Spark change with LGBTIQA+ ally training this IDAHOBIT

14 May 2024

May 17 marks the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersex Discrimination and Transphobia, otherwise known as IDAHOBIT. 

Traditionally, this observance acknowledged the date that homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisations (WHO) Classification of Diseases in 1990. Nowadays, IDAHOBIT is a day that sheds light on the discrimination still faced by the LGBTIQA+ community. 

The head of the University’s Respectful Relationships Unit (RRU), Joel Radcliffe, says that IDAHOBIT is only as important as the ongoing meaningful action it inspires.  

So, what can you do to make a difference in your community? 

The ANU Ally Network sits within the RRU and hosts the ANU LGBTIQA+ Ally Training. The LGBTIQA+ Ally Training is a free two-hour workshop, available to ANU staff and students.  

It introduces the fundamental concepts of sex, gender and sexuality, what those terms mean, how they are different from each other and helps participants understand the breadth and diversity that exists across those domains.  

Joel notes that there is a risk that institutional work addressing the LGBTIQA+ community may homogenises our identities and experiences, which is something that this training aims to dispel. 

“Our program is very much about acknowledging what meaningful inclusion looks like based on the identities and experiences we might be trying to include,” says Joel. 

“We’ve got a very diverse community with very distinct needs, the needs of trans people in the workplace at ANU are very different to perhaps the needs of a young undergraduate gay student that’s starting here for the first time.” 

Not only does the RRU carefully curate the content they deliver, but they hold huge significance in how they deliver their training, with comfort and openness at its core.  

“It’s about creating a space where people who might not have much experience discussing these issues, who may have a level of discomfort or awkwardness, can feel comfortable participating in open discussion, and I think we’ve been very successful in creating that space,” says Joel. 

“The workshop was easy to understand and free of judgement, with really excellent presentation. The tailoring to our group was also very beneficial and it would be fantastic to have a follow-up session.  I couldn't recommend this training enough to the entire ANU community,” said an anonymous participant.  

Now, you might be thinking - why is LGBTIQA+ Ally Training relevant to me?  

Joel explains that most experiences of our community where people feel excluded or like they don’t belong are caused by unintentional acts of heteronormativity.  

Most casual language used to talk about relationships and sexual identities is often heteronormative by default. 

“I think if you start from that basic premise of accepting that gender and sexuality are diverse and there are certain positive and proactive ways you can acknowledge that, people are going to automatically feel more included,” Joel says.  

The LGBTIQA+ Ally Training typically runs six sessions per semester, available to all staff and students. However, the RRU also accepts private sessions for groups of at least 10 and up to 50 participants.  

“I want people to know that if they can get a group together in the local area our team can come to them and deliver training anytime. Think about something practical you can do this IDAHOBIT that has impact beyond the day itself. Booking in free ally training with us is one suggestion.” 


To book in a free training session email, otherwise register for an existing session here.