part of this week, we have also started our first poster campaign around campus.
For more information visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weareuom or send us an e-mail on weareuom@gmail.com!



Just Dance - We Are launch party
12th March

To celebrate the start of a brand new semester, We Are has teamed up with BetaPsi, commA & Diverso to bring you the first of many coming parties - Just Dance!

So if you're looking to have some fun, make sure to keep the 12th of March free. Just Dance! will feature hot, local DJ Cathy-K; fantastic offers at the bar; an amazing crowd of people. It is a FREE event not to be missed!


Introduction to Queer Studies course
Tuesdays, 5-7PM, OH 101
Everyone is welcome to attend the Introduction to Queer Studies course at UoM being offered by the department of Sociology. In this study-unit lecture Ruth Baldacchino will introduce students to the field of queer studies through an examination of key theoretical texts and exemplary practices. 


MGRM Rainbow Weekend
25th - 27th March
As part of MGRM's capacity building objectives, the Rainbow Weekend is aimed towards providing participants with more information on MGRM's work and LGBT rights and issues, and to encourage more people to become active within MGRM and other LGBT movements.
Representatives of the We Are executive shall be attending the weekend, and also presenting the student organisation during a talk.
For more information about MGRM and the Rainbow Weekend, as well as application forms and a programme of events visit http://www.maltagayrights.net/Rainbow2011

Feb 12, 2011

Queer Studies course, Organisations Day and We Are's next event

With the start of the new semester there is also the start of a new course at university: Queer Studies. This course which is open to the general public was fully booked in just a couple of days last month when applications to the general public opened.

It is being held every Tuesday from 17:00-19:00 at OH101.

From the 22nd to the 24th February, KSU are organising Organisations Day. We will be setting up an info stand for the event, and will be close to the student house entrance. Feel free to pop by, have a chat and share ideas! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163096683739404




Finally We Are in collaboration with Diverso and student organisations CommA and BetaPsi are organising a party. 'Just Dance'. More info about this event can be found on our facebook group.

Jan 14, 2011

Queer Studies at the University of Malta

It seems to be a good academic year for queers at the University of Malta.  First came the setting up of We Are and now Ruth Baldacchino will be offering a new course in Queer Studies at the University of Malta.  The course; an introduction to queer studies, will begin in the second semester and is open to the general public.  It proved so popular that places allocated to the public filled up as soon as registration was opened.
Check out the details of the course here!

Jan 10, 2011

We Are at 'ICE' - InterCultural Event

Information on LGBTQ rights was available at the WE ARE stand
Last Friday, Communications (B.Comms) 2nd year students studying Intercultural Communications organised ICE; an event for all students on campus. As a focus on bridging the gaps between cultures, sub-cultures and 'minorities', We Are was asked to set up an info-stand at the event.

More photos  are available on our facebook page.
Look out for our next event in February... more info soon..!

IGLYO articles on Human Rights Issues can be found online at http://www.iglyo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=95&Itemid=60




Photos: Romina Tolu for 'We Are'