The University of Sydney will host the southern hemisphere’s largest symposium of queer activists in July.
Queer Collaborations (QC) is an annual conference focusing on issues that impact GLBTI people. It is held in a different city every year and usually draws over 200 people.
Organising committee spokesperson Jack London said Sydney was the birthplace of queer rebellion in Australia and the conference would reflect that.
“We’re on the bleeding edge here, so the panels, workshops and social events are going to get pretty interesting. It has been six years since we’ve hosted Queer Collaborations in this part of the country; it will be a very Sydney conference,” he said.
QC has a large focus on analysing privilege, consent and respect. But many workshops are often run on topics surrounding law, self-care, sex, gender, sexuality, other forms of identity, community and society, academia, music and sports.
Started as a one-day meeting for Sydney students in 1991, the now week-long conference has built up a reputation for its hedonistic parties.
This year delegates will get involved in a wide range of activities, including Shibari (the art of Japanese rope bondage), collective organising, civil disobedience and discussions on police brutality. Delegates will receive help with NGO set-ups and living on Centrelink.
Nikky Laucella from the University of Wollongong is teaming up with Lucia York from RMIT to run a female empowerment workshop.
“It’s about breaking down taboos regarding the female body and self-empowerment through rethinking those taboos,” Ms York said.
Ms Lauchella said the workshop would specifically explore vaginal activities to counteract taboos.
“Specifically, the two skill sets we’re going to talk about are being able to stand to pee, which is something that is quite interesting in that males are taught how to do it, but it’s seen as a very weird and ‘out there’ thing for females to do,” she said.
“It’s quite possible to do it as a female – slightly harder – but possible. We’re going to explore that and why it’s a good skill to have.
“The other one is queefing, which is a useful skill – sometimes as a party trick. We’re going to talk about the muscle isolation involved, which is actually really interesting from a physical perspective.”
The conference will also launch this year’s edition of the national queer magazine, Querelle.
Querelle editor Ryan Auberson-Walsh said this year they are publishing content from contributors across the world.
“Most excitingly, 2013 is the magazine’s 20th year and this is particularly special. We’ve had the opportunity to rebrand and update the mag, as we bring it into the 21st century through a fresh website and digital format,” he said.
While mostly students attend the conference, it is open to the public. Anyone can register for the full conference and day passes are available for purchase in the mornings. The conference runs from July 8-14.