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Emily talks about the supportive environment for LGBTQ+ students at Northumbria and the welcoming LGBT* Society

What support have you found available within Northumbria University and the Students Union, being part of the LGBT* community?

Personally, for me the biggest connection and support I found was the Students Union LGBT* Society. I joined the society in my second year of university, to then become the Bi* Representative on their committee in my third year. It’s a wonderfully welcoming society, genuinely a place where you can generate friendships and attend socials that generate a safe space within the University, as well as off campus. Being part of the society allowed me to create a whole new group of friends too! Which is a big bonus.

Why do you think it is important to have LGBT* role models?

By identifying role models, allowing people to see others just like them - creates a sense of inclusion within the university. It is incredibly important to actively highlight LGBT* role models within the university. As it will encourage an acceptance of diversity, allowing others to feel safe in the knowledge that you can be openly ‘out’ without judgement.

How easy is it to be ‘out’ at Northumbria University?

Luckily for me, it hasn’t been an issue within my course or on campus. I haven’t felt unwelcome by my sexuality, which is wonderful to feel. But I am aware that for some students who identify as LGBT*, that it is a harder journey throughout their time here. 

What advice would you give to other LGBT* students who may be facing difficulties?

Talk to people, whether that be finding a lecturer who understands your situation (who may also be LGBT* themselves), or a friend - can make a situation lighter, when you feel you have someone in your corner. As I have said before, trying out the LGBT* Society within the Students Union to generate a network of support, which would be where I would go. Connecting with people like you and feeling included can make the world of difference, as they can have a larger understanding of your situation. As well as enabling you to go to socials to have fun and allow yourself to have a rest for a while, from a more difficult situation elsewhere.

What can we all do to make Northumbria University a better place for LGBT* students?

Being kind and considerate is the most important thing anyone can do, in my opinion. Be conscious of how you are talking to someone and addressing someone, think of their reactions to things you might say to them. Once you have said something you can’t take it back. Allow them to open themselves up to you about their sexuality or gender identity, whenever they deem best. Not by forcing a tirade of unnecessary questions upon them; despite what your assumptions may already be (because you could be totally wrong!).

Finally, people within the LGBT* community, often have to eventually ‘come out’ and reveal personal details about themselves more often than you think; every time we introduce ourselves, meet a new person, get a new job, join a society, or talk about our significant other for the first time. This can be daunting for some, especially talking openly about it for the first time. Therefore, continuing to be more inclusive, understanding and patient is the best way forward in generating a better experience for those in the LGBT* community within Northumbria University.



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