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Celebrating Queer Inclusion at UEA

This LGBTQ+ History Month has highlighted how effectively UEA works to create a positive, actively inclusive environment for queer people. Similarly, International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate all women and non-binary folks who face a struggle against the patriarchy. One example of such is the work of our Welfare, Community and Inclusion Officer this year, Aaron Campbell, who introduced the club night Spectrum- including a quiet hour especially useful for neurodivergent students to have a safe space to meet. As seen in the flurry of posts on the “Concrete Confessions” Facebook page, including “shout out to the david bowies i saw at spectrum, yall were killing it!!”. This has created a positive and encouraging environment where the community can come together and celebrate. There are still vast improvements to be made, especially in teaching environments where, for example, it often feels awkward to correct peers and teaching staff on pronoun usage. The joy I felt at the pronoun box on a simple form one of my lecturers sent to my seminar group at the start of the semester should not be rare and is just one way staff can help remove some barriers to quality education queer people face. As someone who experiences swings in gender presentation and dysphoria, the gender-neutral bathrooms in Union House are especially useful. Having a space that isn’t merely a disabled bathroom with an A4 sign blu-tacked on, and is free for everyone to use, destigmitises a lot of anxieties trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folks face on a day-to-day basis. It was a delight to see them as a new fresher, having moved 170 miles away from home, as they symbolise a true effort to celebrate- not just tolerate- queer expression.

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Libby Hargreaves

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August 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on L.Hargreaves@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.