To round off LGBT History Month, one of our amazing volunteers, Connel Greenhorn, has written about his experience of starting uni as an LGBT student!
In the latter stages of 2017, what felt like a ‘phase’ or a period in my life where my sexuality was all over the place, I decided to accept my feelings and emotions, coming to the realisation that I was gay. That really is it – short, and sweet. My family were accepting, I had friends that were supportive and as most ‘coming out’ stories, there were some challenges and negative reactions from people. I had received some online, verbal abuse but looking at the bigger picture, I knew that no matter the outcome, my happiness and mental wellbeing were to always come first.
In thinking about the transition from school to university, it did concern me how people may react. Going into a new environment for me is always challenging – having Asperger’s makes this more daunting. To my surprise, the love and support found among friends – those with religions, different backgrounds were accepting and showed me respect. I didn’t have to ‘come out’ to them – they accepted me for me. I didn’t have to explicitly state that I was gay – rather it came naturally out of conversation in my feelings towards men. The big difference between school and university is having a new platform, a new slate to become the person you want to be. You shouldn’t have to feel like having a different sexuality is a burden; it is a benefit as you bring diversity and inclusivity to the people and opportunities you meet and participate in.
If you are reading this, and you personally are struggling to ‘come out’ to your university friends or family, you are not alone. You should be proud of who you are, and the quicker you come to terms with that, the happier a life you will have. At university, you don’t need to have a façade – be who you are. Be surrounded by those who want to see you succeed, not fail.
Wanna meet other LGBT students around Heriot-Watt and beyond?
Check out our other article here!