June is internationally recognised as Pride Month - which is a month long celebration of the lives of LGBT+ people and a chance to reflect on the LGBT+ movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which are often considered the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement. Here at Queen Mary Students’ Union, we’ve ran a number of LGBT+ events and campaigns over the last few years in a celebration of our LGBT+ communities across all our campuses. This month, we’re showcasing some of our current and incoming LGBT+ officers to hear their thoughts on Pride.
Kicking things off is current Vice President Welfare, Ella Harvey, who’s worked hard this year to ensure that LGBT+ issues are being actively discussed, as well as helped to organise QMSU’s first LGBT+ History Month!
What does Pride mean to you?
As we see terrifying things in the news all the time about attacks on the LGBT+ community, I think Pride is very much an opportunity to reflect on our future and how unapologetically ourselves we are as a community. It’s about challenging homophobia in our communities, thinking about how we can be more inclusive and accepting, and ultimately we need to remember that it started as a protest – and to not lose this sense when we’re at Pride celebrations.
What have you achieved this year in your role for the LGBT+ community?
Aside from supporting the most fantastic LGBT+ and Trans officers on our different campuses, I’ve been hard at work to ensure the voice of our LGBT+ students are represented. I’ve secured pronoun badges (available at QMSU and BLSA reception desks very soon!) and I’ve got £4000 worth of funding for LGBT+ History month (alongside other liberation months) for next year. I have also challenged the University’s stance on LGBT+ issues in meetings after we received a poor result from our submission to the Stonewall index (The Stonewall index is a way to show that we, as an organisation, are an LGBT+ friendly employer).
How do you feel about the LGBT+ community here at QM/BL?
I’m getting all blushy and happy thinking about how much I love our LGBT+ community! I am fiercely proud and am so grateful to have worked even closer with everyone this year. I was so proud to run the first LGBT+ History month this year with Lily, Caitlin and Kate – this years LGBT+ and Trans Officers!
How will you be spending Pride this year?
Ghost writing for a Brie Larson fan account
What would be your advice to any LGBT+ students starting QMUL/BL this September?
For a lot of students, University is a time of maybe accepting for the first time in your life that you’re LGBT+. Whilst that can be scary, it’s also an extremely liberating and exciting time so make sure to surround yourself with other LGBT+ people who can support you if you need it (for example – by joining LGBT+ society!). By accepting yourself you can really flourish and feel comfortable in your own skin, and that is what Queen Mary is really about!