Being Gay in Lancaster: A study by a gay, for the gays
and also the allies
Lancaster University was once commonly known as the “Queer University” in the 1970’s. The Priory found fame by accepting transgender followers and reintroducing them with their identities and West Road features a house that was a hub for campaigning LGBTQ+ rights. It’s safe to say that Lancaster has a rich history with the LGBTQ+ community. This information naturally came at a reassurance that my chosen University was going to be a welcoming home, but has this history held up today?
I want to highlight how this is an opinion piece. As a white, cis, gay man, my experience is not the definitive nor the absolute experience of being a member of the community in Lancaster, but it is an experience.
Being gay in Lancaster is what you make it
As with most places, being gay is what you make it. There is the LGBTQ+ society, Lancaster Pride, and many more events you can take part in. Personally, I spend my days living my life, avoiding all my responsibilities, and relaxing with friends. Do I watch Drag Race and Queer Eye? Of course! Have I watched eight seasons of a TV show for one gay kiss? YES,I’ve felt that pain.
My life isn’t too far from the one I had before. If anything, I’m actually less involved since leaving home which is appalling on my behalf. My goals for the coming year include supporting the local drag scene, becoming involved in more local activism, and supporting more queer owned business. Who knows, I might make a thread or something to make these goals easier for coming supporters. Is my daily life just laughs 100 per cent of the time and sometimes uni work, but with a hint of extreme activism and very diverse TV? Yes, yes, it is.
Generation is without a doubt the best place to be before Sugar
Let’s talk nightlife. Generations. The best place to be on a Wednesday night before Sugar. One pound drinks? Two pound doubles? Yes please! Trust me when I say I will not be making my nine AM on Thursday morning and I don’t regret it. The disco dance floor, the cage, the drag hosts who make the evening, you cannot ask for a more vibrant night out if you try.
This is also the famous venue my friends and I met Kim Woodburn, a beautiful moment in my life. Generations is the specific Gay bar, but Sugar, Daltons, and Glow are equally good nights out.
Societies honestly do not care about your sexuality
The aforementioned LGBTQ+ society is naturally a good place to start if you want to integrate yourself into Lancaster uni’s LGBTQ+ community. They hold weekly meetings and outings to places like gay village in Manchester. Personally, I don’t attend frequently, but I’ve heard good things from several people who do go!
But aside from this one, how are other societies? Well, as far as I am aware (I’m also no BNOC so don’t take my word as law) there are wide arms to inclusion from all societies. I have experienced nothing but love and support from LUBC and cannot thank them enough for the welcoming and amazing time in first year, and to many more years to come.
Societies become your second family and some of the best friends you’re ever going to meet. They all welcome everyone with open arms, so definitely go and get involved.
Don’t get me wrong, homophobia very much exists
So far, I’m making Lancaster sound like the most accepting place on Earth, and although it can be, there are also still real problems. Homophobia is one of these problems.
After a night in Sugar, my friends and I were waiting for the sugar bus when a group of men throw several homophobic comments directly my way. At this point, I have tough skin and don’t care for bigoted comments and was just going to brush it off and go home, usually in a sober state I’ll bite, but both parties being drunk and one being very aggressive, I didn’t fancy a fight. However, my friends weren’t as forgiving as me. Instantly they came to my defence, checking I’m OK and shooting down whatever they had to say. It wasn’t necessary for me, but it was beyond appreciated. I didn’t have to ask them to say anything. I personally didn’t care enough to say anything, but an injustice was happening, and they wouldn’t allow it.
The love and support I felt from the people I’ve surrounded myself with is outstanding and overwhelming. Good friends outweigh any hate from random strangers, and my advice to everyone is to surround yourself with people who respect, love, and protect you.
Overall, my experience at Uni as a Gay man has been pretty damn good. I spend all my time with people who I love and care for, people who I want to spend my time with, and people who most importantly love me for being me. Yeah it can be tough, and sometimes you might not feel like you’re doing enough, but there’s always room to grow and develop and always time to get more involved.