June is Pride month and we want to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ students at the University of Salford. I caught up with students Rine, Hadassah and Mel to find out more about them, their university experience and what advice they have for LGBTQIA+ students joining the University of Salford.
Rine is Broadcast Journalism student who grew up in a small town in Spain where they didn’t feel like they could be themselves. Since moving to Salford, Rine didn’t have to hide who they were anymore. They said that they now have a big diverse group of LGBTQIA+ friends and a community of welcoming people. “I’m just queer. I’m just me”, they said.
When Rine began university, they found some of their closest friends and a proud diverse community. They said: “I felt so welcomed”.
I asked Rine what advice they would give to new LGBTQIA+ students at the University of Salford, they said: “Manchester and Salford are big and there are going to be more people like you and it’s nice and it’s not going to feel as lonely as you thought you were. I don’t think people should be nervous about coming here to Manchester and Salford because they are really proud about having people who are LGBT and having people who are different.”
Being different, being you and being proud is something that can be seen across The University of Salford. And being proud is something Hadassah does confidently.
Hadassah is a Broadcast Journalism student who was confident with their sexuality before university. She said, “being part of the LGBT community hasn’t affected my university experience at all. I’m a student, I go here and I’m queer”.
Hadassah said, “I am a very much ‘I don’t really care’ sort of person, I am very comfortable with me”. I asked her what advice she gives to LGBTQIA+ students so they feel the same comfort and confidence. She said, “Remember your sexuality has nothing to do with anyone else. If you are coming to uni and you are not ready to come out that’s fine, you don’t have to share with anybody. When you’re ready, take your time and if you feel willing, go ahead and do that.”
As Wellbeing Officer for the African and Caribbean society, Hadassah wanted to give advice to other black queer women – “People here will more than accept you and you don’t have to worry, everything will be fine. You will find your people and it may take time but after you start studying, you start talking and progressing with people, you will find who are meant to be your people and who aren’t and that’s okay.”
Mel is a Multimedia Journalism student who discovered themselves at university. They said they were comfortable with their sexuality before coming to university but not their identity. “It’s not about who I want to be with. It’s about who I want to be”, Mel said. They discovered their identity as non-binary due to the support they received at university, the gaming society and talking to other LGBTQIA+ students. “It took me a long time to realise that I’m non-binary and now I love that thing about me”, they said.
When asking Mel what advice they would give to LGBTQIA+ students starting university they said to have the courage to call people out that are not respecting your identity. But they said, “that courage will rarely need to come because this University rarely has that problem. The University is very open, very inclusive and very helpful. It has been nothing but accepting and helpful and the students here are so good and you are going to make great friends so don’t worry about it. The University is nothing but diverse and accepting of every background and every person”.
For anyone seeking assistance or support in expressing or exploring their identity, resources are available here. You can contact the University with any questions at LGBT@salford.ac.uk or by calling 0161 295 0023. If you feel you would benefit from talking to someone one-on-one, you can also reach out to the University’s Wellbeing and Counselling services.