We are still very much in a time where, okay the LGBT community is becoming more accepted but we are still nowhere near there. Especially like recently there is a report that Homophobic crimes are up 55%? So people have this image of ‘oh we are equal now, we’ve got our rights and stuff but we very much haven’t, it’s still very much we’re fighting.
Some of my dad’s closest friends were a gay couple so I always had that example. It's important to make it not necessarily obvious but to be vocal and open to be a role model and an example to people in the same way it could be important if you haven’t had that. If that makes sense.
I feel like we still don’t see ourselves fully represented in mainstream media. A lot of the time we see gay or queer characters in the media (TV and movies) and it’s still very much a novelty and being used as a selling point for a film rather than being in it because we exist. Until recently it was still used as comic relief. I still don’t think we are fully represented. It’s definitely starting to become more representative. I think we are nearly there. There are shows out there that portray it in a good and accurate light.
I don’t know that I have an opinion on what the uni have done for LGBT students. This year I’ve done the most with Pride Soc, all I’ve really done is go to coffee mornings with them. I felt at home with them.
It would have been nice if, when we arrived as Freshers, that we had been given leaflets or information outlining the support they have in place for LGBT students. If you need it come get it. I’ve never seen anything like that and it might not be that it doesn’t exist but that it’s not advertised and put out there enough.
I came out at 16. It went well, I came out in my first year of college after I’d left secondary school. I had a girlfriend for two years. I think going to college I had the realisation that I don’t need to hide this. I think my favourite words from my mum were ‘I was more surprised when you came home and said you had a girlfriend’. At which point I thought I should have told her earlier really. For me, everyone was accepting although a couple of people weren’t okay that I’d had an ex-girlfriend. She and I got on very well; it was her friends who were the issue so we ended up having to cut contact. The only people who seemed to have an issue with it, it was not out of homophobia they were just judgemental because I’d had a girlfriend. We are brought up in a society where being straight is seen as the norm. So I was conditioned into thinking I needed a girlfriend because that’s normal. When I moved to college, I met more gay people and came to realise that that was who I was. So the only people who had an issue with it weren’t out of homophobia thankfully.
I very much identify as male, but I very much believe that gender is a spectrum. I don’t think anyone is 100% one thing or another, in the same way I don’t think anyone is 100% straight or 100% gay. It’s all very much spectrums.
Interviewed by Amelia