Coming out is a different experience for everyone who goes through it; for some, it’s smooth sailing, while for others, it can be a more difficult journey. University may even be the first time that some people have the opportunity to come out. So how do you come out at university? Is there a right way to do it? Here are some tips, from people who have been through it before.
Take your time
There is absolutely no rush to come out! Take a breath, assess your situation, and if you feel comfortable coming out to the new flatmates, or the new housemates, then go for it. If opening up to a big group is daunting, start by maybe confiding in an individual you feel comfortable talking to and slowly open up to the rest of the new people you live with. Your safety and wellbeing is the most important thing, so really take that into consideration when making the decision to come out.
Don’t label yourself, just for the sake of it
Although you might feel like the time is right to come out, you may find that you don’t actually fit any particular label. Guess what? That’s okay. Listen to your gut, and do what feels right. Don’t feel forced into identifying as something- If a label feels right, and helps you, then great. And if doesn’t, then don’t worry!
No matter what, you are safe
Every university, including Swansea, has a duty of care to students. All students are protected, and have equal rights and access to opportunities, regardless of their sexuality, or identity. Legally, you are protected from discrimination. Swansea Students Union also has LGBT+ Officers, who work towards ensuring the voices of the student LGBT+ community are heard, and that any issues are dealt with, especially where the rights and welfare of students are concerned.
Find your people
A good place to start is finding the kind of people you feel most comfortable with. Swansea University has a wide range of societies that cater to the vast range of interests of all of its students. Alternatively, you can join the LGBT+ Society, where you can meet other students who are all part of the community (Allies are also welcome).
Think about the positives
It can be a nerve-racking experience and anxieties and fears about coming out can take over. However, what makes university such an enjoyable experience is the fact that it’s a chance to discover who you are. It’s a place where people from all walks of life are welcome, and that is what makes it a great chance to be yourself. Turn those butterflies into excitement!
Ask for help if you need it
Sometimes we all need a little bit of support to get us through, whether it’s a friendly ear to listen or someone to provide advice. Swansea University has a student wellbeing centre, where students can seek support if needed. There are also welfare officers on campuses who work around the clock and are available for students to talk to. Personal tutors can provide further support, especially in terms of academics, but equally, can show you any other services you may need. You are not alone!
By Zoya Chishti