With the rainbow flag flying at Trinity’s Boathouse and beside Great Gate, student union representatives Tayla Hardy and Paolo Campodonico reflect on the academic year so far for the College’s LGBTQ+ community.
Tayla, LGBTQ+ Officer of Trinity College Students’ Union:
‘It’s really wonderful to see the flag flying once again this year. After such a tough year, with the regulations meaning that the community has been limited in its ability to physically come together, Trinity’s support for its LGBTQ+ students is as important as ever.
Despite COVID, there have been recent events reflecting more normal goings on – the LGBTea event in Michaelmas 2021 was a resounding success, with people throughout College coming together and being able to celebrate the diversity and strength of the community as a whole.
This Michaelmas also saw the beginning of the LGBTQ+ Family Scheme, mirroring the wider College family structure, which put first year students in contact with students from other years before they moved in.
Moving to university is a stressful time for any incoming Fresher, but for those in the LGBTQ+ community, additional questions come to mind: “How accepting will people be?” “What support is available for me?” “Are there any queer nights out?”
The scheme helped allay first years’ worries and hopefully will continue to build the strength and kinship of the community within Trinity.
I would also like to celebrate the success of the Gender Expression Fund (GEF) set up by Ishbel, last year’s LGBTQ+ officer. This scheme allows individuals to access financial support for purchasing items to help alleviate gender dysphoria and feel more comfortable in their gender expression.
It is important to recognise the intersectionality of marginalised groups – this scheme supports those who might lack the resources to buy things they need so they feel comfortable in their identity regardless of financial circumstances. As one student said: “The GEF allowed me access to items that have significantly helped in combatting my gender dysphoria; items I almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to get without its help.” ‘
Paolo, the BA Society’s Entertainments Officer:
‘I’m extremely happy that LGBT+ History Month has arrived.
I was delighted to take part in raising the flag this year as a postgraduate representative and now every day when I cycle past Trinity, the sight of the flag will remind me of the support that I have received since I was warmly welcomed to the College.
To me, the flag represents Trinity’s commitment to welcome and support all the students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. I have seen firsthand the progress made by the College in these past few years in this endeavour and look forward to seeing that progress continue.
For now, I hope all LGBTQ+ students have a safe and joyful History Month!’
Photos: Graham CopeKoga