Celebrating LGBTQ+ students and staff for Pride 2022 – Part 2

Part Two Joshua and Abi

Joshua

UG, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (MEng)

How do you identify?

Gay man

What does Pride mean to you?

To me, Pride is being true to who you are and loving yourself.

Have you been on a Pride march before and what are your memories?

I went on a Pride march back in 2019 in Birmingham. I remember the feeling of acceptance and just having fun and being able to celebrate with my friends

What does it mean to you to be part of the LGBTQ+ community?

I love having a sense of community and knowing that there will always be people out there who love and support each other.

And how important is it to study in such a diverse place?

I think it is important to study/work in a diverse place as it means that you can be true to yourself and not worry about the judgement of others

Abbi

Undergraduate Student Administrator, School of Management and Co-Chair, LGBT+ Staff Network

How do you identify?

I describe myself alternately as bisexual or queer, although sometimes I’ll use “gay” as shorthand – one of my favourite things about being part of the community is that a queer identity can be a wonderful, fluid thing!   

I’m the Co-Chair of the University’s LGBT+ Network and am so proud to be a part of that group of amazing people and everything they do. 

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is inherently political to me – there’s no separating the two. Although I love the party and the festival and the messy fun of it all, the most important part of it for me is the fact that Pride is a protest, and the marches are a way of marking that.  

Pride for me is a connection to LGBTQ+ folk throughout the ages, and community, and resilience in the face of oppression, and power, and joy and love. It’s a belonging to the huge history of different people who are part of our community and have paved the way for us to march today.  

And I’m really excited to teach my little one about the people who paved the way for us to march together this year – and then to take him to the drag storytime on the Downs afterwards! 

Can you tell me about your very first Pride march?

I grew up in a very small town in the middle of nowhere, so my first Pride was actually the first ever Exeter Pride in 2009, when I went to university. I was so excited to go and so scared I wouldn’t fit in, but I had an absolute blast.  

I actually went with the woman who is now my wife, long before we became a couple! I vaguely remember a hot, sweaty march, and holding up a giant flag, and then wandering around stalls feeling overwhelmed and exhilarated and like I’d finally found somewhere to belong.  

For me, that was a wake up call that being queer was not something I wanted to ignore – it was an intrinsic part of me, and a beautiful part of me, and it informed everything about me. And that it was possible to be out, and proud, and for that to be a brilliant, exciting thing. (I think I went home and immediately googled Marsha P. Johnson after seeing her on a poster!) 

 

 

 

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