Pride 2023 Student Stories: Feeling At Home
By Sourabh Kumar
As an international student, I was extremely excited while coming to the United Kingdom due its human rights records & inclusivity towards the LGBTQ+ community. Living up to its hype, the first thing that I noticed after reaching the sprawling campus of the University of Exeter was the Pride lanyard that almost everyone was wearing. In utter disbelief at how everyone could be gay, I reached out to a faculty member and her reply made my day. She said everyone is wearing Pride symbols to made us feel comfortable, inclusive and at home!
Living my entire life in India, I was used to homophobia while coming out to anyone back home. The extent of normalisation was astonishing when I realised that coming out to someone here is equivalent to informing someone that ‘I had breakfast today’.
Having said that, the welcoming gesture of the allies was a delight however lack of it from the local community members was a disappointment. The Guild continuously organises meet ups in the form of community cafes, society events etc., however I always felt the response very lukewarm. To increase international LGBTQ+ students’ participation and engagement, I have given feedback and suggestions to Students’ Guild and LGBTQ+ Society which they have received with open arms. And the best part is that they make you part of the feedback implementation process and give you complete freedom to lead the change.
It’s satisfying to see those ideas shaping up and coming to life in the form of international movie screening and #BehindTheLens storytelling events during the LGBTQ+ History Month. I feel proud to be a part of a leading Russell Group University that believes in learning and growing together.