A warm welcome to all new LGBTQ+ students!

2 December 2020

Here’s Xuyi and Jemima, the former and current LGBTQ+ Officers at the Union, to tell you a bit more about what community there is for those self-defining as LGBTQ+.

LGBT rainbow flag on the Portico building

Hey! Xuyi here, the LGBTQ+ Officer at UCL for the 2019/2020 academic year. First of all, congratulations on making it to UCL! I know that you must be feeling so many different emotions right now, and moving to university can be a daunting experience. What’s more, for many people, it might be the first time they immerse themselves in such a diverse environment. I think it's important for international and home students to explore the options and identities in their lives and UCL is a safe and open space to do that - to be who you want to be. Honestly, it’s such a liberating feeling.

Despite the fact that London is one of the most progressive capitals in the world, making LGBTQ+ friends can still be challenging, and that’s why the LGBTQ+ Network will be here to support you through the ups and downs. Our network has run an extensive number of social events throughout the past few years including picnics, club nights, open mics, brunches, coffee socials, movie screenings and more!

Apart from that, the LGBTQ+ Network runs a series of campaigns advocating for LGBTQ+ visibility and acceptance within and beyond the campus. We strive to achieve an accepting environment where all types of students feel welcome. We also advocate for other human rights issues that are equally crucial by teaming up with Sabbatical Officers at UCL.

Finally, we get in touch with other LGBTQ+ organisations around London to make opportunities happen beyond campus, including partnerships with volunteering organisations and fundraising organisations in order to contribute on a national level! In the past, we have connected our members with JustLikeUs (a volunteering organisation) to raise LGBTQ+ awareness across UK schools.

I think there is this presumption that everyone in the LGBTQ+ Network is classed as homosexual but students shouldn’t be worried about defining themselves as one sexuality or another when coming to our Network. Whatever your orientation, we are a welcoming and diverse community - those that are questioning their identity, those not questioning their identities or those that just want to explore. 

Personally, being part of this community has helped me make LGBTQ+ friends from around the world, and they have definitely marked my university experience. My successor, Jemima Barnes, will be the LGBQ+ Officer for the 2020-2021 academic year, and here’s what she had to say:

Hey everyone, I’m Jemima – or Jimmy, as everyone calls me! – I am the LGBTQ+ Officer for 2020/2021. Uni can be the first time that you are able to come out and be yourself, that was certainly the case for me. 

At the LGBTQ+ Students’ Network, we’re working to create the most diverse and welcoming network in order to support you and to further our lovely queer community at UCL. Obviously, with COVID-19 throwing our freshers' plans off a little, we’re currently organising online events; from screenings on Netflix parties to Zoom coffee mornings and dance parties, as well as more serious things such as MP letter-writing sessions and activism education. 

Keep an eye out on our Instagram (@UCLLGBT) and Facebook (@UCLLGBT) pages for events, and we have group chats too! Get in touch with us on Facebook for more info and to keep up to date!

Xuyi Wang, UCL alumnus and former LGBTQ+ Officer, Students' Union UCL and Jemima Barnes, current LGBTQ+ Officer, Students' Union UCL