Bi life at Uni
Finding my feet away from home
Hi, I’m Holly and I’m a bisexual student living in Huddersfield. Originally from a small town close by, I made the amazing decision of moving out of home and into halls to pursue my studies in Social Work at the University of Huddersfield – little did I know, this would make the biggest difference in my confidence! If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a single thing I did, the experiences I have had so far have been some of the best moments of my life.
As I hadn’t come out as bisexual to any of my family prior to moving to university, being my true self was a little tricky at first- I knew I was still close to home and I had just made a bunch of new (and fabulous) friends, and so I was a little stuck on how to ‘break the news’ to anyone. This felt very daunting, and as it turns out in order to combat this and let the world know who I am all I had to do was grab myself a rainbow lanyard from the university shop for my student ID card- this soon became a massive talking point! I never knew something as small as wearing a lanyard everyday would make the difference I needed to show anyone and everyone that I’m proud of who I am.
By wearing my lanyard, as small as it may seem, I was asked a few times on occasion why I went for the rainbow option, and all I had to say to my friends and peers was that I was part of the LGBTQ+ community. Every time I told everyone this their faces would light up- they all either said they were proud of me or that they were a part of the community too! I felt such a huge sense of belonging and self-worth, which gave me the urge to tell my parents and family- who also accepted me for who I am. I felt at peace.
Soon after all of this, I decided to see what else I could do at university to make myself and others feel empowered and I found the LGBTQ society, which offers a massive support to LGBTQ+ students, even if you’re an international student!
Another way I have seen international students welcomed to Huddersfield (whether LGBTQ+ or not) is the support DIGS offer- the accommodation I live at for university. DIGS Student Accommodation take the time to plan many events for students whether it be a walk to Castle Hill, an arts and crafts session or even a trip to Alton Towers- they value each student for who they are, no matter where you are from or who you identify as. They also support LGBTQ+ students massively and hold pride celebrations in the summer months. DIGS is my new home.
As for nightlife, Huddersfield is very lively and popular, not only amongst students but also amongst people from towns close by. Some of my personal favourite places to go are Revolution, Maverick’s and Camel Club- these places hold many special memories for me, as well as some coming out memories with my closest friends! RAIN is Huddersfield’s first LGBT+ bar, you can spend many of nights in there watching drag acts with all the student drink deals. It is such a welcoming venue for all, one great thing about the social scene in Huddersfield is that you can be who you want to be and there’s little to no judgement. Express yourself!
Finally, my advice to all other students is to be your true self and take those small risks! You never know what they can lead to, and there will always be someone in your corner. You can make friends because of you, not just because of who you’re attracted to or who you identify as. You are you and be proud of that!
By Holly Jayne Gowen
Studying BSc Social Studies and living at DIGS Storthes Hall Park.