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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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Lifestyle
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How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Features
1746 views
Features
1746 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
4156 views
Arts
4156 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
1548 views
News
1548 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
1670 views
Arts
1670 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
1486 views
Film & Theatre
1486 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
1374 views
Sports
1374 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
1572 views
Arts
1572 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Sorrel Linsley - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
1608 views
Arts
1608 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
3748 views1
Campus News
3748 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…

Exhibition Focus: Pre-Raphaelite Sisters
Artist Focus
77 views
Artist Focus
77 views

Exhibition Focus: Pre-Raphaelite Sisters

gracesowerby - December 10, 2019

One hundred and seventy years after the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood first exhibited their paintings, London’s National Portrait Gallery are celebrating the divine feminine muses of this historic art…

My Top 10 Albums Of 2019
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

My Top 10 Albums Of 2019

leo2r - December 9, 2019

It's been a great year for music, with many new artists releasing strong debut albums and promises of a prosperous career. We're only a few weeks away…

Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
Arts
128 views
Arts
128 views

Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

leo2r - December 8, 2019

Words by Rosanna Weber On October 4th, Nick Cave released his latest album Ghosteen, a double album, his first since Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus in 2004. Unlike…

Live Review: Temples @ Komedia
Arts
208 views
Arts
208 views

Live Review: Temples @ Komedia

leo2r - December 8, 2019

Words by Luke Edison   This Monday 2nd December, Komedia’s doors opened to Temples, a psychedelic rock band originating from Kettering, Northamptonshire. Having heard about their mesmerizing…

Sussex Ranger Takeover
News
101 views
News
101 views

Sussex Ranger Takeover

Rory Hinshelwood - December 5, 2019

By Rory Hinshelwood, Rosie Bettis, Zoe Taylor, and Max Morris-Edwards This week the team behind new-blog-on-the-block, Sussex Ranger hijack foodies focus to introduce their guide to student…

Should some reality TV shows be banned?
Comment
158 views
Comment
158 views

Should some reality TV shows be banned?

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

The Big Debate is a regular Badger feature which brings the spirit of competitive debating to the printed page. Two writers tackle a contentious topic, representing polarised…

Elitist campus accommodation
Comment
309 views
Comment
309 views

Elitist campus accommodation

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

By Eric Barrell With my tutors going on strike over casualisation and unequal pay, and my own struggles in cheap halls with near constant maintenance issues, I…

Let’s vote for manifestos, not idols
Comment
175 views
Comment
175 views

Let’s vote for manifestos, not idols

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

By Issy Anthony - Comment Sub-Editor I want us to question how we look at politicians, and more specifically, political leaders. This is the first election I…

Monitoring our monitors
Comment
357 views
Comment
357 views

Monitoring our monitors

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

Ruth Walters discusses the work of Sussex Sweatshop Free and their involvement with tech workers’ rights Sussex Sweatshop Free is a student-led campaign group working to raise…

Less work, more play: the 4 day week
Comment
276 views
Comment
276 views

Less work, more play: the 4 day week

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

By Will Day With Labour’s proposal to implement a four-day working week, the concept of working less for the same pay has been thrust into the public…

The knife crime crisis
Comment
166 views
Comment
166 views

The knife crime crisis

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

Joe Pearce discusses the ethical debate around ‘stop and searches’ Knife-crime is a sensitive topic, one often dividing opinion nationally. To combat gang-wars and possible intent to…

Bloodshed and tyranny in Colombia
Comment
333 views
Comment
333 views

Bloodshed and tyranny in Colombia

Rebecca Partos - December 4, 2019

By Laura Lucia Rodríguez Peña Colombia has a long history of war and conflict. Nevertheless, in 2016 the National Government signed a peace agreement with the biggest armed…

Authentic cities and towns in Japan
Culture
1624 views
Culture
1624 views

Authentic cities and towns in Japan

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Vanessa Hung Always popular with travellers, Japan is a country with world-class cities, stunning landscape, spectacular natural scenery. Whether you have been to Japan before; or…

The evolution of iPod
Culture
121 views
Culture
121 views

The evolution of iPod

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Josh Talbot In the modern age of streaming technology, it is hard to imagine a time where there wasn’t an exhaustive library of songs literally at…

Brighton international eats
Culture
424 views
Culture
424 views

Brighton international eats

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Maaya Takata From vegetarian or vegan restaurants to cosy cafes for afternoon tea, from casual brunch to fine dining, Brighton offers various types of places to…

What’s going on with Falmer Moat?
Culture
69 views
Culture
69 views

What’s going on with Falmer Moat?

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Alana Harris  As the observant amongst us will have seen, the previously empty moat surrounding Falmer square has been filled with water. Many may be intrigued…

Christmas in Brighton
Culture
56 views
Culture
56 views

Christmas in Brighton

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Cloe Grampa Christmas is just around the corner and it seems that everywhere is getting into the festive spirit, but if the fairy lights around town…

Campus under Siege: Hong Kong Universities become battlegrounds
Culture
447 views
Culture
447 views

Campus under Siege: Hong Kong Universities become battlegrounds

vanessahtl - December 3, 2019

By Charlotte Brill Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests are showing no sign of fatigue. Over the past few weeks, University campuses across the region have become the flashpoints…

The Largest Maternity Scandal in NHS History
News
78 views
News
78 views

The Largest Maternity Scandal in NHS History

Becca Bashford - December 2, 2019

  By Angel Woo, Staff Writer. An internal report leaked by The Independent has revealed that at least 42 babies and three mothers died at Shrewsbury and…

So, who’s running for President in 2020?
News
111 views
News
111 views

So, who’s running for President in 2020?

Becca Bashford - December 2, 2019

The U.S. presidential race feels crowded, messy and never-ending and it’s not even 2020 yet. This is The Badger’s guide to all the current Presidential candidates, who…