By Julia Lascar, MSci Physics & Philosophy, Department of Physics
Though I figured I was gay in my early teenage years, I didn’t understand what it meant to belong to the LGBTQ+ community until I came to King’s. Bit of backstory: I grew up in a conservative town. I was deep in the closet, though that didn’t stop bullies from noticing I wasn’t quite like them, and punishing me accordingly. My friends were supportive, of course, but my friends were all very straight, and there are things that even the best allies will never understand.
That’s why it’s so important to be surrounded by people who love, exist, and accept each other like we do — be it so your niche gay jokes don’t flop, to gush over girls, to hear your pronouns used right at first try, and most of all, to have a support network to fall back on when society, family, or bullies get you down.
My first introduction to the queer community at King’s was the LGBT society. I remember being a shy first year at their first evening social — when a cute girl asked for my number, I was so flustered that I gave her the wrong one. We played a gayer version of regular icebreakers (Beyoncé jokes and lesbi-honest puns included), hung out at a nearby pub, then finished the night at a gay club. Although, I’ll admit: I passed on that last bit. Clubs are a bit too loud and crowded for my introverted hermit soul. I still had a lovely time, and later, I was happy to find out that the range of activities offered by the LGBT society is as diverse as our community: club nights for the party enthusiasts, chill pub nights, coffee get-togethers, bar crawls, poetry evenings, movie screenings, self-care sessions… you name it.
The society is also a great advocate for our rights on campus. Their hard work has allowed for the instalment of gender-neutral toilets on campus, and though the situation could still be improved, King’s is marching in the right direction.
King’s LGBTQ+ community doesn’t stop at its society, either. In fact, I met most of my queer friends right on campus, attending classes alongside me. London is a very diverse, open-minded town, and so is this university. In such a welcoming environment, it’s easy to be honest and open, and thus, easy to find each other. A pansexual friend of mine once attended a lecture in full glittery drag, and was heartily complimented on her killer eye shadow. Another was experimenting with gender expression for the first time, and they received encouraging praises about the cuteness of their skirt.
I used to feel my heart race every time I came out, and sometimes I still do, but when I’m talking to a King’s student, I know it’s going to be easy. Talking about my girlfriend hardly feels like coming out anymore: I’m just talking about my girlfriend. I feel welcome.