To the LGBTQ+ people of Cambridge,
As my job as LGBTQ officer comes to an end, I’d like to thank everyone for making this year a milestone in the history of Cambridge. The voices of LGBTQ people have never been so strong and so laud. Over the past months, I had the chance to further advance the work of my predecessors, while trying to make my personal contribution. As I started meeting and working with queer people of Cambridge, I was not expecting to be overwhelmed by the energy of LGBTQ students. I ended up falling in love with this community, and making the fight for LGBTQ rights a mission.
This letter is not about the achievements reached in the past months, but it is about how grateful I am to you, queer students. Some of you might not be mindful of this just yet, but you are the most amazing humans I have ever had the privilege to meet. Together we have worked on so many issues, and we have made some solid changes. We have managed to secure Gender Neutral policies; to start a working group for queer women and non-binary people; to run social events and campaigns across colleges and departments; to bridge the gap between the University and the City of Cambridge; to help charities and charity events; to help make the first ever Cambridge Pride a reality; to organise an LGBTQ forum where representatives of students and charities discussed together targets and resources; to use survey data to discuss mental health of LGBTQ people in Cambridge (see link below); to create new LGBTQ groups within departments; to offer practical solutions for welfare and sexual health (see link below); to work on intersectionality and give visibility to marginalised communities; to change constitutions and statutes so as to be more representative and inclusive; to organise seminars and conferences; and much more.
At some point, we have achieved something really special. We have actually forged a community, a respectful and inclusive network. This has encouraged more and more students every month to join LGBTQ groups and events, to express themselves, to feel welcome, to be accepted, and to be part of something. Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned a lot from each of you. I have tried to do my job with integrity, honesty and humility. I have tried to do my best to improve things on a structural level, and on a community level to bring people together. Unfortunately, I have lost some friends in the process, but I have gained a strong community of proud people. I will never forget when we all celebrated together at Cambridge Pride 2019. The University will never forget, because we made history on that day.
From July I will start my job as President of the Graduate Union. That means that I will have the chance to keep working on minorities rights from a different perspective. There are queer people who still feel disconnected and lonely in Cambridge, and we have a lot of work to do in the next years. We have to fight harder for the vulnerable sections of LGBTQ+ communities, especially trans* and gender non-conforming individuals, Black, Asian and ethnic minorities, and women and non-binary students. Together we can help students realise that being an LGBTQ person does not mean to be a ‘Second-Class’ individual, that we are welcome in academia, and we are here to shine.
Remember: You are great, the sky is your limit, and you are not alone. And if you ever need to talk, I am one phone call, one e-mail, or one Instagram/Facebook message away.
Links: Being an LGBTQ+ grad student and researcher in Cambridge. Available at: https://www.gradunion.cam.ac.uk/news/being-an-lgbtq-grad-student-and-researcher-in-cambridge-a-journey-to-become-a-role-model
Ropek-Hewson S. (2019). Graduate Union Postgraduate Mental Health Report. Cambridge University Graduate Union, Cambridge. Available at: https://www.gradunion.cam.ac.uk/files/postgaduate-mhreport (Accessed on 15 May 2019).
Guha Majumdar, M. G. (2019). Personal Welfare Handbook. University of Cambridge Graduate Union, Cambridge. Available at: https://www.gradunion.cam.ac.uk/files/handbooks/PersonalWelfare (Accessed on 15 May 2019).
University of Cambridge University of Cambridge Graduate Union #LGBTQ #LGBT
To the LGBTQ+ people of Cambridge,