Student experience 1

“I knew I was interested in guys before I came to Cambridge, but didn’t feel the need to shout about it. I went onto the college’s anonymous LGBT mailing list to see what events were happening but didn’t attend any of the first few things. Apart from the college rep, I only mentioned it to a coursemate who had said he was bi, and it came up in conversation with a few college friends as I got to know them better through the year. I don’t see sexuality as part of my identity, just that some of the people I fancy happen to be guys, in the same way as some might be the same or different race/age/etc as me.

I met my boyfriend shortly before second year started, so that news was the first a lot of my friends knew about my sexuality; there were some surprised reactions and the odd one or two mildly freaked out by it if they’d grown up in a totally ‘straight’ environment (but they got over it sooner or later); some people were willing to tell me they disagreed with it in principle; but no hostility, and most people didn’t find it specially remarkable. It doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on my academic life, membership of societies, etc – I’ve experienced no discrimination.

The Cambridge community is quite open-minded or at least tolerant. I’d feel comfortable holding hands in the street, in fact yesterday I saw two guys doing just that, although it’s definitely not a common sight. I’ve now been to two or three LBGT formal swaps between my college and others, they can feel a little odd because the only thing really bringing you all together is being non-straight! but like any swap, they’re a good way to chat to some new people.”