Society profile: LGBT+ Society
The LGBT+ Society was established to provide a community of representation and support for all LGBT+ students and friends at Queen Mary. The society increases visibility of LGBT+ students and raises awareness of the issues faced by the community. We met with society President Jemima Hindmarch to find out more about the support on offer and the various ways you can get involved with their activities and events.
Please give us an introduction to the LGBT+ Society and why it was established
We seek to provide an inclusive community for young LGBT+ students at Queen Mary. Before joining, some may not know many people within the community, or even know that they are LGBT+, so we try to provide a safe, social space and arrange fun activities for people to make friends and gain confidence. We are also politically engaged but largely our aims are focused around the students and their wellbeing.
What kind of events do you normally hold in a regular month?
We hold two LGBTea events (as in LGBT tea and coffee), which is just a free tea and coffee meet-up. There’s free food, hot drinks, and it’s usually held in one of the Students’ Union (SU) rooms like the Blomeley Rooms. The events are pretty popular; usually people just come, have a chat and make friends. It provides the space for people to meet up regularly, to build friendships and build a network. Less regularly we organise club nights; we’ve had a couple at Drapers on campus and we are hoping to host another before the end of this semester. We sometimes organise pub crawls and museum trips too. Occasionally we’re involved with cross-society social events, such as film screenings and games nights, and we also hold political or activism-related events such as debates, events for religious LGBT+ students in conjunction with religious societies, and we take part in London Pride. Throughout the year we provide financial aid and bursaries for people who would like to engage with the wider queer culture in London, such as art exhibitions and theatre trips.
What support do you offer to those who might need it?
There’s a third-party channel that exists at Queen Mary named Stop Hate UK for people to report hate crimes that they have experienced or witnessed. We would always refer people to this in the first instance. We do a lot of work with charities such as Positive East, which is a HIV and sexual health charity, raising money for them through our activities. We have a number of contacts outside of the society, so if somebody were to come to us with issues related to health and wellbeing, we are able to direct them to the people who can help.
What would you say is the biggest impact you have on students at Queen Mary?
We have quite a large committee who work very closely with the SU. We have two SU Reps that sit on our committee, the LGBT+ Rep, Bethany Pickering, and the Transgender Rep, Linnea Synchyshyn. I think the largest impact is that we’ve provided a channel for LGBT+ support and discussion. We are one of the largest societies on campus, so we have the social and financial capital to realise the goals of our LGBT+ students. We always welcome suggestions and have on several occasions taken ideas, such as a transgender subsidy support fund, and realised these.
Do you ever collaborate with the QM Out LGBT Staff Network, or is this something that you would be willing to do in the future?
We definitely would like to collaborate more with them in the future. Bethany worked with them on our Pride Week events which took place in February as part of LGBT History Month in the UK. As the staff network grows, it will be exciting to see how we can work more closely and increase visibility and support channels for both staff and students at Queen Mary.
How can people get in touch with the society if they would like to be involved or find out more?
You can reach out to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can check out our Facebook page for regular updates on the society and events that are taking place. Alternatively, just come along to one of our friendly socials to meet us and join in the fun!