The Devil Wears Pride

The A in LGBTQIA definitely doesn’t stand for AUSA

Parel Wilmering | Fri, 6 Mar 2020

Credit to Informatique

After AUSA’s AGM on the 11th of February, the Aberdeen University Students’ Association quickly changed their Facebook logo to one that contained a (slightly artistic) version of the rainbow flag. During the AGM, Andrew Fry from Students for Independence had brought up the importance of the celebration of LGBT+ History Month on campus and had asked about AUSA’s plans for this event. AUSA did not have any at the time of the AGM and seemed to have been unaware of LGBT+ History Month at all. The University of Aberdeen soon put a rainbow on its logo too, as did Union Brew. Since the rainbow logos were introduced only halfway through February, it was apparent that neither the University nor AUSA had known about the celebration of LGBT+ History Month before Fry brought it up during the AGM.


While it is a bit disappointing that AUSA wasn’t aware of the celebration of LGBT+ History Month in the first place, it can be argued that once the Students’ Association heard of the celebration it did decide not to completely ignore it, which is good on their part. However, sticking a (mediocre version of) a Pride flag on a logo and hanging a rainbow flag near the entrance of the Union is not enough support.

AUSA seems to have panicked during the days after the AGM. For some reason they also stuck a rainbow on the logo of Union Brew (why? Is it a gay bar now? Are they hosting any LGBT+ related events?) and the Student President shared an endearing, yet irrelevant post about two men who were buried in the same grave back in Ancient Egypt. Why, of all things, would it be necessary to share such a thing when February as LGBT+ History Month is specific to the UK (in most countries LGBT+ History Month is in June or October), and especially celebrates the abolition of Section 28, which was abolished in February 2003? AUSA clearly has no clue what they are talking about. Which is strange, considering there are both an AUSA-affiliated LGBT+ Forum and Trans Forum.


It’s not like people on the Aberdeen campus were completely unaware of LGBT+ History Month taking place this February. All sorts of events, organised by different societies, were obviously planned in the month of February in order to celebrate LGBT+ History Month. The University of Aberdeen Debater worked with the LGBT+ Forum to organise a Pride debate, discussing the commercialisation of Pride. RAG organised a speed dating event together with the LGBT+ Forum. The History Society organised a talk on effeminate gay men in the eighteenth century. Aberdeen Student Radio did an LGBT+ History Month special. The LGBT+ Forum’s Gaylidh is taking place on the 29th of February. Where are AUSA’s own events?


The Queen Margaret Union and the University of Glasgow do celebrate LGBT+ History Month. This February, they’ve organised a queer open mic night, bake sales, film screenings, an LGBT+ pub quiz, and Queerfest. While some of these events weren’t actually organised by the QMU, the Union still promoted the events; something that AUSA has failed to do. Other University Students’ Unions such as the Strathclyde Students’ Union and Stirling Student Union also organised a series of events.

Meanwhile, it feels like AUSA is only keeping up a façade of caring about LGBT+ students: support of the LGBT+ community is not as simple as waving a rainbow flag, and if AUSA believes that the issues that are remembered during LGBT+ history month are resolved by a few colours, they are wrong. For me personally, it made me feel like LGBT+ issues aren’t taken seriously, and while it is a first step in the right way, I don’t think it’s quite enough. For a students’ association that seems to care about these issues, as they facilitate both an LGBT+ and Trans forum and actively try to normalise the conversation about pronouns, they need to do a lot better.

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