Out and about (LGBT+)
Disha, Sport and Exercise Psychology MSc
A recent conversation with a friend, Kavi, made me realise about the status quo of ‘coming out’. This somehow seemed a very relevant topic to me, and will also remain close to my heart. I hope I can share our perspectives through the following excerpts inspired from our conversation…
Disha: Hey, how was Proud (An event during the pride history month organised by the LGBT+ association) last night?
Kavi: It was alright. Felt good to be around them… I don’t know what to feel about it.
D: What do you mean?
K: You know, my sexuality or LGBT+ identity is a big part of who I am, but I didn’t want it to be a big deal in my social life. At one point it is so important for me to come out, and then I wonder if it would be cool if it wasn’t. Does that make sense?
D: I kind of get what you are saying. Was coming out a big deal for you?
K: It is, to an extent. I grew up keeping it a secret of sort and it ended up becoming a big deal. Like a ticking bomb. I questioned myself – ‘why just me?’ It felt like the entire weight of the world was on my sexuality.
Even now, I wonder how to tell people about my identity – ‘how would they react?’ Now how would you feel if you felt like that?
D: That is a big deal. And, doesn’t sound very fair even. But, to be honest, you seemed to be at ease with everything.
K: Did I? Well, Loughborough really helps me with that. Do you know the song ‘Happy Together’?
K: Exactly! It’s one of my favourite songs. Until I came to Loughborough, i haven’t met a single soul who knew that song, or knew why I knew the song. And then one day while I was sitting with my friends from the lgbt+ association, someone played that song. We all started humming and grooving to it, and we were happy, together. I finally got that opportunity to be who I am and normalise what I –at some point – thought was wrong.
Also, listening to everyone’s inspiring stories gave me so much to look forward to. It was like I came out without really coming out here… Can’t it always be like this? This made me think about coming out… is it really as big a deal as I believe it is, or should it be normalised –
D: I agree it is unfair to pressurise people to come out. At one point when we say it’s natural and our choice to like someone… anyone, and then we expect those who aren’t perceived as ‘normal’ to come out… aren’t we just countering what we advocate for?
K: Maybe someday there will be answers to this – coming out will not be a big deal, may be everyone will have to come out. Who knows. Until then it might be better if we just get back to our assignments… for now.
D: Okay I will meet you at the library then. But, Kavi there’s something I need to tell you
D: Please listen to me carefully, please.
K: Is everything okay?
D: Um, I guess. The thing is… I am like you and I’m also not ‘normal’… I’m heterosexual.
While this conversation made us laugh and cringe at the same time, but it gave me an insight into what it takes for someone like Kavi to be comfortable with himself (to which he will surely say, “shouldn’t it be like this for all?”).
In a time with growing understanding and acceptance of LGBT, we tend to overlook certain nuances of their lives. It is inspiring to learn how Loughborough University and the LGBT+ association takes initiatives to also address such issues, for instance, from conversations on Gender in Sport, through month-long campaigns, to monthly LGBT+ bar and dance night-outs (aka OUT hosted in the Students Union).
So, if you identify as bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual or transsexual, you are as normal as the person sitting next to you in lectures, playing a sport with you, or working with you.
And, that is how you should feel… that is how inclusive Loughborough University will make you feel. We are the #LboroFamily.
Loughborough University is a fully inclusive learning environment. Each year we welcome thousands of new students from a range of different backgrounds and experiences to our campus and we strongly believe that having a diverse student body leads to an enriched learning environment for all. For more information please visit: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/inclusive-community/