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.
We sat down with incoming Mile End LGBT+ Representative 2019-2020, Jedd Higgins, who is also Co-President of QM's LGBT+ Society, to talk about what Pride means to her and what plans she has for the upcoming academic year!
So, what does Pride mean to you?
Living unapologetically in a space not designed with me in mind. Supporting QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Colour) and trans communities. Remembering all the lesbians that came before me.
What do you hope to achieve this year in your role?
I want every single LGBT+ student to feel as comfortable within the student union (including its various outlets), as I do. My first goal is to work with the managers of venues and shops. I want to provide training for staff that sell age restricted goods, to ensure that trans people who have ID that doesn’t match their current presentation are treated appropriately. One bad experience could put a student off ever returning, and it would be a great shame for a student to miss out on opportunities to connect with other students at Drapers or Griff Inn. I also want to make LGBT+ History Month even bigger, and help create space for BME members of our community.
Why did you decide to run?
I care, more than I’ve ever cared about anything. I believe I have the energy and the ideas to make real change. Nothing excites me more than the chance to make Queen Mary an even better place to be LGBT+.
How will you be spending Pride this year?
With my best friends… and Kylie.
How do you feel about the LGBT+ community here at QM/BL?
The LGBT+ community at QM changed everything for me. I’ve been involved for less than 18 months, and it’s already brought me best friends, opportunities, and, honestly, the best year of my life. My university experience is the polar opposite of what it was two years ago, and I’ve never been happier. So I’m grateful, for the entire committee, for every single member that’s ever turned up to an event, and for QMSU, for supporting our society immensely.
What would be your advice to any LGBT+ students starting QMUL/BL this September?
Find your community – we’d love to have you at QM LGBT+. Meet us at Freshers Fair, come to LGBTea (our tea and coffee social), or join us for some classic LGBT+ anthems at Honey. But you can find your people in other places too; in your halls, your lectures, at Freshers events. Turn up for things, take every opportunity to meet other students, and you’ll be fine. This goes for every single student at QM, I didn’t start following this advice until half way through my degree, and I think that’s my biggest regret.