Friday, 10 September 2010

Student time of year

The leaves haven't quite yet started falling but soon I'll be walking through them, swooshing through them and remembering being 18 and a new student, with My October Symphony cued up on my walkman for the leaf-strewn walk to college in the mornings.

While I might not be worrying about getting registered for a course this year, other people are, and with that comes the question of whether your uni LGBT will be B inclusive and friendly. I just wrote in another place to someone wondering whether to go along to their LGBT group and whether it would feel like a safe space:

One of the trickiest things in answering this one is - personal experiences of any given uni will be completely misleading. Whereas most LGBT groups have a broadly similar set of people in charge over many years, uni groups tend to have a much faster rate of "churn", as this year's leaders are next year's finals students and the year after's "does anyone remember" names.

So the place that was red-hot at bi inclusion two years ago could be dire today, and vice versa.

And depending how confident the group runners are at challenging biphobic remarks, one or two people can make the whole space seem unaccepting even if most people are.

The best answer is to proverbially "suck it and see". And try not to let just one person's biphobia put you off - cos wherever you go in life there'll be one plonker.

Most UK unis have a freshers week society fair with stalls from the various societies on show, it might be worth turning up at the LGBT stall with a small bundle of bi leaflets as a "hello, I'd like to join, and I thought these might be useful to add to your stall" donation, and see how they respond. If they take them it'd send out a good signal for other people thinking of joining; if they are hostile you know to wear your sturdiest battle helmet when going along to the meetings!

But then, I'm probably thinking that cos of the stash of bi leaflets in my front room that are looking for a place to go

The main thing to take out of that is: I have bi leaflets that I want shot of, please let me know if you can use them locally! (Oh, and they really are very UK specific, for any Rest Of The World readers)

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