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Embracing diversity: LGBTQ+ students

By ReslifeTeam 29 Feb 2024

18% of LGBTQ+ people first come out at university! 

Whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, we have lots of information to help you explore LGBTQ+ culture and get targeted support during your time in Leicester.

LGBTQ+ support

Our Residence Life Team is here to provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionately affected by personal and mental health problems. Being LGBTQ+ doesn’t cause these problems, but some of the things LGBTQ+ people go through can, such as discrimination, social isolation, and difficult experiences coming out.

Embracing being LGBTQ+ can have a really positive impact on your mental health too! It may mean you have more confidence, a sense of belonging to a community, feelings of relief and self-acceptance, and stronger relationships with friends and family.

Pride in Leicester

Pride is the celebration of unity and visibility of LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride in a number of ways, often with parades and large events in major cities. Pride is also used as an opportunity to raise awareness of current issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.

Most Pride events take place in summer every year, Pride in Leicester is usually in early September with a march through the city centre, ending in a celebration in Abbey Park. Leicester Pride is one of the largest free Pride events in the UK! 

Coming out

“Coming out” is the common term for someone who acknowledges being LGBTQ+. However, this language implies that people who identify as LGBTQ+ are hiding something from society. When publicly identifying as LGBTQ+, you are actually “inviting people in” to a part of your life that should be celebrated.

By coming out, you are not asking for permission to be yourself, you control the narrative!

Here are some top tips:

  • Don’t feel pressured

    You shouldn’t feel under any pressure to decide if you are LGBTQ+, or to attach a label to your identity if it makes you feel uncomfortable. The important thing is to allow yourself time and space to explore how you feel.

    Similarly, you shouldn’t ever put pressure on others to come out, or come out on someone’s behalf (known as “outing” someone).

    If you’re feeling pressured into coming out, our Residence Life team are here to support you.

  • Confide in a close friend

    Your friends might be surprised, have lots of questions, or not know what to say! Choose a friend you trust and who you think will be supportive.

  • Telling family

    It’s a good idea to take time to think about what you want to say. Some people tell their parents face to face while others prefer to write a letter or send a message. Whichever way you choose, you’ll probably be a bit nervous. Your parents might be shocked or find

    it difficult to accept at first. Remember, their first reaction isn’t necessarily how they’ll feel forever. They might just need a bit of time to process what you’ve told them.

  • What will life be like?

    Most LGBTQ+ people feel happier after coming out. It means they can focus on the things they enjoy without having to hide who they are.

Take your time. Think about what’s best for you. Ask for support – there’s lots out there, including from your Residence Life team. Good luck! 

a group of people standing in front of a crowd


A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (I or you) or someone that is being talked about (he/she/they etc).

She/her and he/him are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these “female” and “male” pronouns, but many avoid these labels because not everyone who uses “he” may feel like a “male” for example.

There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:

  • They/them - (Alex ate their food because they were hungry) This is a common gender-neutral pronoun.

  • Ze/hir - (Alex ate hir food because ze was hungry) Ze is pronounced like “zee” and can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they. Hir is pronounced like “here” and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.

  • Just my name please! - (Alex ate Alex’s food because Alex was hungry) Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, just using their name instead.

Some people may use a mix of pronouns rather than a fixed set, using different pronouns depending on the context or being comfortable with multiple pronouns (e.g. they/she).

Respecting pronouns

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel invalidated. Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is the most basic way to show your respect for their gender identity.

What if I make a mistake?

That’s okay! Everyone slips up from time to time.

  • Try to say something right away, like “Sorry I used the wrong pronoun, I meant (insert pronoun)”. If you realise your mistake after the fact you should still apologise.

  • It can be tempting to go on about how bad you feel or how hard it is to get it right. This is inappropriate and makes the person who was misgendered feel awkward.

Challenging incorrect use of pronouns

You may hear someone else using the wrong pronoun for someone.

In most cases, it is appropriate to gently correct them without further embarrassing the individual who has been misgendered. This means saying something like “Alex uses the pronouns they/them” and then moving on.

If someone is consistently using the wrong pronouns for someone, don’t just ignore it!

It may be appropriate to approach the individual who has been misgendered and say something like “I noticed that you were getting referred to with the wrong pronoun earlier, and I know that can be really hurtful. Would you be okay with me taking them aside and reminding them about your pronouns?”.

Allow your actions to be guided by that person’s wishes.

LGBTQ+ spaces in Leicester

  • Helsinki - Helsinki is a thriving LGBTQ+ friendly nightclub in Leicester - 94 Rutland St, Leicester

  • The Dover Castle - The Dover Castle claims to be one of UK’s oldest LGBTQ+ venues. They run different events every week including drag shows, cabaret nights, karaoke, games and open mic nights - 34 Dover St, Leicester

  • Rainbow and Dove - Rainbow and Dove is a gem when it comes to LGBTQ+ clubs. Hidden away behind Granby Street, this venue is a stylish cafe and bar with a great atmosphere for club nights - 185 Charles St, Leicester

  • Duffy's Bar - Irish-owned bar where everyone is welcome! A UOL LGBT+ Society sponsor - 8 Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester

  • Firebug - Cool, spacious, real ale and cocktail hangout with small stage upstairs for bands and comedy gigs. A UOL LGBT+ Society sponsor - 1 Millstone Ln, Leicester

  • Leicester Wildecats FC - LGBTQ+ Football Team based in Leicester, everyone welcome. 4 free sessions for students!

  • Leicester LGBT Centre - Support groups, social activities, training and counselling services for LGBTQ+ people in Leicester - 9 Newarke Street, Leicester 

a couple of people that are standing in front of a building at night

LGBTQ+ support organisations

University of Leicester LGBT+ Society

The Students’ Union LGBT+ Society
aims to represent University of Leicester students who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as anyone who wishes to learn about or support the community!


Leicester LGBT Centre

A voluntary organisation established
to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Leicestershire, offering groups and activities, training and counselling.

9 Newarke Street, Leicester, LE1 5SN


Trade Sexual Health

A sexual health charity working with the LGBT+ community of Leicester.

27 Bowling Green St, Leicester LE1 6AS

t: 0116 254 1747



Stonewall are a charity that can help with any issues affecting LGBTQ+ people or their families. They’ll do what they can to help, or point you in the right direction.



Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline. They’re here to help you with whatever you want to talk about.

t: 0300 330 0630 (10am-10pm daily)



Real life coming out stories and advice on coming out.



If you’ve experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse, Galop is there for you. They also support LGBTQ+ people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.


Find out more...

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more information on our wellbeing hub about LGBTQ+ support, dealing with discrimination, sexual health and LGBTQ+ media in popular culture!

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