A quick guide to student health services

Many of our international students may not be familiar with how the UK health system works and so here is a very simple guide to help.  A list of some local services for Bristol and Bath is included at the end of this post. 

A lot of our health services are provided by the National Health Service (NHS). 

Details of services available to Bristol and Bath students can be found at the end of this post.  

Accidents and Emergencies – available 24 hours a day. Call 999 

If you have a serious accident or need urgent medical care for a life-threatening condition, you should call 999 from your phone and ask for an ambulance. Or it is safe to do so, you can go to your nearest hospital Accident and Emergency room (often referred to as A&E). You will be seen by a receptionist when you arrive and then you will be assessed by medical staff before you are seen for further treatment/investigation. 

You should expect to wait to be seen – average times vary but can be up to 4 hours, depending on the seriousness of your situation.  

Not sure if you should visit A&E or would like some advice? Call 111 or visit https://111.nhs.uk/ 

The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day. When you call, you will be asked several questions about yourself and your condition and you will be told what to do next, which could be to see a doctor, go to A&E or they may make you an appointment at an urgent treatment centre/minor injury unit. They may also advise you to see a pharmacist to get some medication. 

Urgent treatment centre/minor injury unit 

These are separate from A&E and you can go to an urgent treatment centre if you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. These services are open at least 12 hours a day, every day – details below.  

Doctors – by appointment only 

In the UK, medical doctors working in the community are referred to as General Practitioners or GPs. They are often the first point of contact when we feel unwell and work out of GP Surgeries or GP Practices. 

You cannot go to a GP surgery/practice without first registering and then making an appointment. 

How you make an appointment will depend on the surgery. Some will offer an online system, others will need you to call them directly – you may be kept on hold, while you wait to speak to someone.  

When it’s your turn, you will speak with the receptionist first and you should be prepared to explain why you need to see a doctor – this helps them decide which service you require. Sometimes you may be offered a telephone appointment, where the doctor will call you or you may be offered an in-person appointment at the surgery with a doctor or nurse.  

Depending on how serious your condition is, you may have to wait to see a doctor, it could be up to two weeks. 

Student Health Service 

If you live in the practice area you will be able to register with the Student Health Service, which offers a full GP surgery to university students and their families.  

If your condition changes or gets worse, whilst you are waiting to see the doctor, you can call 111 for advice or 999 if life-threatening. 

If you no longer need to see the doctor, please cancel your appointment. 


If your doctor decides you need medication, you’ll need to collect it at a pharmacy. Your doctor will write a prescription which they can give to you or can send directly to your nominated pharmacy (you may have nominated one when you first registered at the surgery)  

If you are feeling unwell or have a simple problem – a cough, common cold, flu-like symptoms, mild eye or ear infection. –  you can go directly to the pharmacy and ask for their advice as they can offer a variety of medicines without a prescription.  

In the UK most people have to pay for their medicine/prescriptions, however, you can check to see if you are entitled to free prescriptions here.  

If you think you have a more serious condition, you can call 111, arrange to see your doctor, or if severe, go to A&E. You should not put off seeking help if you are unwell. 

For further information on health services for international students, please visit: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students-health/international-students/ 

For further info on general student health services, please visit: –  http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students-health/international-students/health-services-in-the-uk/ 



Student Health Service 

Hampton House, St Michael’s Hill, Bristol BS6 6AU. 

Accident and Emergency 

  • Bristol Royal Infirmary – Marlborough Street, Bristol BS2 8HW 
  • Southmead Hospital – Southmead Road, Westbury-on-Trym , Bristol, Avon, BS10 5NB 

Urgent medical care centres 

  • Bristol Urgent Treatment Centre, Hengrove Promenade BS14 0DE 
  • Yate Minor Injury Unit, 21 West Walk Yate BS374AX 
  • Clevedon Minor Injury Unit, Old Street Clevedon BS21 6BS 


Accident and Emergency  

Royal United Hospitals, Bath, Combe Park, Bath, Avon, BA1 3NG 

The minor injury unit is also next to the A&E Department.  

To find a GP – if you cannot register with the Student Health Service 


To find a dentist 


Pride 2022 – Being an ally, part 2

By Student Champion, Lottie Aikens

“I’m not like homophobic. I’m an ally!”

If you have watched Netflix’s recent hit series, Heartstopper, you may recognise this quote, which was stated by Imogen, who is one of the straight characters in the show. As a viewer, this quote did not seem convincing to me, after witnessing Imogen’s ignorant attitude and the way that she repeatedly negatively treats characters in the show who are openly LGBTQ+, even though she calls herself an ally.

I soon realised how easy it is to claim to be supportive, without putting the action behind the words. This moment in Heartstopper allowed me to consider how I, as a straight student, can establish my position as an ally and fully identify with this label. In support of Pride month, I have put together a list of ways in which we, as allies, can support the LGBTQ+ community.

Attend Pride events

A great way of showing our support and appreciation for the LGBTQ+ community is by attending Pride events. During Pride month, there are so many parades, protests and parties which are held to celebrate the liberation of expressing sexuality, gender and identity. Pride events are also so much fun because they are an opportunity to dress up and truly express identity, without judgement. Of course, these events are open to everyone so as allies, we can attend them to not only celebrate freedom of identity but to also learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and educate ourselves about the origins of Pride and how people around the world, still need to protest to be granted freedom, such as the rights to marriage and adoption.

Understand the importance of pronouns

Because a lot of us still use the same pronouns that we were assigned at birth, it can be challenging to understand why there are individuals who change their pronouns or do not associate themselves with gender binary (e.g they may use the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/him’ or ‘she/her’).

It is essential that we respect the pronouns of others and also know how to express our own pronouns so that everyone can comfortably reference one another.

I use the pronouns ‘she/her’ and, as a student, I can easily express my preference in my Instagram bio or even at the end of emails, beneath my name. As allies, we should not assume the pronouns of others and we should also recognise the importance of presenting our own pronouns, no matter how we display ourselves.

Follow LGBTQ+ creators

A way in which I like to educate myself is through consuming content, created by queer individuals. Especially through podcasts and blog posts, I feel that I gain a real insight into the struggles that these creators still face today and their constant fight against discrimination. Because there can be a lack of inclusivity and representation in the media, it is important to actively find content, created by minority groups, so that we can learn, as an audience. My favourite LGBTQ+ influencers are Jameela Jamil, Mae Martin and Bel Priestley.

Educate others

It is important to remember that even as straight individuals, we still have the power to educate others about the LGBTQ+community. I have noticed that older generations can appear ignorant of Pride because in the past, people were not taught about different sexualities and genders as they are today. Therefore, it is essential that we use our knowledge to raise awareness of Pride and we should display its importance to our older relatives, for example. This can help to grow support for the LGBTQ+ community and also reduce discrimination because the more people are educated, the more they understand that everyone deserves to be treated as equals.

Wear a rainbow

Wearing a rainbow is one of the most simple yet effective ways that we can express our position as allies! It is a visual representation of our love and support for the LGBTQ+ community and shows that we view everyone equally, no matter their sexuality or gender identity. Wearing a rainbow on campus also establishes how our university is a safe space for all. Rainbow pins, t-shirts and bags are extremely accessible and available to order on a variety of online sites.

I hope that this blog post has allowed you to consider how to express your support for the LGBTQ+ community! Happy Pride month!

Pride 2022 – Being an ally, part 1

What does it mean to support the LGBTQ+ community even when you are not part of it? In these blogs we explore what being an ally means and we speak to some staff and students about how they champion the community.

Shay Ferguson

PA to Director of Marketing and Communications, Marketing and Communications

I believe being an ally is important because I feel not enough people normalise and make everyone feel comfortable for being who they are, or wish to be. Being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community has meant a lot to me as having friends within the LGBTQ+ community who weren’t always completely out at the time, meant I witnessed the stigma those within the community are subjected to. Without even realising, I quickly became defensive over those that weren’t always strong enough to defend themselves and I’ve always carried myself with the pride of knowing everyone is the same and yet we’re different. I want to show that we can embrace change and welcome it rather then shy away from it or use harassment out of fear of misunderstanding.

Trans Allyship

The trans community are facing some serious challenges right now and needs our support. But what can a cis person (someone whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth) do to be a trans ally?

Sean Hourigan/The Peer Partnership:

Being a trans ally is the easiest thing in the world. Simply respect the identity of those you meet, understand that this is who they are, and clue yourself up on the issues they face. Some people who are trans or non-binary might be happy to talk to you about it, some might not. Again, you’re talking about individuals, not some homogenous group, treat them as such. If you’re willing to be more active, don’t accept others treating trans or non-binary as anything other than the people they are, whether it’s to their face or behind their back. Challenge their views, ask why they think it, and be clear you don’t agree. You don’t need to get into an argument, just let them know you don’t support their views. A lot of people see it as the responsibility of those who are discriminated against to gain acceptance, whereas in reality, it’s up to all of us to make sure we create communities of acceptance and mutual respect where everyone can thrive.

Aaron Grice, Student Inclusion Officer

To help you get used to using they/them pronouns, I suggest going for a walk with a friend and using ‘they’ pronouns to talk about every stranger that you see. Everyone finds using ‘they’ pronouns hard at first (that’s just how our brains are wired), but continuing to practice will help you start using ‘they’ pronouns without even thinking about it.  If someone you know has changed their name or pronouns, and you’re struggling to get it right, then I’d also suggest practising talking about them when they’re not around to help the new name or pronouns stick in your head. Finally, if you use the wrong name or pronoun, don’t make a big thing of it, just correct yourself and move on. It is normal to make an honest mistake, people will appreciate you correcting yourself and not drawing more attention to it than needed.






Celebrating LGBTQ+ students and staff for Pride 2022 – Part 4

Part four – Erin, Joanne and Meimei


UG, Mechanical Engineering (MEng)

How do you identify?

Non-Binary, Queer

What does Pride mean to you?

It’s about safety in numbers. Pride is still a protest and despite the visibility of LGBTQIA+ people in the UK, even here we need to keep pushing for more rights (especially regarding trans and non-binary identities).

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

Once – I went to Norwich Pride in 2019. The bus into town didn’t show up but a lovely person wearing rainbows and a “Free Mum Hugs” t-shirt was passing and offered to take me with her. We had a blast listening to music the whole way there and she really calmed my nerves about my first march.

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

Queer culture is very vibrant and fun! But talking to others in the community has also lead me to realise that people live and express themselves very differently and no way is the right way. And because of this, it’s taught me the importance of solidarity and intersectionality with each other and other marginalised communities.

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

I discovered that I’m non-binary during lockdown and coming out of it, I didn’t entirely know how my wider group of friends would react. But I know that Bristol attracts open-minded and accepting individuals and so I felt safe. I’m out to most people now, including my lecturers, and it’s really freeing to know that it’s safe to be myself at university.

Joanna Sansom and Meimei Leigh

Library supervisor in customer services and Physics student and library support assistant.

How do you identify?

Joanna: Interesting question! For about twenty years I identified as bisexual. However, I’m very in support of the breakdown of the binary in the LGBT and wider world. So these days I tend to put myself more generally under the ‘queer’ umbrella.  

Meimei: I am currently identifying as trans-pansexual. For most of my life, my sexuality has been very much a moving target. So, I identify as pansexual because my sexuality could be anywhere at any time. 

How did you meet? 

Meimei: We met online when we both lived in London. For the first six months of the relationship, I was presenting male. After I met Joanna, that’s when it became really clear that I was a woman.  

I had to come out to Joanna, which was scary, as we’d only been dating a few months. We’ve now celebrated 5 years together. We didn’t even have lockdown arguments.  

Joanna: I didn’t know Mei Mei that well when she realised she was a woman. But she was much more comfortable in her own skin after she came out, so it made a lot of sense to me. 

What has your experience of Bristol been?  

Meimei: I wasn’t presenting feminine full time before I moved to Bristol. The University Campus is the safest place I feel I’ve ever been.  

I always feel safe here whether I’m working in the library or going to lectures. It means a lot to me to be able to do that. I guess it’s everything to me that I get to be able to do that every day. 

Joanna: We are out as a couple here. The University is great. I describe Mei as my partner and then I say ‘she’. The library is really diverse so it’s been great.  

It’s really important to me to be your whole self at work.  

Has it always been this way? 

Meimei: It had to be quiet for some time, even when I was living in London. A long time when my family didn’t know. But as trans people go, I think I have been extremely lucky with the response of family and friends and in that I didn’t lose anyone along the way, which is the story for almost nobody who is trans, even in this country, in this decade. People are still losing friends and family over it. I was very lucky.  

Any tips you would give to make people feel comfortable at work?  

Joanna: Don’t be afraid to ask what people’s pronouns are or how they identify or how their partner identifies. And keep trying. If you make a mistake don’t worry – it happens. Just keep trying.   

Meimei: I can mainly comment of the school of Physics, but the University is a very safe place for you. It’s important that you have someone to talk to, so, I would recommend choosing someone you can trust and confiding in that one person. You should never be alone in this and you’re not.

What does Pride mean to you both? 

Meimei: Pride means making as much noise as we can for people who have to be silent. There are people all over the world who have to be silent, or it would cost them their lives. So it’s important for those of us who can, to make noise and be as loud as we can every time. 

Joanna: Pride for me is celebrating our community, our past, our present, our future – and progress within the community and a time to celebrate that is really important to everyone.  

Can you tell me about your very first Pride march? 

Joanna: I’ve only been in Bristol for a couple of years and my first Pride march was in London. I felt quite emotional; I had recently returned from travelling and was at the march on my own, but I felt very connected to the people around me. It felt wonderful to be a part of something and to see such an international community of people. 

Meimei: Perhaps surprisingly, I have never been to pride. I was far too deeply in the cupboard while I lived in London. Because of covid and lockdowns this is the first year in Bristol that I will be able to attend. 

Celebrating LGBTQ+ students and staff for Pride 2022 – Part 3

Part three – Ying, Zhang and Joshua

Ying (left) and her girlfriend, Zhang

Both UG, Biomedical Sciences (BSc)

How do you identify?

Ying: My pronoun is she/her and I self-identify as a lesbian.

Zhang: I identify myself as a bisexual woman.

What does Pride mean to you?

Ying: Pride for me is to be my true self and to love who I love bravely.

Zhang: To me pride is just being proud of me being myself.

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

Ying: I haven’t got a chance to go for a march before, but I will join one this month. I suppose it’ll be a fabulous chance to celebrate our identities 🙂

Zhang: Unfortunately, I haven’t, but I’m looking forward to joining the March in Bristol this year.

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

Ying: We might be different, but we can still understand others. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community, we cheer up people like us and stand out for us.

Zhang: It’s good to know that there are also other people like me. It means that there’ll always be someone either within or outside the community willing to respect and support others.

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

Ying: People can be different just like a rainbow has seven colours. Studying in such a diverse place gives me a sense of acceptance and inclusion.

Zhang: Since I first came to study in the Bristol Uni, I’ve never felt that I’m too unique or weird to fit in. I haven’t felt uncomfortable when I tried to tell others my self-identification. I guess studying in such a diverse place means leaving with much less pressure and more freedom.


Research Fellow, Bristol Medical School 

How do you identify?

Gay man

What does Pride mean to me?

Pride is extremely important to me. It’s validity, diversity, visibility. A useful reminder that you do belong somewhere, and you can just be your authentic self.  

I grew up in a place where being openly LGBT was, and still is, difficult. Bermuda is a small conservative island, ~60k people. A public vote was held there as recently as 2016 on whether to allow same-sex marriage – a totally inappropriate thing to vote on in the first place – and ~32% were supportive. 

Most shocking to me was that a poll at the time suggested that 22% think that gays and lesbians don’t even deserve human rights protection (another 5% ‘not sure’). Things are improving – a 2020 poll found 53% support for same-sex marriage, though this still lags far behind the UK where this is ~80%. Those not in favour of human rights protection are down to ~8%. And 2019 saw Bermuda’s first Pride.  

Marriage is just one issue, and probably not what impacts most on the health and daily lives of LGBT people, particularly those living outside major cities. Pride to me is a yearly reminder of these struggles and a chance to celebrate progress and be thankful for those who fought and still fight for our rights. Pride to me means validity, diversity, and visibility.       


I have a road sign which was used for Bermuda’s same-sex marriage vote in 2016. It reads ‘Referendum: Same-sex relationships, June 23, 2016’, a stark reminder that struggles for equality are active in many parts of the world. 

Can you tell me about your very first Pride march?

My first Pride was in London 10 years ago. I watched the parade from the side – at the time I couldn’t imagine marching myself. The scale and energy of it was a shock, in the best way. It felt liberating – there’s strength in numbers and visibility is so important.  

Had there been Pride where I grew up, I probably would’ve figured myself out sooner. I learned that I definitely wasn’t alone and didn’t need to hide – that we all deserve to take up space and live authentically. Seeing the contrast between that and where I started makes me appreciate that atmosphere more.  



Chief Operating Officer, Robert Kerse, speaks about his first Pride event

By Vikki McCann-Rogers, Communications Officer

This Friday (1 July) is 50 years since the very first Pride march in London. 2,000 people took part. Now, more than one million people take London’s city streets to celebrate, and Pride events take place all over the world. To mark the occasion, I spoke to our Chief Operating Officer, Robert Kerse, about his very first Pride.

What do you remember about your first Pride march?

It was a mixture of being really life-affirming, because there were lots of other people like me, but I was apprehensive as well. I just didn’t know what to expect. I went to the Brighton and the Manchester ones about a week apart and I finally felt a sense of belonging.

I’ve been to Pride in London about five years in a row, and Bristol Pride whenever I’ve been here. I’ll be at the Bristol Pride event this year with my husband and our dogs.



We’ve clearly made incredible progress through the years. How important is it that we still celebrate pride today?

I think it’s hugely important for two reasons. Firstly, it’s still not always easy for everyone come out. So, it’s important for those people to see others like them, from different walks of life, and different identities. Secondly, some parts of our community are hugely privileged in this country. That’s certainly not the case for all of our community or LGBTQ+ people in other parts of the world, including countries not far away from here.

Pride started as a real protest movement – do we still have a fight on our hands?

I think we do have a fight on our hands for parts of our community, yes. And I think if you are privileged enough to be able to be out and safe, then that gives us a huge obligation in terms of fighting on behalf of others. That’s what people did before us, to give us the position that we have now. So yes, I feel a big responsibility

Do you feel a responsibility to be a role model here at the University too?

I do, and it’s something I need to be continually conscious of. You never quite know who in the room might be trying to find some kind of affinity with you or is making their own decisions about themselves or somebody close to them.

So yes, it is incredibly important. There will be people in our community who are not yet out; who perhaps are not in the kind of circumstance where they feel they’d be accepted; who maybe fear loss or hardship if they did come out. What we can do through role modelling is really important – it can give people hope.

Do you think being gay has had any impact on your work or on your career?

Sometimes people don’t know how to take me when they first meet me, but I think I’ve become less conscious of that over the years.

I also think people sometimes make a special effort to acknowledge my sexuality for whatever reason.  I’m always quite touched by that.

However, personally – given I’m a middle class, Oxbridge educated white male – the fact that I don’t tick the heterosexual box can take some of those edges off. A sort of leveller in some ways. I think because I’ve had the challenges of coming out the world is not as black and white for me as it might have been had I not been gay. That kind of struggle and difference helps me to be more empathetic with other people than I might have otherwise been.

I remember realising as a gay woman in my 20s that you don’t just ‘come out’, you have to keep doing it. Every time you meet someone new, or start a new job. Do you think that’s still as relevant now?

I think it’s still hugely relevant, but I’d hope the world is different than when I came out 20 years ago; I think certainly as a gay man it is much easier now. For other parts of the Community, there’s still quite a long way to go, I think.

When I first came out though – which does seem like a long time ago – I was pretty blessed by both my family and friends. A lot of people were very surprised though.

If I’m honest, I would say I still get a bit nervous about it in some circumstances, because everybody wants to be accepted and not singled out or identified for their sexuality.

What else can we do to help people feel they can bring their whole selves to work?

I think it’s talking about difference, whatever that difference is. I’ve always found any kind of equality, diversity and inclusion training I’ve undertaken where people tell you face to face what life’s like and challenge your preconceptions the most valuable.

We’ve done this previously with our frontline colleagues and our trans students. Experiential training is really, really important. You can’t ever walk in somebody else’s shoes, but the closer we can get to giving people access to those experiences, the better.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at Pride on 9 July and marching together as a Bristol community.

Me too. For me personally, I feel it’s really important to be with colleagues and students at such an important event for our community; but also to remind myself of everything that’s happened before us. The people who have paved the way. And the fact that there is still much more to do.

Of course, it’s always a really good atmosphere as well. An incredible buzz of so many LGBTQ+ people and supporters altogether. Whether it’s your first, tenth or even your fiftieth Pride – come and join us; come and march with us; and join an incredibly important party.

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

Part Two Joshua and Abi


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


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!) 




Celebrating LGBTQ+ students and staff for Pride 2022 – Part 1

As part of this year’s Pride campaign, we recently invited LGBTQ+ students and staff for a photo shoot on the very sunny Cantocks steps (appropriately dressed in their rainbow gloriousness!)

In between sessions we also asked them about their feelings about Pride and why it’s still important today.

Part One – Charlotte and Suzanne


UG- Modern Languages (Three Language Programme) (BA)

How do you identify?

I am a Lesbian! and my pronouns are she/her : )

What does Pride mean to you?

To me pride is about supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community, advocating for gay and trans rights comes before having a silly fun time (although having a silly fun time is also super important). Pride is not about rainbow capitalism or corporations. Because that is cringe!

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

Yes! I’ve been to London Pride twice and Brighton pride one time. My first pride experience in 2018 was very fun, I went with my friend Foyle, a young poet and Oxford student, Emily and had a lot of fun! It was awesome to be around so many queer people because I didn’t know many at the time and I wasn’t fully out. The second time I got squashed in Leicester Square McDonald’s because there were too many people and it was less fun but still nice.

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

It means I am a fan of American rock band My Chemical Romance. Also, it means I have the best most awesome gayest little gay friends in the world at home and at uni; queer friendship is the most important thing in the world EVER. Gay rights, kiss your friends <3

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

Important! If I was surrounded by straight people forever I would be sad. but I am not, which is good.

Suzanne (on the left) with her partner, Abi

Governance and Executive Manager, Student Union

I was also Co-Chair of the Staff LGBT+ Network for 4 years and stepped down in March 2020

How do you identify?

I identify as Gay or Lesbian

What does Pride mean to me?

Pride is about the LGBTQ+ community from every different identity coming together to show that they exist and are part of society. It is a time to celebrate all the amazing identities and interests which help create a rich diverse society and it shows the straight cis community that we are just like them in so many ways but who we fall in love with, marry or sleep with may be different. It is both a chance to celebrate but also to protest to ensure we have equity in society

Can you tell me about your very first Pride march?

My first pride was in London just after I came out in March 2000 when I was 23 and I was with my girlfriend. It was fantastic. I had watched Prides before and loved them but never taken part in one. When I was marching in the parade it felt amazing as there were so many people just like me and I fitted in and felt I belonged. There were lots of rainbows and bright colours and people were fun and happy to be themselves and it was so lovely meeting people from all different identities.

Why is it important to have an inclusive workplace? 

It’s so important to create a diverse place to work. When you’re gay, you’re coming out every time you start a new job. But it should be something you say as part of everyday life.  

Organisations can do things to make this easier, by using the word partner for example, and remembering to use the correct pronouns.   



Why Netflix’s Heartstopper is the positive representation the LGBTQ+ community needs

By Josh Littleford – Student Champion

I’m sure many of you have watched, or at least heard about, Netflix’s newest hit Heartstopper. If you haven’t, it’s the story of two guys at an English secondary school who end up falling in love, and is adapted from the graphic novels of the same name by Alice Oseman. It consists of an amazing cast of LGBTQ+ characters going through issues that will be relatable for most LGBTQ+ people. It does this in a way which makes it incredibly heart-warming and doesn’t follow the usual tropes of many LGBTQ+ love films which tend to end in heartbreak.

Heartstopper is such an important show for representation and bringing certain issues and aspects of being LGBTQ+ into the mainstream. It spreads a message that LGBTQ+ people don’t have to settle for bad relationships but are able to find happiness. It gives positive bisexual and transgender representation, which is often lacking compared to gay and lesbian representation. The show also tackles the issue of being LGBTQ+ in sport – something that still faces lots of stigmas.

But Heartstopper isn’t the only heart-warming show out there that gives positive but relatable representation to LGBTQ+ characters and relationships – even if many articles I’ve read are suggesting it is the first to do so.

Love, Victor – a spin off from the 2018 film Love, Simon (which itself was adapted from the book Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli) – is airing its third and final season this month. It follows the story of Victor as he begins life at a new school, whilst also starting to question his sexuality. Whilst the first season focuses on the idea of sexuality and coming out, the second and third seasons explore the idea of life of a young LGBTQ+ person after coming out.

Another favourite of mine is Young Royals – a Swedish show on Netflix. Even if you’re not a fan of subtitles, it is so good that you won’t mind. The show follows the fictional Prince Wilhelm of Sweden whilst he attends boarding school and falls in love with one of his classmates. He is second in line to the throne and doesn’t want his family to go through any more scandals. It’s a show that you won’t want to stop watching, until you realise you’ve finished the first season and have to wait months for the second to be released.

In the world of animation, both She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and The Owl House are notable mentions for their vast array of LGBTQ+ representation and strong story telling. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which is the reboot of a He-Man spin-off, featured multiple bisexual, lesbian, and transgender characters – even if some of their identities weren’t really referenced within the actual show at all and those that were referenced weren’t until the last season. It focusses on Adora as she joins the Rebellion to fight the Horde, after gaining the power to transform into She-Ra – a 6ft warrior woman. If you want a show that is fun and silly and yet still provides strong characters and emotional moments, then it is definitely worth a watch. The Owl House follows Luz the human as she stumbles through a portal into the Demon Realm, where she trains with Eda the Owl Lady in the ways of magic. Luz herself is bisexual, and the show also features an array of LGBTQ+ characters – including Raine Whispers who provides notable non-binary representation. The show is made by Disney – a company who have been lacking in any form of LGBTQ+ representation in the past. These two shows allow children to grow up seeing LGBTQ+ representation on their screens, which is vital for young people to see that its okay to be LGBTQ+, whether they are LGBTQ+ or just allies.

In wider media, shows such as The Haunting of Bly Manor, Our Flag Means Death, and Sense8 give some amazing representation too. The Haunting of Bly Manor is a horror show on Netflix that tells the stories of the many people – both living and dead – who inhabit Bly Manor, when a new au pair arrives at the house. Whilst being haunted, an LGBTQ+ romance blooms. Our Flag Means Death is a recently released action/comedy about pirates from director Taika Waititi. Hilarious hijinks ensue when Stede Bonnet leaves the life of an American aristocrat to become a pirate captain and then meets the feared Captain Blackbeard. The show features a diverse range of LGBTQ+ characters  (with prevalent non-binary, gay and bisexual representation). Sense8 follows a group of 8 people from around the world who one day are suddenly able to communicate with each other through a psychic link that forms between them. It features a diverse set of LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ characters who are all well written with meaningful relationships and impact on the plot.  These sorts of shows normalise LGBTQ+ characters by not really focussing on the fact thatthey are LGBTQ+. The characters are LGBTQ+ but aren’t treated any differently for it, which makes them well-written characters who provide some very good representation.

Whilst Heartstopper is a great show for presenting positive LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, it is by no means the first to do so and let us hope it won’t be the last. There also exist many more examples of well-written LGBTQ+ characters in TV but, unfortunately, I cannot list them all. Happy Pride Month!

Summer solstice – 21 June, 2022

By Student Champion – Victoria Cornelio

As a self-identified nerd and history enthusiast, I have always found natural phenomena interesting due to how they relate to historical events. The summer solstice is related to a lot of celebrations and historical meaning to different cultures, which I personally find intriguing and worthy of knowing about.

What is the Summer Solstice?

The summer solstice is known as the longest day of the year, meaning it is the day with the most hours of sunlight – hopefully, this will mean a lovely sunny day for Bristol this year. This is also the official day of transition from spring to summer. The word is made up of sōl which means “sun,” and sistere which means “to stand still.” We get the most sunlight this day due to the positioning of the Earth in relation to the sun, as the Earth’s geographical pole inclines the most towards the Sun.

Ancient Civilisations: The solstice has been important to many ancient civilisations around the world.

Northern Europe 

In Northern Europe, the summer solstice is known as the midsummer, or by Wiccans and other Neopagan groups as Litha, after the Sun God. Civilisations of northern Europe welcomed the solstice with bonfires, believing this would boost the Sun’s energy and guarantee a good harvest. Bonfires were also believed to be magical, to help banish demons and evil spirits. Some Christian churches commemorated this day as St John’s Day, celebrating the birth of John the Baptist.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Ancient Greeks used the summer solstice as the start of the New Year and the start of the countdown to the opening of the Olympic games. They also held a festival to celebrate Cronus, the God of Agriculture, where social codes changed, and slaves could participate as equals in society alongside their masters. Ancient Romans held a religious festival in honour of Vesta, goddess of the hearth, where married women could enter the temple and leave offerings in exchange for blessings for their families.

Other Ancient Civilisations

It is believed Neolithic humans may have used this day to figure out when to plant and harvest crops, and Ancient Egyptians associated it with the rise of the Nile River. Also, from the view of the Sphinx, the sun sets right between the Great Pyramids and Egypt’s Gia Plateau, which was seen as a divine sign from the God of Sun, Ra. In Ancient China, the solstice celebrated the Yin, the feminine force associated with the Earth. Native Americans performed rituals, some of which are still around today, such as the ceremonial sun dance around a tree.

Celebrations in the UK

The summer solstice is celebrated by many pagans across the world, including in Britain. Paganism used to be a term associated with all who practised a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam during the end of the Roman Empire.  Now, it is used to refer to those who seek to incorporate beliefs or practices from outside main religions. Gatherings at Stonehenge on this day have been a tradition for many Britons for the last 4,000 years. Stonehenge used to be an important religious site, and on the summer solstice, the Central Altar at Stonehenge is parallel the Heel Stone (the entrance to the stone circle), and the Slaughter Stone (named after the red water that stains the stone) which align with the rising Sun in the Northeast. In the present, thousands of people, including new-age druids and pagans gather to celebrate in this historic place, where formal spiritual ceremonies take place while tourists and non-spiritual visitors can enjoy food trucks, boombox music and dancing. This celebration starts at sunrise, as the first rays of dawn illuminate the centre of the circle.

There are also celebrations in Avebury, where musicians and dances put on a show around sunset and partying continues until dawn.  There is a complex of Neolithic sites (the West Kennet Long Barrow, and the mysterious, manmade Sillbury Hill) that make the watching of the sunrise more spiritually charged. In Wales, Bryn Cellin Ddu in the island of Anglesey, features peaceful celebration and meditating on the spiritual significance of the changing of the seasons. In Scotland, the islands of Shetland host a colourful Midsummer Carnival where the sun barely sets at all throughout the day.

If you decide to experience any summer solstice celebrations, please remember to always be respectful of the spiritual meaning this event has to those who treasure it.