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Wear it Purple Day: In Conversation With Jack Wilson

Diploma of Nursing student Jack Wilson talks about what the day means to him.

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Post date: 27th August 2020

This Friday, August 28 is Wear it Purple Day, an annual day to celebrate and raise awareness for young LGBTQI+ people. The theme of Wear it Purple Day 2020 is “We are the Change”, a timely reminder that exemplary societal change starts with each individual.

To celebrate the day, we sat down (virtually!) and had a chat to GOTAFE Diploma of Nursing Student, Jack Wilson, to see what the day means to him.

Click here for resources for Wear it Purple Day

Here's what Jack had to say...

What is your definition of diversity?

I wish I had something profound to say about what diversity means to me but I am privileged enough to say have never had to fight to be listened to. I even looked up the definition of diversity for an answer to this question, though the only thing I really learnt from that was that 75% of the news reporters, presenters and commentators that appear on Australian television are from an Anglo-Celtic background and only 2.1% are Indigenous, take of that what you will.

I guess that my definition of diversity is letting people tell their own stories and actually listening to them; diversity is giving everyone a voice and paying attention to them, lifting people up that need it, and giving people a seat at the table.

Why is it important that GOTAFE supports diversity and inclusion?

GOTAFE needs to support diversity and inclusion so that the next generation of counsellors, nurses, teaching assistants, early childhood educators, and more, are diverse. That way everyone from every culture or community feels like they can learn at GOTAFE and achieve something. GOTAFE needs to support diversity so that one day in the future every child can see themselves in the people that teach them, that care for them, that listen to them.

Wear it Purple 2019

Why is Wear it Purple day important to you specifically?

If I'm honest I had never heard of Wear It Purple Day until last year when a staff member of GOTAFE told me about it, at first I thought the idea was a sweet gesture if nothing more but I'm old and bitter.

I didn't give much more thought to it after that, it was one day and I was already comfortable with who I am but not everyone is. After actually looking into it, it is genuine hope for the future, imagine all the young kids of the LGBTQI+ community struggling knowing who they are and loving who they are seeing that their school is openly celebrating them, I hope it means something to them.

What are some little things people can do to show support for the LGBTQI+ community?

I can’t tell people how to be an ally, I don’t know what every single member of the LGBTQI+ community needs but I know there are little things people can do to show support for the LGBTQI+ community, little things that I would have appreciated.

Just never assume, never assume you know how someone identifies, and never assume you know how or who someone loves. Then just ask people questions, ask them their preferred pronouns the same way you would ask them their name, ask them if you can do anything for them, ask them if there is anything they need.

What advice would you give to other GOTAFE students to make every member of the student body feel safe and comfortable?

I might be wrong but I think it’s not difficult to make other students feel safe and comfortable you just need to be nice, it may sound simple but god I can’t say it enough, just be nice. Talk to them, ask their opinion on things and include them in what’s going on at GOTAFE.

In what ways have you seen GOTAFE advance in its diversity and inclusion policies?

A real advancement I have seen in GOTAFE’s diversity and inclusion policy is last year being a part of the social justice task force and working to build a Social Justice Charter for the institution. Though a charter itself is a great first step, I’m looking forward to seeing it ratified every year; I’m looking forward to seeing students employed as advocates for the student body, to give a voice to those who feel like they don’t have one.

Wear It Purple Day Staff

What advice would you give to GOTAFE to make sure everyone is emotionally and socially supported?

Listen when the students talk to you, students will come to you with their problems, with their struggles and you need to listen to them and give value to what they’re saying.

The students need to know that they can come to you and that they will be listened to, confidentially and that steps will be taken to help them.

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