We know that not everyone is fortunate enough to return home to an accepting and positive environment during the winter holidays. This time, can be especially difficult for LGBTQIA+ students who may be returning to a space where they may face stigma, rejection, being called incorrect names or pronouns, having to hide their identity and feeling totally alone and unwelcome.
It's important to know that you are not alone,there are people who care, and support is available. Welfare & Inclusion Rep, Max Shenton, gives their advice below:
Going home when you don’t know what reaction you’ll face is hard, especially if you’ve been away from your family, in an accepting space for months. The best advice I can give is:
- Make sure you have a strong support network. Stay in touch with your flatmates or friends from uni while you’re away, make sure you have people you know will be able to cheer you up if you’re struggling.
- Speak to people online. Having an online friendship group is incredible when you just need someone to use the right name and pronouns for you, or to talk to about any offhand comments or jokes that are getting to you.
- Distractions are welcome. If you find conversations or activities are becoming uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation or distract yourself. You could go for a walk, or take part in the many activities CUSU are running for their #WinterWithCUSU campaign.
- Most importantly, set a clear boundary. Make sure you have time for yourself where you can just be alone and practice some self-care, even if it’s as small as having somewhere you can go for five minutes to breathe.
Support and Resources
The CUSU LGBTQ+ Student Community is free to join and organises events and campaigns thoughout the year for you to be involved in. You can also join the LGBTQIA+ Society!