The hub of the gay student life is coming from the continuous work from the LGBT society. President of the LGBT society, Emma Kearl, has done a lot with the group and her opinion on the gay scene in Huddersfield is one of disappointment. Recently the biggest gay bar in Huddersfield, Chads (pictured), closed down for good. This leaves only The New Union that caters for gay club nights.
Now more than ever the gay population of Huddersfield and its students need to start working to improve their ‘scene’. Emma feels that the LGBT society is there to support this and it’s really easy for people to join in. “We use a lot of social networking to get people involved in the society.” The events organised by the society really are its best features. Nights out are a must for getting to know each other, but far more is done than downing sambucas on a Saturday night.
The LGBT society were involved in convincing Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman to reverse his views on the recent gay marriage bill. He ended up changing his mind and voted in favour of gay marriage in parliament. The society itself has increased in size since last year but is still not as big as it should rightly be. Big on the agenda right now is the introduction of gender neutral toilets to the university. Emma says of the campaign, “A lot of universities are introducing them and we’re starting to put pressure on our own university.” This is something more people need to know about and support.
There are opportunities galore in the group; Emma confesses that they could do with more people to help out. “We have someone for next year who will be managing our social media for example and those are skills that you can add to your CV.” All of us need to boost our appearance to future employers and joining societies helps that greatly. On the flip side of that though it’s not just the serious stuff the group focuses on.
Huddersfield is only half an hour away from Manchester and Leeds. With the closure of the gay venues the society will most definitely be hosting some of their events in these towns. The bridges are being built and should please the students disappointed by the recent demise of Huddersfield’s gay scene. Specific ties have been formed with a group of Yorkshire Universities and their LGBT groups. The University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, both the Sheffield Unis and the University of York. These connections will support the gay students of Huddersfield greatly.
Some students may not feel they can join LGBT due to not identifying with the label, but the LGBT society is for everybody. For example, last term a group of American students came over to Huddersfield and got involved purely for the social aspect of the society. “We’re not just a close group where all gay people meet and talk about Madonna.”
Emma, who will be leaving University at the end of the year, has been a massive part of gay life in Huddersfield but admits that there is no gay scene in Huddersfield anymore, “Next year the committee is going to be a lot more male dominated, so I‘d really like to see a lot more girls get involved for a better balance on the issues”. It’s really important that the numbers for the society increases year after year because some really great things have come out of it. Look out for them at next year’s Freshers.
“Really we just want people to get involved. Get in touch with us through social media. Our website, our Facebook page.” The message that needs to be spread: Be proud of your university’s LGBT society and get involved.