Being LGBTQ+ in Cambridge – all you need to know

Your questions about life as an LGBTQ+ student answered.

Freshers’ Week is a pretty mad experience for anyone, but trying to make sense of university life as an LGBTQ+ student can be even more complicated. There’s so much I wish I’d known in advance, from wondering if there’d be many other queer people around me to the all-important question of LGBTQ+ nightlife. But this year we’ve got you covered. So hold onto your wig as we embark on a whistle-stop tour of all things queer in Cambridge.

First, a bit of context: I come from a town where the sight of two men holding hands is as unexpected as Cher recording an album of ABBA covers (PSA: it's great, go buy it people), so I was completely unprepared for what was about to hit me when I moved here. Queer life in Cambridge is so diverse and colourful, and I’ve made friends with people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum who make my time here all the more gaymazing.

Cambridge has a huge LGBTQ+ scene, and there’s something for everyone to get involved in. Of course, LGBT History Month is a great time for advancing the gay agenda, with themed bops and formals and pride flags taking over town. But you can get stuck in throughout the year, with LGBTQ+ swaps between colleges, monthly ‘Open Table’ church services, at least one queer choir, a ‘Geeks and Gamers’ group and even a RuPaul’s Drag Race Society.

And if you love going out partying, you won't be disappointed. The most popular LGBTQ+ night is Glitterbomb (Tuesdays at Vinyl), but there’s other big nights like the monthly Dot Cotton Club and a ton of other queer-friendly events. Glitterbomb regularly hosts big Drag Race names like Milk and Miz Cracker, plus student drag artists who serve sickening looks every time they take the stage.

As it’s Cambridge, there’s student politics to dabble in as well. CUSU LGBT+ is a student-run liberation campaign which organises socials throughout the year and campaigns on key issues like gender-neutral toilets, dress codes and admin. Each college JCR also has an LGTBQ+ Rep, so get in touch with them if there’s anything you need!

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Alaska slaying as per usual at Glitterbomb

But let’s get real for a second. Discrimination still exists. The fight for equality is far from over, especially when it comes to representing intersex, non-binary and transgender voices. Equally, though, these problems aren’t just exclusive to Cambridge, and things are looking up. We’re all in this together, and in the (hopefully rare) case that you face discrimination, your friends, your tutors and your JCR/CUSU reps will be there for you.

That’s why the biggest thing to remember isn’t a club night or a campaign: it’s just to be yourself. It can take two days or two years to feel comfortable here – and no-one really does all the time – but you’ll find so much freedom and support to express yourself no matter your sexual, romantic or gender identity.

After all: “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”