Day 17 – Your first experience with an LGBT organization or event (Day of Silence, Pride, etc)

I think it’s gotta be UniQ the Lancaster university Queer Society. In a lot of ways it was a complete nightmare, but then university societies are all kind of awful as well as awesome. Christ if you want to read an entry from this blog whilst I was fully wrapped up in the bizarre politics of student societies go for it. It even mentions UniQ albeit by way of a bad example.

UniQ at the time I joined it did not know what it was, it was straddling a time when being openly queer would be bad for your career (across the board, maybe you could get away with it in some sectors of The Arts but best not to risk being out at the start of your career just in case) and just before rainbow-washing became something companies did to get kudos. It was cliquey but tried not to be, I was one of two female members and honestly it was quite a lot of fun hanging out with a bunch of gay guys who just wanted to have fun. We tried pub quizzes, lectures from invited queer celebrities and academics and if it hadn’t been for a student politician trying (and succeeding) to close the society down for his own benefit I think it would have bimbled along for another couple of years.

Instead the Student Union decided to provide for the queers as by 2002/2003 we could be more open about being Queer, there was less need for a society slightly in the down low. Mainstream capitalist rainbows were sighted along Canal Street and leapt upon. In hindsight UniQ was a good grounding in Family becoming just another part of the world and what happens in social groups when you can’t define exactly what you’re there for. It was also very good grounding in how to do Eurovision.

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