Meet Our LGBTIQ+ Champions

Everyone belongs at UNSW

Part of making you feel at home on our campuses is having Diversity Champions whose role it is to drive significant cultural change around equity, diversity and inclusion at UNSW.  

Sophia German

“Understanding how people engage with their environment is vital in catering to their needs as they move through space.” - Sophia German

Sophia German (she/her) is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Recently commencing a PhD exploring the spatial nature of gendered perceptions of safety in public spaces felt by women, non-binary, trans and gender-diverse peoples, Sophia is highly passionate about gender equity and creating safer urban spaces for all. Motivated by her passion for the right to safe access and mobility for all people and inspired by research and policy dedicated to the intersection of space and gender, Sophia’s PhD utilises novel geographic methods to explore feelings of safety in city landscapes through an intersectional lens.

Beyond academia, Sophia is also passionate about the power of informal education in fostering a sense of community, advocacy and belonging. Seeing a lack of truly intersectional spaces that allowed her to safely express all facets of her identity, Sophia used her experience as a leader in Jewish youth movement Habonim Dror to coordinate and facilitate an event for Jewish LGBTIQ+ people known as Queer Shabbat - providing a space where these sometimes-conflicting identities can intersect freely.  

“I am interested in creating training modules and educational events centered on interpersonal relationships, gender diversity, sexuality, and consent for students and staff alike. Whilst there is a rising interest to improve our universities by making them safer and inclusive places for all, there is much more work to be done.”

Lucas Lixinski

“UNSW has come a long way in terms of symbolic recognition, and the next step is to turn symbolic recognition into rights.” - Professor Lucas Lixinski

Lucas Lixinski (he/him) is a Professor at the Faculty of Law and Justice, as well as an international human rights and cultural heritage lawyer. Lucas has devoted significant time and effort to researching and teaching issues surrounding marginalised social identities, as well as social movements organising around rights claims. Much of this scholarship is in the Indigenous rights space, however he has also worked on projects on race, gender, and LGBTIQ+ rights.  

Lucas is a member of the Faculty of Law & Justice’s EDI Committee, as well as having taken part in Athena SWAN, the Indigenous Legal Education, Research, and Reconciliation Committee, and other diversity initiatives across campus.

“I hope to do more to increase the visibility of UNSW LGBTIQ+ students and staff, and promote more policies of specific interest, as well as more teaching and research in projects related to LGBTIQ+ interests.”

Éidín Ní Shé

“I am keen to see UNSW continue to grow as a safe, inclusive, fun space for all staff, students and the public with whom we engage.” - Dr Éidín Ní Shé

Éidín Ní Shé (she/her) is a Senior Lecturer in Health Management at the School of Population Health. She has expertise in leading projects in the areas of co-design, consumer engagement, evaluation and health systems. While working at the University of Southern Queensland, Éidín was a founding member of the USQ LGBTIQ+ Ally Network, which provided her with a unique understanding of the conflicts and challenges of advocating for change in how universities support LGBTIQ+ staff and students. Additionally, at her time at University College Dublin she contributed to the university’s equality strategy and provided leadership in driving forward their LGBTIQ+ initiatives.

“As a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, and as a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity within the higher education sector, I want to contribute my professional and lived experience as a Diversity Champion within UNSW.”

Christopher Pearce

“I want all students and staff to know that they are not just accepted or tolerated by their institution, but that they are valued, respected and welcomed with open arms.”
- Christopher Pearce

Christopher Pearce (he/him) is an Early Career Academic and Lecturer at the Faculty of Law and Justice. Since commencing at UNSW in 2019, Christopher has worked tirelessly to coordinate and strengthen the Faculty’s contributions to LGBTIQ+ inclusion. He is a member of the Faculty’s EDI Committee and was a member of the UNSW Mardi Gras Creative Team. In addition, Christopher is  a founding member of the Higher Education Australia Pride Practitioners – an Australia-wide network designed to drive collaboration between LGBTIQ+ identifying staff across the tertiary sector.

“I want new and prospective students and staff to see UNSW as a place where they will be comfortable to be their true and authentic self – a place where they will matter. This may all sound like hyperbole, but having been a student who felt none of those sensations, I know the important difference that can be made by sending that message to our community.”

Get Involved

UNSW students and staff are invited to join the LGBTIQ+ Network.

Ally Network Lunch & Learn: Meet the UNSW LGBTIQ+ Champions

On 14 July, the Ally@UNSW Network hosted the first Lunch & Learn session for 2021. Sophia, Lucas and Chris spoke about what motivated them to become an LGBTIQ+ Champion and what they look forward to being involved in over their two-year term.

Supporting our LGBTIQ+ community at UNSW