May 9, 2014, by International students
LGBT in Nottingham – a guide for prospective students
In March 2014, same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales. Such a significant turn in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) equality speaks to a much larger scale of acceptance towards sexual orientation in this part of the world, and a reassurance for the LGBT community that social and political views are changing for the better. Unfortunately, there are many countries where persecution towards this community is widely evident, where safety and acceptance for an LGBT person has never been an option. But with the introduction of this new legislation in England, we see a country at the forefront of LGBT recognition. Also, with many support systems in place, the university environment in England is quite similar.
If you’re an LGBT international student who’s considered applying to The University of Nottingham, you’ve probably wondered what types of LGBT groups there are in the local community, and the resources that will be available to you. The good news is that Nottingham has one of the most vibrant communities for LGBT students, both inside and outside the University. Here are some suggestions for integrating yourself into the Nottingham LGBT community:
1. The LGBT Network at the University of Nottingham, unlike many other student societies, is completely free to join. This is because the Students’ Union sponsors the Network with a grant to cover expenses. You can join up at the Fresher’s fair at the start of the year, or join via the student’s union website. Aside from running many social activities throughout the year (including bar crawls, film screenings, trips to London and Manchester), the society offers you a chance to get involved in any way you feel comfortable. There are many fellow student officers who work on the LGBT committee that represent your own specific needs, including an International Students’ Officer, a Disabled Students’ Officer, a Trans* Officer, a Mature Student/Postgraduate Officer, and a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Officer. It’s a great resource on campus to get involved, and also to make some friends along the way.
2. Nottinghamshire Rainbow Heritage is a history project based in Nottingham that focuses on LGBT people in the surrounding area. The project involves collecting oral and video records of peoples’ experiences, setting up displays and exhibitions across the country, collecting photos and memorabilia, and many others. This is a great way to get involved if you have a passion for history or media, and a good chance to get to know more about Nottingham and its LGBT community.
3. Outburst, a group for LGBT people under 26, hosts weekly meetings and social events as does Breakout, a support group for gay and bisexual men, which meets at The Lord Roberts — one of Nottingham’s most popular gay bars. If you’re a sportier type, Nottingham is also home to Nottingham Lions FC, a gay and gay-friendly football club that competes in friendly games and five-a-side tournaments. For more religious types, you can join the Nottingham Unitarians, who welcome people of all faiths, or the Lesbian and Gay Christian group which meets once a month and holds various devotional and social activities throughout the year.
4. There are various one-time events hosted throughout the weeks and months, including the Nottinghamshire Pride Festival every summer. You can get involved in this, and also attend the festival if you happen to be around in the summer. It’s a great way to show your pride and also support the local gay community.
These are, of course, only a few of the options you have available to you in Nottingham. There are many, many more organisations and places to feel open and comfortable in the LGBT community. Check out www.gaynottingham.com for more information.
Find out more: Read Bryony’s blog Being LGBT at uni
* Please note that ‘Trans*’ is the term used by the Nottingham LGBT Network to explicitly include all non-cisgendered identities, including non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid etc.
John Lynskey, international student from the United States studying a PhD in Film and Television Studies at The University of Nottingham.