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    A guide to LGBTQ+ life in Oxford

    Ciara Rushton spills the tea on Oxford's thriving queer scene.

    Welcome to Oxford! As an LGBTQ+ fresher, there is plenty for you to get involved with in Oxford. The University and the city as a whole has a thriving LGBTQ+ community for you to become a part of, whether you are interested in campaigning, reading groups, clubbing, or just meeting other members of the community.

    In the first instance, get to know your JCR LGBTQ+ representatives, and, if your college has them, Trans representatives. They perform similar roles, helping with running welfare events and other support, acting as advocates for LGBTQ+ issues and individuals within the college, helping connect members of the community around the college, and so on. Trans Reps also perform additional roles specifically for the trans community, including administering gender expression funds within colleges and more. You will likely get the opportunity to meet these people in Freshers’ Week, so it’s worth introducing yourself if you feel comfortable doing so! Furthermore, you may eventually be interested in standing to hold these positions to act as an advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals within your college, so it’s worth having a conversation with them to find out more about what the role entails.

    The wider University also has a lot going on for members of the LGBTQ+ community, mainly led by the LGBTQ+ Society and the LGBTQ+ Campaign (who are also publishing their own Freshers’ Guide). The difference between these two is that the Campaign mainly focuses on advocating for LGBTQ+ students at the University and for LGBTQ+ issues, whereas the Society focuses on putting on events, inviting speakers and bringing together members of the community. Both are great to get involved with depending on your interests within the community and activism!

    The LGBTQ+ Society gives many opportunities for members of the community from across colleges, years, courses and so on to meet. Whilst the specific representatives will put on events for different sections of the community, the Society as a whole puts on many events for all LGBTQ+ individuals, including the weekly Tuesday Drinks. These are a great chance to meet individuals from all different colleges, before (if you choose) going on to the Plush LGBTQ+ club afterwards. They are held at a different college each week, so be sure to check out the Society’s termcard to see where they will be. Other than this, you may also have signed up to get Rainbow Parents via the society, which are the same as college parents in their mentoring role but for the LGBTQ+ community. Overall, the Society and its events provide a great opportunity to meet individuals from across the University who are in the LGBTQ+ community! It’s worth keeping up with the Campaign’s work as well, so that you can find out more about different workshops, talks, lectures and so on if you’re interested in these.

    As mentioned, Oxford has several LGBTQ+ venues to visit, including the Plush nightclub and the Jolly Farmers pub, the UK’s oldest LGBTQ+ pub. Both put on a variety of events and are a great place to meet other members of the community. The main LGBTQ+ club night in Oxford, taking place on the same day each week as the Tuesday Drinks, is Skittles, held at Plush, and you’ll be sure to have a great time dancing the night away to songs by icons of the LGBTQ+ community.

    This is just a snippet of the different opportunities to meet other LGBTQ+ individuals in Oxford. The most important thing is that Oxford is a fantastic environment in which to express yourself, your sexuality, and your gender identity freely. With so many opportunities to get involved in activism, events, and so on, as well as to simply make some lifelong friends, we hope that you will enjoy joining such a vibrant and wholesome community in Oxford. 

    Image credit: SHVETS production via Pexels.

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