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.