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The Badger’s Guide to being LGBTQ+ at Uni and in Brighton

Ladies, gentlemen and variations thereupon, welcome to the University of Sussex! We’re lucky enough to be based in Brighton, the UK’s LGBTQ+ capital, thus the city and University attracts many students with various queer, gender and sexual identities looking to have fun, be safe and belong within a community.

So, The Badger has taken the time to create a student guide covering everything from fun and safe venues to queer media recommendations to aide new and returning LGBTQ+ students in enjoying uni and Brighton to the fullest.

For many queer students, we’ve waited until university to fully come out and explore a side of ourselves that we kept hidden in our prior lives whether at school or at work. So, I’m here to help you unleash that previously hidden side, stay safe but most of all have fun.

 

How to get help and stay safe:

To begin, I must touch on looking after yourself and your health, both physical and mental. Living in the UK, our education doesn’t really touch upon anything LGBTQ+, especially in the context of sexual education. It is of utmost importance that you get tested, use protection (including PReP, various birth controls and, of course, condoms) and don’t let anyone make you uncomfortable.

At Sussex, there are many support systems you can get help including getting free condoms plus support and advice on all topics at the Student Life Centre. You can also visit the Rainbow Hub on St James’s Street which is a non-judgemental space for LGBTQ+ people to get guidance and information.

Sussex student volunteers also run the Good Night Owls society who patrol Brighton in the evenings on Wednesdays and Fridays ready to help anyone in trouble on a night out. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help!

How to get involved and have fun:

I’ve had the chance to talk to many LGBTQ+ students to ask for advice and the resounding response was ‘Be Yourself’. To plenty of LGBTQ+ students, the phrase might appear impossible or even scary due to the inability to be yourself previously but I can vouch that both Brighton and Sussex are hugely progressive.

Everyone here is weird in their own way so being queer is really the last thing people will notice. Thus, you are bound to find your peers and make amazing friends who are both LGBTQ+ and not. A great way to start finding these friends is to explore the hundreds of societies that Sussex offers.

DragSoc provides award-winning performances monthly alongside more casual socials including tutorials, drag brunches and film screenings. Whilst, LGBTQ+ Soc arrange socials, club nights and even the Sussex students walking group in the Brighton Pride Parade. Find both at Freshers Fair!

You are absolutely not just limited to specific LGBTQ+ or queer adjacent societies to find queer peers or friends. Due to the wildly liberal status of Sussex campus, our societies are extremely welcoming with one queer student I spoke to citing Film Society as a particularly safe space that they’ve enjoyed.

Brighton is also full of queer and queer-friendly venues. Revenge Bar and Club are notorious for hosting some of the best LGBTQ+ event in Brighton from FOMO Thursdays to Lip Sync For Your Life competitions. Similarly, Polyglamorous is a montly themed queer dance party that is hosted above the Charles Street Tap. There’s also Gal Pals, a safe space created for mostly queer women and others folks of marginalised gender identities, that takes place regularly at Komedia.

LGBTQ+ media to enjoy:

Being involved with the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have to be a social thing. So, I’ve compiled some recommendations for queer TV, films, music, books and more for you to enjoy from the safety of your own bedroom.

Television:

Nowadays, we’re lucky enough that queer representation is becoming more common on TV with mainstream shows like How To Get Away With Murder, Jessica Jones or Orange Is The New Black casually having many queer characters with their sexuality and gender identities not defining or entirely characterising them.

Then, of course, there are many shows where their LGBTQ+ identity is more at the forefront of celebration including RuPaul’s Drag Race (UK version starting October 3rd on BBC3), Sense8, Queer Eye, Cucumber/Banana/Tofu, Queer as Folk and Glow which are equally as enjoyable and worth watching.

Books & Film

Representation extends to books as well. With students recommending these to me: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Call Me By Your Name – the last three have been adapted into hugely popular films.

Other worth-while queer films include Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Party Monster, Pride, Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Carol, Rent and, of course, Paris Is Burning.

lgbt films.jpg

LGBTQ+ TV & Film. L-R: Love, Simon, Rent, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Sense8, Milk and Banana

 

Music:

Music nowadays is also heavily influenced and populated by LGBTQ+ artists with Lil Nas X being one of the most recent success stories as the only ever artist to come out as gay whilst charting at #1. With his first single, ‘Old Town Road’ breaking the record of longest ever consecutive #1 previously belonging to gay icon and ally Mariah Carey.

Other incredible mainstream queer artists that deserve your attention include Hayley Kiyoko, Demi Lovato, Kevin Abstract, Sia, Troye Sivan, MNEK, Lady Gaga, Kim Petras, Years and Years, SOPHIE, Frank Ocean, Janelle Monáe, Sam Smith and many more.

With woman of the moment, Lizzo, quoted in a Teen Vogue interview as saying “I personally don’t ascribe to just one thing […] That’s why the colours for LGBTQ+ are a rainbow!”

The Badger’s Pride Playlist (Listen here)

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

Valentino – Years & Years feat. MNEK

Feels Right – Carly Rae Jepsen feat. Electric Guest

Good As Hell – Lizzo

Make Me Feel – Janelle Monáe

Sissy That Walk – RuPaul

I Don’t Want It All – Kim Petras

Kiss – Prince

Girls Like Girls – Hayley Kiyoko

Lgbt – cupcakKe

Girls / Girls / Boys – Panic! At The Disco

Follow Your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves

Peach – Kevin Abstract

1 albums lgbt.jpg

Album art of LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ ally singers. Clockwise L-R: RuPaul, Sia, Kim Petras, Janelle Monáe, Lady Gaga, Hayley Kiyoko, Lizzo and MNEK.

 

Role models:

Are you looking to queer-ify your Instagram feed? Then look no further as I, with the help of some fellow Sussex students, recommend role models and influencers to follow online for daily inspiration.

Some accounts I personally follow include trans, deaf, genderqueer activist and actor Chella Man (@chellaman) who is due to play Jericho in DC’s Titans. I also adore and follow Laverne Cox (@lavernecox), gay actor Keiynan Lonsdale (@keiynanlonsdale) and, sexually fluid and deaf model Nyle DiMarco (@nyledimarco) – all three of which are hugely inspiring activists in our community. I’d also recommend following the founder of Fruitcake, Jamie Windust (@jamie_windust)

Whilst the students I spoke to recommended accounts spanning @adameli (co-founder of NYC based Voices 4), @jazzjennings_ (trans YouTuber), @alisonponthier (singer-songwriter), @pabllovittar (drag queen and singer) and @honeykiney (co-founder of The Pink Project).

At the end of the day, my biggest piece of advice to all LGBTQ+ students coming to Sussex for the first time or for those returning is that you must unleash yourself from the claustrophobic social shackles you’ve struggled with in the past and just try to enjoy your life to its fullest. Don’t let others bring you down. Own your identity through meeting queer peers or involving yourself in the LGBTQ+ community and be proud! You are loved and you are special so be yourself!

 

Big LGBTQ+ Names on Campus Give Advice

UoS_Michelle-Hui-Pride-2018-91-edit-2000px.jpg

University of Sussex at Brighton & Hove Pride 2018 – Credit: Michelle Hui

Filip Vasilijevic, SU President:

What advice would you give? 

The advice I would give is as cliched as it sounds, the University is the time to fully embrace who you are and don’t be afraid to do so at Sussex. If you are worried that you might not be accepted by certain people then all I can say is that those people aren’t worth your time! Find people who will accept you.

If you’re unsure and don’t fully know who you are yet? That’s amazing as well! This is the perfect time to experiment and figure it all out! We have so many amazing societies and opportunities for you to get involved and see what you life, from DragSoc to Musical Theatre, there is definitely something for you!

How to get involved?

Best advice I can give is just try it out! If something catches your eye, don’t be afraid to go to the session or social. Remember, everyone here is in the same position, so even if you go to an event alone, chances are, so are the majority of the people there.

Plus there is always the Buddy Scheme, a great way for you to make a friend that is a current/returning student and you can be matched with someone with the same interests as you.

LGBTQ+ anthem?

Do I have to pick just one? Maybe ‘It’s Raining Men’ by The Weather Girls, then.

 

Atusa Jasmin, DragSoc President & performs as Prince of Persia:

What advice would you give? 

Don’t worry if you don’t find your people immediately, you’re going to meet so many different kinds of people and from my experience here at Sussex I have been so welcomed; by my straight housemates, course-mates and wonderful queer friends.

But, I would recommend attending LGBTQ+ events by the LGBTQ+ and Drag societies (amongst others!). When I was a fresher, I went to an LGBTQ+ picnic and made 2 friends that I am still so close to in third year!

How to get involved? 

Go to the events of the societies you like – that way you can get a taste of what it is about and if you enjoy it.

If there isn’t already a society for what you want to be a part of then you can just set up your own as long as you have 3 other people involved. You can even get funding from the SU if you register as a society.

Alternatively, you can get involved with the community through job opportunities on campus (student ambassador roles, bar staff etc) but I’d also suggest volunteering for different schemes on campus or in Brighton itself.

LGBTQ+ anthem?

I know this is predictable and I guess cheesy but I am a huge Gaga fan and I love everything she is about, so ‘Born This Way’ is my number 1 anthem for sure. I could go on about her for days!

Ray Everall, LGBTQ+ Society President:

What advice would you give?

I think the best general advice for anyone coming to University is to join a society. Through this you’re able to find others who share similar interests and it can help to make your first few weeks feel a lot less isolating.

I’d recommend exploring Brighton to find the best spots – there are a fair few hidden gems.

Some dad advice: if you’re going to be drinking then make sure you stay with friends and keep yourself safe. Although Brighton is known for its large LGBTQ+ population, its not entirely safe – especially not at night. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything and figure out what your limits are.

How to get involved?

Educate yourself! You’ll meet a lot of different people at uni, and you might not be entirely familiar with everything you encounter. Little things like asking respectful questions and doing your own research can go along way to ensure that everyone is comfortable. I’d also recommend not just sticking to campus – there are a tonne of LGBTQ+ groups in Brighton, and it’s important to not just get stuck in the Uni bubble.

LGBTQ+ anthem?

Honestly, its ‘Boys’ by Lizzo at the moment.

 

Beattie, performs as drag comedian Lydia Eastslope:

What advice would you give?

Come to DragSoc! We have cheap nights that show you award-winning artists. We have comedy, lip syncs, dancing, singing, protests and love every first Wednesday of the month in Room 76.

How to get involved?

We’ll start with books because I’m an arts student and I love literature – I just read and loved Queer: A Graphic History, which traces the origins of queer theory and queer activisim in a really accessible and fun way – it’s set out like a graphic novel, its gorgeous. There are, also, classics like Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit or Martin Sherman’s Bent or I could recommend more modern stuff such as Jen Campbell’s short story collection The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night.

There are also some amazing, local queer events like Gal Pals, DragSoc or Chub Rub’s Bedroom Drag at the Bee’s Mouth on October 11. I’ve got too much to mention, please hire me for a column!

If you are unable to leave the house or attend social events for any reason, please don’t be afraid to DM me on Instagram @lydia_eastslope and I can provide lots of suggestions.

LGBTQ+ anthem?

I’m non binary so I reject having to make decisions by picking a favourite. Instead here’s several: ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston, ‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure, ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen, ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’ by Mamma Cass Elliot, ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’’ by The Scissor Sisters and ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ from Les Mis.

 

Header image credit: @chrisahjempics

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Arts
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Arts
1484 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
3530 views1
Campus News
3530 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Written by the News Team. Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for…

Extinction Rebellion protests banned by police
News
67 views
News
67 views

Extinction Rebellion protests banned by police

Becca Bashford - October 16, 2019

Becca Bashford, News Editor.  The Metropolitan Police have issued a statement ordering all Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London…

1sts BUCS Match Reports
Sports
544 views
Sports
544 views

1sts BUCS Match Reports

James Cohen - October 13, 2019

By Jonny Garwood This year the Badger are aiming to provide a new platform for student sport societies to celebrate their individual or group achievements once a…

Review: BROCKHAMPTON’s Ginger
Arts
166 views
Arts
166 views

Review: BROCKHAMPTON’s Ginger

kajaldave4801 - October 10, 2019

Released earlier this summer, BROCKHAMPTON followed 2018’s ‘Iridescence’ with their fifth studio album ‘Ginger’. Since Iridescence, the self-proclaimed greatest boyband since one direction has faced chaos and…

Oliver’s Brighton: Two years on
News
77 views
News
77 views

Oliver’s Brighton: Two years on

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  “There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments […], windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes, tottering piles of…

Two new student-led campaigns join the SU
News
129 views
News
129 views

Two new student-led campaigns join the SU

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  In the lead-up to the Change Sussex Forum taking place in the Research Centre on October 22, The Badger provides the low down on the Students’…

Vegan Activists Disrupt Brighton
News
155 views
News
155 views

Vegan Activists Disrupt Brighton

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Becca Bashford, News Editor. Vegan activists have been targeting supermarkets and corporations that profit from the sale of animal products, using a radical yet entirely…

Free Wednesdays Volunteer Scheme
News
61 views
News
61 views

Free Wednesdays Volunteer Scheme

Jessica Hubbard - October 10, 2019

Free Wednesdays, a student volunteer scheme which offers free sanitary and sexual health products to Sussex students, need your help. Launched in 2015 by Rianna Gargulio, Sussex…

Brighton buses become the first in the UK to run in zero emission mode
News
75 views
News
75 views

Brighton buses become the first in the UK to run in zero emission mode

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Alana Harris, Staff Writer This October, the UK’s first zero emission buses - The Enviro400Er’s - will debut in Brighton & Hove. Brighton and Hove…

Sussex graduate wins UK Dyson Award
News
76 views
News
76 views

Sussex graduate wins UK Dyson Award

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

  By Alana Harris, Staff Writer. Lucy Hughes, a University of Sussex product design graduate, won this year’s prestigious James Dyson Award for her innovative plastic alternative.…

Meet the local feminist collective fighting against sexual assault at gigs
News
96 views
News
96 views

Meet the local feminist collective fighting against sexual assault at gigs

Becca Bashford - October 10, 2019

Becca Bashford, The Badger's News Editor, chats with Girls Against founder Bea Bennister about the problem of sexual assault and harassment that is plaguing the music industry.  Run by…

Should we still listen to Michael Jackson’s music?
Comment
131 views
Comment
131 views

Should we still listen to Michael Jackson’s music?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

YES Alice Gledhill Sometimes, bad people create great things. This does not redeem them, but nor does it reduce the quality of their art. Michael Jackson, who…

Brighton: If you haven’t got the means,  is it the ends?
Brighton Festival
234 views
Brighton Festival
234 views

Brighton: If you haven’t got the means, is it the ends?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

In this article Comment Editor Rebecca Spencer and Comment Sub-Editor Louis Johnson discuss their perspectives of living in Brighton. Rebecca having moved here in 2017 and Louis,…

Could Brexit become the start of a left-wing national revolution?
Comment
259 views
Comment
259 views

Could Brexit become the start of a left-wing national revolution?

Remel Crichlow - October 9, 2019

YES Luke Schofield The short answer is, yes. However this is an answer in two parts; what has already happened in party politics in the wake of…

Is the UK ready to legalise cannabis?
Comment
73 views
Comment
73 views

Is the UK ready to legalise cannabis?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

YES Max Morris-Edwards The idea that cannabis should be legalised for recreational use is rapidly growing in popularity across the UK. Cannabis is indeed the most used…

Books
58 views

A note on graphic novels: A guide to some of the best graphic novels on the market now

imeldaloakes - October 9, 2019

The term ‘graphic novel’ has, for a long time, been used loosely around the fringes of the literary society. While in the world of comics certain graphic…

Is music journalism a total minefield?
Brighton Festival
171 views
Brighton Festival
171 views

Is music journalism a total minefield?

Rebecca Spencer - October 9, 2019

By Stella Cooper My friends are still sharing videos, no matter how messy, of pure summer festival carnage. Whether that’s in the shape of music, or campsite…

Is America ready for a progressive candidate?
Comment
61 views
Comment
61 views

Is America ready for a progressive candidate?

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Maritsa Tsioupra-Lewis On September 12th in Houston, Texas, the third Democratic debate commenced. With too-many-to-count candidates originally running in the Democratic primary, the group was dwindled…

The Un-United Kingdom: Scotland’s Brexit woes
Comment
61 views
Comment
61 views

The Un-United Kingdom: Scotland’s Brexit woes

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Louis Johnson The Brexit deadline is looming and as Britain prepares to leave the EU, ‘deal or no deal’, it looks as though our Union is…

Should you refuse the zoos?
Comment
73 views
Comment
73 views

Should you refuse the zoos?

rgs24 - October 9, 2019

By Leo Hodges Conservation is an immensely complex process and more often than not zoos and animal-loving customers are the problem. Zoo’s exploit conservation, education and research…

Books
53 views

‘The Goldfinch’: are some novels best left untouched?

imeldaloakes - October 9, 2019

First published in 2013, Donna Tartt’s epic coming-of-age novel has attracted a large literary following. The Goldfinch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 and…