LGBTQ+ Students Guide

Full credit to be given to the SU LGBTQ+ Campaign, the OULGBT+ Society, Pax Butchart, Grace Beckwith and all other volunteers that helped put it together.

Disclaimer: This guide has been complied by current Oxford Students and to the best of their knowledge, is accurate. However there may have been changes since publication. If you would like current advice about the information here or any welfare issue, please contact advice@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk

Oxford is generally a very welcoming environment, and a place you should not be afraid to be yourself in. This resource is out there just to make sure you have as much advice and support as possible.

Resources

A lot of the information on this page has been taken from these sources, and are great to read through if you want more information:

http://www.oulgbtq.org/what-we-do.html -OULGBTQ+ Society Website. It has loads of information, not just about how you can get involved, but resources and contacts that can help you through anything if you have any problems.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14u1LHL-ArOgaMhc97U8XVc_gv5IjfoRt/view?usp=sharing -Trans Survival Guide, this is a really helpful document full of a lot of specific information for transexual students in Oxford. It is definitely worth looking through if you have any questions as it has so much information.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1m-JQipSB40dDQBE8c7NqMCOH-0aG-_uC/view?usp=sharing

-THE OUSU LGBT+ Campaign’s Survival Guide, with lots of information and more personal experiences discussed which may be nicer to read through.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VpTDSOKUpWHxrggEY5l77ds3mBve9qYN/view?usp=sharing

-THE LGBT+ Officers Guide made by the SU. This doc has been made mostly for officers, with advice for JCR reps in how they do their role. This however contains so many resources that it is definitely a helpful resource.

 

Building up a Support Network

(incl. Staff members, reps, campaign leaders, socs/events)

Before you arrive: 

1. Sign up for the Rainbow Parenting Scheme- this is a buddy system similar to college parenting. The LGBTQ soc match up freshers with older students who will introduce them to Oxford. The difference with Rainbow Parenting is that, rather than matching families together based on their subjects, we aim only to connect LGBTQ+ people at the same college (wherever possible.) We hope that parents will introduce their freshers to the LGBTQ+ community at Oxford on a collegiate and university-wide level (http://www.oulgbtq.org/rainbow-parenting-scheme.html ). 

2. Follow the uni LGBTQ societies on Facebook (here is the big LGBTQ soc fb page: https://www.facebook.com/OULGBTQ ). It’s worth noting that if you ‘save’ the pages rather than liking them, no one will be able to see that you have done so. This is handy if you’re closeted! The Soc is a massive resource in finding people who are dealing with similar experiences as you, and also holds events (including online ones which you can get involved with even before you show up in Oxford.) You can also refer to their website: http://www.oulgbtq.org/what-we-do.html, which has so many resources, pieces of advice, and also the email addresses of committee members who are available for specific support.

3. It may also be worth packing something that represents your identity to put up in your room, for example, the rainbow flag. This may be an easy way to tell your friends that you are LGBTQ+, or at least open up the conversation for it. 

When you get here:

 1. Go to your College LGBTQ meetings and say hi to your LGBTQ reps! (They often run events in Freshers' Week.) Your college LGBTQ rep is likely going to be your first port of call - they are very friendly and willing to help.

2. Make the most of your rainbow parents! They can show you the ropes to college specific events / where they like to socialise / offer advice for coming out/ being out and keep an eye out for you. They will be more than happy to give you any support you need, and be a listening ear in a stressful time. 

3. Go to the uni-wide Freshers' events, and even if you do not drink, non-drinking students have still had a great time at drinking events (but there are lots of non-drinking events every week which are good to look out for as well.) If you did not enjoy one event, there are plenty of other events with different vibes (such as Tuesday drinks, welfare teas, and plenty of non-clubbing events), so it is worth looking into everything the society offers. The society has general and identity-specific events that run every week, and are really active! There are so many opportunities to meet people in the LGBT+ community this way! 

4.You may also want to go to wider Oxford events, outside of the university. Here is the Oxford Government page for LGBT+ community in Oxford, where you can find out about wider events going on: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20042/equality_diversity_and_inclusion/265/lesbian_gay_bisexual_and_transgender_lgbt_people

Once you start meeting queer people that you get along with, don’t be afraid to connect and make group chats, to keep in touch with people in the community that you feel you can get closer to and want to do more things together.

If you are nervous about going to any events, don’t be afraid to ask friends to come with you, or people in your rainbow family, as this can help give you a confidence boost. You can get involved with the community as little or as much as you like, so do not feel pressure that you either have to be at every event, or no events at all.

It's okay to be uncertain about your identity and sexuality, and that absolutely shouldn't be a barrier to accessing support networks. Many students do not seek out LGBTQ+ spaces as an undergraduate because they never felt 'queer enough', but this is not a thing, and seeking out the community can help improve your experience massively. There's a community out there, don't be afraid to join it even if you aren't 100% sure how you fit into it.

If you are LGBT+ and also have a disability, you may want to contact the SU Disabilities Campaign (https://www.facebook.com/OxfordDisabilities/) that also run events. The Campaign has an LGBTQ+ rep, and makes sure to be inclusive to the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ+ rep on the campaign can also be contacted, and will know a lot about the intersection of disabilities and LGBT+, and therefore should be able to advise you in the right way.

If you are a person of colour, there are lots of Queer POC in the society, as well as Racial and Ethnic Minoritee Reps in the committee. Meeting up with people with similar backgrounds may make you feel less lonely in your specific experiences you may have.

Welfare

LGBTQ Society Welfare Page (containing resources in Oxford, coming out advice, mental health/disabilities information, sexual health advice, sexual violence information, domestic abuse information, advice on concealing social media and advice for over the holidays.)

http://www.oulgbtq.org/welfare.html?fbclid=IwAR3p3xFvo-YEJQnl7QgWFrvvPfLspXFdJhylhuaqmgsIla0ye5vdp6HTMp4

One of the best things to do when you have a welfare problem is ask around, whether that be your LBTQ+ peers, rainbow parents or JCR reps. Most often, the most reliable information for LGBT+ friendly services that are actually helpful is based on real student experience.

Taken from the LGBTQ+ Officers guide from the SU (http://www.oulgbtq.org/uploads/1/1/0/3/110317091/lgbtq20officer20guide20online.pdf )

Available welfare for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students 

There are countless welfare providers across the university able to help trans students seeking advice or simply wishing to meet other trans students at the university. The process of coming out as trans, and taking steps towards transitioning in a college environment can be stressful, given that any steps towards coming out carry with them the risk that peers and tutors may not be receptive, or express discriminatory attitudes.  

  • LGBT Youth Scotland has compiled an amazing guide for trans youth going through the coming out process. It answers questions, gives advice and a step by step guide to coming out, amongst the many sections it contains. drive.google.com/file/d/0B3uJyrWALR-nSU5May03V0VCVUE/view 

  • The NHS also has a guidance booklet for trans young people in the UK written by trans young people aged 15-22. It contains support, advice on coming out, sections on what it means to be trans, and sexual health. www.safeschoolscoalition.org/guide4young-trans-inUK.pdf 

  • If an individual chooses to make their gender identity public, there are often lots of things that can be changed at a university-level. It is not compulsory to make changes, and they may prefer to plan things in stages. Some of the things its possible to change at university level include changing your name, changing your student record and your email address (see the trans survival guide in the resources section for more detailed information on how to do this.) 

  • The University’s LGBTQ Society gives the clearest guide to transitioning at Oxford currently available to students. It also provides tips for dealing with tutors upon coming out as trans. 

www.oulgbtsoc.org.uk/trans/guidance/  

  • For anyone who wants to show their support but needs a little guidance towards understanding trans issues, the following website has a great glossary of terms describing aspects of trans experience and offers tips on becoming a good ‘ally’. This can be a good resource to send to anybody who shows interest in being more supportive to what you are going through, and can help them understand more about what you are going through. 

http://transwhat.org/ 

Information for Asexual students

Asexuality, much like other sexual orientations and gender identities, exists on a spectrum. This means that within the term ‘asexuality’, there are many variations in identities; for example, demisexuality. If you need any advice or information about the asexuality spectrum, the following resources provide comprehensive explanations, useful contacts and helpful tips for anyone who may be struggling with their identity, or is interested to know more about asexuality. This can be used to help Asexual students 

  • The Asexual Visibility and Education Network aims to combat misunderstandings about asexual identities and is one of the largest online asexuality networks. It provides advice, guidance and a community of people with whom you can discuss what it means to identify as asexual or a variation thereof. There is also a forum on the website, where you can follow and join discussion between members of the asexual community. 

http://www.asexuality.org/home/ 

  • There is an extended glossary of terminology on the website listed: www.asexualityarchive.com/ www.asexualityarchive.com/glossary/


General Oxford University Welfare Services:

There are a lot of welfare services available for Oxford students which are completely free and should be used if you need it or just want some extra support.

It is so important that you do not minimise what you are going through, which is especially common for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

If you are struggling, it does not mean you do not deserve your place in Oxford, but it may mean that you need a little bit extra support from the university- and this is what welfare support services are about.

Support in College:

Peer Support team – students who have had 30 hours training from the university counselling service. They both provide a confidential and impartial listening service, and are often the first port of call for welfare issues. If nothing else they’ll be able to signpost to the direction of other

welfare services that might be of use (including LGBTQ+ specific services that would be available to you.) Keep an eye out for posters around your college!

Committee’s Welfare Officers – these students are elected into the JCR post for a term, and can similarly signpost you to other services. At a lot of colleges, these individuals are bias trained and therefore should be safe people to turn to.

Welfare staff– most colleges have a nurse, and some have in-college counsellors and dedicated welfare officers. Their job is to help you, so remember that you’re free to approach them with any problem at all.

Dean team – varies by college, with some deans taking on a more disciplinary rather than welfare role. But deans, assistant deans, and junior deans will normally be happy to chat about welfare issues either formally or informally.

Tutors – If welfare issues are affecting your academic performance, don’t be afraid to approach your tutors. They’ll often be happy to help whether that be through extending deadlines or offering advice. Remember that all tutors have been students before, so they can be more sympathetic than you might expect.

Academic officer and senior tutor – This role may vary by college, but colleges normally have a member of staff who organises academic matters like exams, and can be contacted if your welfare is interfering with your work. They can also liaise with tutors if necessary.

Chaplains - A lot of chaplains have a welfare role in their colleges, and you can check whether they do on the college website. Most chaplains are LGBT+ affirming, and you do not have to have faith to ask for advice.

Wider services

  • Oxford University Counselling Service – You can request an appointment by emailing counselling@admin.ox.ac.uk, calling 01865 270300, or dropping in to the counselling service at 3 Worcester Street (opposite Worcester College and next to the Oxford SU offices). 

More information here:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling/appointment?wssl=1#

The counselling service is also contactable over the vacation if you require ongoing support at home and their website contains online resources such as podcasts.

  • The Student Advice Service – A free service run by Oxford SU offering advice on all aspects of Oxford life. 

Their website has tonnes of information and details on how to contact them directly: https://oxfordsu.org/advice/student-advice-service/ 

  • Your GP – An easily-accessible service. Your GP may either diagnose and provide treatment for many welfare issues or recommend a service more applicable to your needs. 

 

  • Rainbow Peers – University-wide Peer Support groups made up of LGBTQ+ students, if you would prefer to talk to someone who identifies with a given issue.

  • Charities – there are many charities around Oxford, dedicated to students and providing more general services. Some include:

    • Nightline provides an anonymous listening service 8pm-8am 

    • Mind and Student Minds provide support and resources for mental health issues

    • Peer Supporters are trained to be able to point you in the direction of other services, but feel free to contact the Class Act Welfare Rep if you’d prefer.

  • Sexual Health Clinics- You can find more information with advice concerning sexual health in the Safe Dating Section, but in general, looking after your sexual health should be a very important part of your welfare in Oxford.

You can find a comprehensive list of university services here:

www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare?wssl=1

SELF-CARE

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Regardless of how small the issue feels, talking through your problems with someone else (be it a friend, peer supporter, or the senior welfare team) is an important first step.

  • Make time for yourself. Oxford is full of amazing spaces that your Bod card will get you in for free. If you need a break from an essay or problem sheet, take some time to wander around a museum, visit a different college, or explore the city’s parks and gardens.

  • Remember that deadlines aren’t the end of the world. Most tutors are happy to be flexible, if you’re struggling to manage your work.

  • Find a hobby or join a society. Setting aside a few hours to do something non-academic can help to structure your working week. 

  • Remember that everybody works at different rates, especially in first year. Try not to compare yourself too heavily to your classmates and focus on finding a routine that works for you!

Accessible Places

The best way of finding friendly places to go is asking around. Student experience will always be more reliable than anything else in these circumstances, so if you do have any questions, use the LGBTQ+ Oxford Community to help you out!

Accessing trans-friendly doctors and healthcare

Your college nurse is a good point of contact for matters pertaining to general healthcare, although their knowledge of trans issues will vary, and if you want medical treatment for your transition, the nurse will not be able to help you.

Most colleges have a visiting GP who comes into college a few times a week, and is able to refer you to a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), should you desire it. If your college doesn’t have visiting GPs, you’ll probably be registered with a surgery in Oxford. If you want to be referred to a GIC for hormone treatment, surgery, therapy, or any other medical care provided by specialists, your GP will need to send a letter of referral to the GIC of your choice. You do not need to see a psychiatrist or gender specialist to be referred; your GP is qualified to make the referral, even if they’ve never done it before. Different GICs have different requirements — some only need a GP’s letter, others want you to fill out several forms. Your GP probably won’t know the specific requirements for all GICs and may need some guidance, so it’s important that you look up exactly what you need to do before you have your appointment, and print out any forms you need to fill in.

Some surgeries have more experience than others in dealing with trans patients. If you find that your college GP, or the GPs at the surgery you’re registered with, aren’t very informed about trans matters or aren’t very accommodating towards your needs, you do have the option to change surgeries. You should be able to change surgeries at any point during your studies at Oxford — it is important that you are comfortable with the GP you are registered with. The only down-side to changing surgeries is that you will no longer be registered with the surgery that visits your college, which may limit the services available to you within college. It should not be an issue to change GPs if you are already registered with a GIC; this does not break the ‘shared care’ agreement.

GPs who LGBT+ students have had positive experiences with include:

  • Richard Baskerville, 27 Beaumont Street

  • Sarah Ledingham, 27 Beaumont Street

  • David McCartney, 27 Beaumont Street

  • Jayne Haynes, 19 Beaumont Street

  • Ben Riley, 19 Beaumont Street 

  • Lindsey Bennet, Summertown Health

  • Dr Stonehewer, Dr Leaver and Partners

  • Dr Lambert, Dr Leaver and Partners

Trans-Friendly Hairdressers based on trans students’ experiences:

  • Dukes Barbers in the Covered Market is highly recommended by a lot of trans-masculine students — haircuts are cheap and a lot of trans and gender non-conforming people have never had any trouble there. It’s a small, 3-seat barber shop which generally cuts shortish length hair. They offer student discounts on Monday to Thursday, charging around £12-15. They get very busy around lunchtime and early afternoon, and on weekends.

  • Anne Veck Salon on St Clements has LGBTQ+ clients and a fairly positive reputation. It offers hairstyling, colouring and extensions, with a 20% student discount on Monday to Wednesday on some of their services. Prices are listed on their website.

  • Matthew Clulee on Ship Street and St Michaels are reportedly trans-friendly. They offer styling and colouring services from £30 and offer a £5 student discount on some services. They cut hair regardless of gender identity or expression.

  • Classique on Botley Road offers unisex hairdressing, although prices are gendered.

  • The Open Barbers, a London-based LGBTQ+ salon, typically visits once a year during Wadham’s ‘Queer Week’ to do sliding scale haircuts from £10, although places are very limited and are taken up quickly. If you can afford to travel to London, their salon in Old Street is highly recommended by trans and queer students, and they are very accommodating and understanding. They offer haircuts for all gender identities and sexualities, all hairstyles, and all ethnicities, with a specialist for Black hairstyles, and a specialist for colouring services. They also do a few ‘affordable appointments’ every week for between £2-10 for those with financial difficulties. Because they are so popular, they book up very quickly, so you’ll want to book an appointment about a month in advance.

  • A lot of students cut their own hair and are happy to cut each other's hair for free. Quite a few trans people own hair clippers if you want a buzzcut. Many are also happy to accompany each other to salons if you’re nervous to go alone. If you want to cut your own hair, you can find some tips on the OU LGBTQ+ Society’s website in the trans section, ‘How Do I...?’

Where can I find gender-neutral toilets in town?

  • Waterstones

  • Plush nightclub

  • Hero’s sandwich bar

  • G&D’s on Little Clarendon Street

  • G&D’s on Cowley Road

  • Combibos cafe

  • Costa

  • The Magic Cafe

  • The Handlebar

  • Several Faculty buildings, including Classics (St Giles, opposite St John’s College), Music (St Aldate’s, near Christ Church), and History of Art (St Ebbes Street, near Pembroke College)

  • Examination Schools

  • Elham’s Lebanese Deli

  • Most toilets in college staircases are not gendered, although you may need access from a porter or friend

  • Some colleges have several gender-neutral toilets, including Wadham, St Catherine’s, and LMH

  • There is a useful app called ‘Refuge Restrooms’ which marks gender neutral toilets on a map for wherever you are, which you can download for free!

Trans-Inclusive Sport Groups:

The Diversity in Sport Community (DiSC) has been set up by LGBTQ+ students for LGBTQ+ students who participate in sport and who want to participate in sport but are reluctant to do so for fear of being judged or rejected because of their gender identity or sexuality. Currently, DiSC holds sporting events every week, with weekly tasters of different sports, in addition to formals and social events. You can join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1847794602146553/

The Oxford trans community has also started doing sports events every fortnight or so (weather permitting) exclusively for trans and intersex students, typically organised by one of the LGBTQ+ Society’s trans reps. These events are non-competitive, light-hearted exercise open to all trans people regardless of sporting background and ability. 

The Iffley Road swimming pool and Hinksey outdoor pool have gender-neutral changing facilities. 

At an informal or college level, you should be able to participate in gendered sports in whichever gender you feel best matches your own identity. At a competitive level, unless it’s pertaining to national sporting organisations, in which case the relevant organisation should be consulted, you should be permitted to compete in your affirmed gender identity. You can email the Sport Federation President at oufpresident@sport.ox.ac.uk for arrangements relating needs concerning competitive sports where teams and changing facilities are based on gender.

Other LGBT-safe spaces:

  • Plush Nightclub- You will probably hear a lot about this when you arrive, but Plush is a queer nightclub with a fun and friendly atmosphere (as well as gender neutral toilets.) It is often considered one of the best clubs in Oxford!

  • Boux Boutique- a bra shop, which has been trans-friendly in student experiences. 

Safe Dating

Dating as a member of the LGBT community can be scary, especially as for a lot of people, university may be your first time being ‘out’. People often assume if you are out in Oxford, you are out at home, but so often this is not the case as well. This section will hopefully give you some advice and guidance to have a fulfilling dating life, but also one that is safe.

Meeting People:

  • Tinder is good for same-sex dating in Oxford, as well as the other popular dating apps.

  • Uni Drinks, and other soc events, may also be a good place to meet someone.

  • Most of Oxford’s dating initiatives (such as Oxmatch, or RAG Blind Date) are same-gender couple inclusive, so do get involved in these as they can be a lot of fun!

  • If you are meeting someone for the first time, do meet in a public space (and if possible, in daylight.)

  • If you are out, let friends know if you are going home with someone. Keep your friends in the loop about whether you intend to get with someone or not, and just look out for other people who are too drunk to give consent. Making sure you are not alone can make sure you are as safe as possible.

Hook-Up Culture: 

Don’t get too caught up in hook-up culture if it’s not for you! If it’s new to you, experimenting can feel strange. Communicate with your friends, be honest with yourself, know your boundaries, and if you don’t feel comfortable just remember that you don’t have to put up with it.

Sexual Health

It is a common misconception that LGBT+ people do not need to use protection, when often STIs are just, or sometimes more, prevalent in sex. 

Gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM), are more likely to encounter sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Rates of chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea are on the increase in MSM and HIV infection numbers are at an all-time high. Use a condom if you do not know the person is definitely STI free.

Lesbian and bisexual women are not safe from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and it's still important to be tested. Women can catch STIs such as herpes, genital warts and chlamydia when exchanging bodily fluids. One-on-one contact, such as oral sex or using the same hand when touching yourself and then your partner, can put you at risk. Two women who are both menstruating are at a higher risk too.

There can be a culture around lesbian sex to not use, and feel embarrassed to ask to use a dental dam. If you are in any doubt about your sexual partner's STI status, it is very important to be safe and use one if you want to perform oral sex. You can also help to counter the prevailing culture around using them by being understanding and asking someone who is performing oral sex on you if they want to use one, instead of waiting for them to bring it up (which they may be too shy to do). Dental dams can be bought online, and you can get them for free at some sexual health clinics. You can also make effective dams by cutting off the tip and bottom of a condom, then cutting down the side to make a rectangle. Then you can unroll the condom and place it over the genital area.

This means that looking after your sexual health should be one of your priorities when entering into a sexual relationship. There is more information on having safe sex here: https://www.yoursexualhealthmatters.org.uk/further-sexual-health-support/lgbt

HIV/AIDs:

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus which causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). While there is a large stigma associated with having HIV/AIDS, advances in modern medicine mean that HIV positive people (those who have the disease) have the same life expectancy and quality of life as HIV negative people. Also, HIV positive people often have “undetectable viral loads”, which means they cannot pass on the virus.

  • In other words, when properly managed, being HIV positive is no big deal.

  • However, there is no known cure - unlike many sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV will stay with you for life.

  • It is an unfortunate fact that HIV is more prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community than the general population. 1 in every 8 “men who have sex with men” in the South East of England have HIV, and this figure is higher for the trans and BME communities.

  • The virus is passed in adults by exchange of bodily fluids. There is no record of anyone catching HIV orally (by swallowing). Furthermore, people with undetectable viral loads cannot pass on the virus.

  • The most dangerous part of HIV is the time between infection and diagnosis. During this time, your health may deteriorate, and you will be able to infect others accidentally. This is why quick diagnosis is important.

  • If you think that you may have caught HIV, it is important to go to the GUM clinic as soon as you physically can. They will be able to prescribe you with PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis). This is a course of powerful antiretrovirals. If taken within 48 hours of infection, it can prevent HIV becoming permanent.

  • ?It takes two weeks after infection before HIV will show up on a blood test. You can book this appointment in advance.

Support:

  • OULGBTQ+ Society works closely with the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in Oxford. This fantastic charity aims to reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections amongst different communities whilst supporting those who are already living with HIV. THT also recognises the need to raise public awareness of HIV and AIDS so that there is a wider understanding about its impact, but also to help reduce the stigma sometimes attached. There are a wide range of services that can be accessed through THT, including the following:

  • Face2Face – One to one support provided by trained members of staff offering advice on HIV diagnosis and issues with sexuality.

  • THT Direct (0800 802 1221) – A national service offering support and advice over the phone.

  • Counselling – For those diagnosed with or affected by HIV.

  • Peer support groups – Small groups that meet to share their experiences of living with HIV.

  • Advocacy – Advice and support on housing, immigration, welfare benefits and employment. They are based in The Rectory Centre, Rectory Road, Oxford, OX4 1BU? (01865 243389).

Here is also a list of services in the Oxford Area, which are so important to use if you need it (note- if you are going late at night to any of these clinics, it may be a good idea to not go alone and have someone walking with you):

SEXUAL HEALTH THE C-CARD 

The C-Card is a scheme run by the local health authority, which entitles subscribers to free condoms, dental dams, and lubricant. The supplies can be picked up from almost any pharmacy in Oxford. The NHS is eager for more students to use this as in every pack of supplies handed out they provide instructions and different sized condoms. This promotes correct use of contraception.  The C-Cards can be obtained from any sexual health clinic in Oxford. 

STI TESTING 

Students can get condoms and the morning after pill for free from the following places: 

  • GUM Clinic, Churchill Hospital  

  • GUM Clinic, Rectory Road 

  • Your GP or college doctor 

Testing for sexually transmitted diseases can take place at the: 

  • Churchill Hospital, Sexual Health Clinic. 

  • Sexual Health Clinic on Rectory Road. 

The latter is a smaller clinic that is in walking distance for most students (just off Cowley Road). It is often open till 7pm so it’s convenient for students who are in labs until 5pm. However, it offers a more limited range of services, and does not offer treatment. 

For more information and opening times check: www.sexualhealthoxfordshire.nhs.uk/ 

SEXUAL ASSAULT REFERRAL CENTRE 

The nearest SARC is the Solace Centre in Slough. A SARC centre allows individuals to receive the appropriate medical care and have forensic evidence collected without having to make a police complaint. This service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, though outside of office hours it’s best to call ahead. This service is available regardless of gender. Your common room may already have a scheme by which students can get free transport to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre in the event of rape or sexual assault. If you do not have this in operation please email vpwomen@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk and the Vice President women will help you set one up. 

LGBTQ+ SPECIFIC LONDON CLINICS 

Although sexual health services in Oxford are offered to all, there are specific health services in London which are LGBTQ+ friendly and run important trans sexual health services. 

The appointment-only 56 Dean Street Clinic, Soho, London (020 3315 6699) and West London Centre for Sexual Health (020 3315 6699) are two such LGBTQ+ friendly service providers. Both centres operate clinics focused on men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, and the ClinicQ service for trans communities. It also runs the clinic SWISH (020 3315 6699) for LGBTQ+ individuals who partake in sex work. www.chelwest.nhs.uk/services/hiv-sexual-health/clinics/ 56-deanstreet/56-dean-street http://www.chelwest.nhs.uk/services/hiv-sexual-health/clinics/westlondoncentre-for-sexual-health 

The Working Men Project of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, provides daily STI testing for men working in the sex industry. www.imperial.nhs.uk/working-men-project 

The Praed Street Project of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, provides sexual health services and support for women working in the sex industry. www.imperial.nhs.uk/thejefferisswing/sexualhealth/ ourclinics/praedstreetproject/index.htm  

The Terrence Higgins Trust (0800 802 1221) is a charity which works to reduce transmission of HIV and other STIs amongst different communities, and also supports those living with HIV, through the raising of public awareness in order to reduce stigma. Services provided by the THT include Face2Face, LGBTQ+ Campaign 13 supporting people with HIV, THT Direct which acts as a national helpline for over-the-phone advice, counselling and peer support groups. www.tht.org.uk/ 

OXFORDSHIRE SEXUAL ABUSE AND RAPE CRISIS CENTRE 

OSARCC is different from a SARC, but can offer emotional listening and face-to-face support. They can be contacted on support@osarcc.org.uk or found at osarcc.org.uk.

Some colleges give out free panic alarms, and it is a good idea to get one if you can. 

Faith

For people struggling with their religion and sexuality or gender, there are online resources available offering advice and support. 

The tensions between religion and LGBTQ+ issues are obviously very prevalent in the media and society, which can cause difficulties for LGBTQ+ people who have faith. Rest assured that there are ways to reconcile faith, sexuality and gender, and there are many people you can talk to if you are worried about these issues! These two things do not have to be at odds, and if you are in a faith community that does not accept you for who you are, there are always other options.

LGBTQ+ Campaign PACE, the LGBTQ+ mental health charity, has a booklet explaining where to find help if you are LGBTQ+ and have faith. You can download it here www.pacehealth.org.uk/files/2013/6551/5626/Religion_and_LGBT_issues.pdf 

The following resources may also be of help: 

  • Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group: www.jglg.org.uk/  

  • Imaan LGBTQI Muslim Support Group: http://www.imaan.org.uk/  

  • Support for LGBTQ Buddhists: http://www.gaybuddhistsangha.org/  

  • Gay Christian Network for LGBTQ+ Christians: www.gaychristian.net/ 

  • Social support group for LGBTQ Sikhs: www.sarbat.net/ 

  • For religious LGBTQ+ individuals in Oxford, there are several actively positive and inclusive places for students to worship. 

LGBTQ+ Christians in Oxford

  • (OULGBT soc has this information on their website)

For Christians, there are lots and lots of places to worship in Oxford, so there are a fair few which are LGBTQ+ affirming. Here we’re using ‘affirming’ to mean embracing LGBTQ+ people and affirming their relationships. Below is information about Christian places of worship which we have heard are affirming by word of mouth; it is sometimes hard to get concrete information on this and we can’t guarantee everyone’s experiences will be the same, but this should give pointers on where is best!.

St Columba’s United Reformed Church (Alfred Street) (https://www.saintcolumbas.org/home):

St Mary Magdalen, "Mary Mags" (9 Magdalen St - next to Tesco) (http://www.stmarymagdalenoxford.org.uk/):

The following four Churches are part of the “Inclusive Church” network (https://www.inclusive-church.org/):

St Giles’ Church, 10 Woodstock Road (https://www.st-giles-church.org/):

St Mary the Virgin (University Church), High Street (https://www.universitychurch.ox.ac.uk/):

St Mary and St John, Cowley (http://cowleystjohn.co.uk/):

  • Style of worship: quite High Church,  in Anglican-Catholic tradition

  • Mass on Sundays in morning (sung) and evening (said)

St Alban’s Church, Charles St (http://cowleystjohn.co.uk/our-sites/st-albans-church):

  • Style of worship: quite High Mass, also more informal evening services

  • Mass on Sunday morning, more informal meetings in evening

College Chapels:

Can be LGBTQ+ friendly, although this varies college by college. It is worth contacting the current faith rep at the LGBTQ+ soc, since they would have more up-to-date college by college information (see the current committee here: http://www.oulgbtq.org/meet-the-team.html ).

  • Most of Oxford’s Colleges have Chaplains as well, who tend to have a welfare role within college. 

  • Whereas Churches in Oxford and elsewhere tend to relate to Christians from particular denominations or traditions, in many of the College Chapels you’ll find a diverse, international community of Christians from a number of different traditions and backgrounds, as well as those from non-Christian traditions who are attracted to the open and inclusive ethos of the Chapel. 

  • Student-led music plays an important part in the life of many Chapels, and those with strong choral traditions often attract visitors as well as members of the College and University. 

  • To find out more, look at your College’s website, or contact your College Chaplain (https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/chaplaincy).

Oxford Quaker Meeting, 43 St Giles (https://oxfordquakers.org/):

Other Places of Worship

There are fewer places of-worship in Oxford for religions which are not Christianity, and, because of this, what follows is more of a description of those spaces that exist rather than a guarantee of their being utterly affirming. However, these are places which have been attended by members of LGBTQ+Soc, and which are not generally queerphobic. As above, this is compiled from word of mouth, and we can’t guarantee everyone’s experiences will be the same. 

Judaism

The OJC and JSoc

  • The Oxford Jewish Congregation is a single building which hosts a variety of religious services (as well as lots of social and cultural activities). The building is wheelchair-accessible, and has a wheelchair-accessible toilet as well as a couple gender-neutral toilets, although the main bathrooms are gendered. 

  • Oxford University Jewish Society (JSoc) has a close relationship with the centre, and hosts some events there, including large weekly Friday Night Dinners, smaller meals for the rest of shabbat, and weekday dinners. A variety of students attend JSoc events and the OJC in general, several of us are LGBTQ+. 

  • The Jewish Chaplains, Tracey and R. Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler, also attend and work with JSoc and the OJC. They’re Orthodox, but here to support the Jewish needs of all students here, and they’re likewise welcoming and affirming.

There are a variety of services, organised and attended by overlapping groups of people, primarily permanent of Oxford, but with a large student contingent.

  • Orthodox services meet every shabbat, both Friday night and shabbat morning, as well as Sunday morning, some weekday mornings and for every Jewish festival. They are gender-segregated, with men and women sitting separately and no space explicitly for nonbinary people. I haven’t witnessed any gender-policing about who sits in which gendered section.

  • There are weekly, student-run Egalitarian friday night services, Masorti services and Progressive services which both meet one shabbat morning a month. All of these have mixed-gender seating.

  • Women’s services meet one shabbat a month- the service is, as the name suggests, for women, but as above, I haven’t witnessed any gender-policing about who falls under that definition.

  • See www.ojc-online.org for more information

Chabad

  • Oxford Chabad follows a similar model to chabad elsewhere in providing access to Judaism to people who are and a range of people pass through there, including LGBTQ+ people.

  • Oxford Chabad is run by R. Eli and Freidy Brackman, who have a good record for being welcoming and inclusive towards LGBTQ+  people. All religious services at chabad are Orthodox and gender-segregated, with men and women sitting separately and no space explicitly for nonbinary people.

  • See http://www.oxfordchabad.org/ for more information

Islam

  • Isoc prayer room in the Robert Hook building.

  • The prayer room is officially unsegregated gender wise, so better for trans/nb folk than a traditional mosque; although often people segregate themselves by where they sit to pray.

  • There are toilets in the prayer room for making Wudhu, but they aren’t gender neutral, although there is a gender neutral accessible toilet. There are prayer garments in boxes in the prayer room for those want to cover to pray but wear other clothes when they’re out and about.

Buddy System

The OULGBTQ+ soc have a small ‘buddy scheme’ for visiting new places of worship. Whether you are new to Oxford or not, if you have a place of worship in mind, get in touch and they will see if we can put you in touch with an LGBTQ+ person who worships there! The idea is that this ‘buddy’ could answer questions about their place of worship and might be able to accompany you to your first event there. They know LGBTQ+ people who worship at many different places, not just the ones listed above, so do get in touch to ask at either oufaith01@gmail.com of oufaith02@gmail.com .

Pronouns

There is a lot more detailed information in the ‘Trans Survival Guide’ regarding the official Oxford database and record of gender, and how this can get changed officially: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14u1LHL-ArOgaMhc97U8XVc_gv5IjfoRt/view?usp=sharing

Normalising declaring pronouns:

Here are a list of ways to declare your pronouns to new people. Even if you are cisgender, you can do work to help normalise using different pronouns, just by declaring them yourself:

  • Changing your facebook nickname in group chats to include your pronoun.

  • At the start of meetings, when you are introducing each other, make sure everyone declares their pronouns (mentioning this to the person in charge of the meeting beforehand can ensure this happens.)

  • Adding your pronouns to your social media.

  • If you are comfortable and safe doing so, you can get pronoun badges which you can wear.

Most people, especially in the LGBT community, will be conscious and not make mistakes once they know your pronouns. Also, most people don’t mind being corrected and are usually apologetic if they misgender you. 

Getting your pronouns used correctly in the University:

The University doesn’t keep any record of pronouns, and your pronouns will most likely be assumed based on your gender on the student record. In University correspondence, the pronouns that typically match your gender on the student record will be used (i.e. ‘he’ for ‘male’, ‘she’ for ‘female’, ‘they’ for ‘other’). In legal documents, your pronouns will have to correspond to your legal sex, although it should be rare that your college or the University needs to make reference to your legal sex.

There’s no way to officially change your pronouns in college or with the University — this essentially follows from changing your gender on the system. However, if you want to change your pronouns without changing your gender on the student record, or if you want to use pronouns that do not conventionally correspond to the gender used for you on the student record (e.g. they/them, it/its, ze/hir, ey/em, xe/xer), you’ll have to explain this to your college contacts individually (e.g. tutors, fellow students, porters, scouts, etc). If you want, you could ask your Senior Tutor, or another member of staff you’re comfortable talking to, to contact your tutors and relevant members of staff for you, or you may prefer to tell people individually.

The Senior Tutor should offer to inform your tutors about a change in gender or pronouns for you via email, but you have the right to do so yourself, if you prefer. You can also ask another member of staff, such as the Nurse or your Personal Tutor, if you would be most comfortable with that.

If you decide to tell them yourself, how you inform your tutors is up to you. Sending an email can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be the best way to get information across clearly, minimising room for your tutors to make any awkward, ill-thought-out, or ill- informed responses. It is also in your control to find the exact wording to tell them in your own time, and to decide when to view their response.

You should not feel that you have to provide your tutors with more information than you are comfortable with — it is OK to simply tell them your new name and/or pronouns, and to ask them to use these thereafter. If you think that your tutors may need to be introduced to what it means to be trans and how best to support trans students, you shouldn’t feel pressured to do all the explaining yourself, and you could ask a member of staff to go through the relevant information with them, or point them towards the Trans Guidance document, for instance. There are also members of the LGBT+ Advisory, including Dr Clara Barker, who are happy to offer training to staff at colleges on trans issues, if you feel that your tutors could benefit from this. If so, contact the LGBT+ Advisory to arrange this.

Reporting Harassment

Hopefully you will never have to go through the process of reporting harassment while at Oxford, but this part should help you through it if the time does come. 

Everywhere at the university should follow a zero-tolerance policy, so if you do experience harassment, you should not be afraid to talk to someone about it.

Nothing bad will happen to you if you report harassment, and it should help stop more harassment moving forward. 

To see the official University policy on Harassment (including information about what harassment is defined as under this policy): https://edu.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/harassmentpppdf

This is also a flow chart for students about how to handle harassment in an official capacity: https://edu.admin.ox.ac.uk/files/harrassmentflowchartstudents

Different colleges have different facilities available and a different system as to how harassment is to be reported. It is worth talking to members of the college (whether it is college staff or JCR members) to find the specific college procedure.

If you are confused about how to report harassment, peer supporters, welfare/lgbt JCR reps, members of staff at your college, the counselling service are all examples of places where you can ask someone about the process and get some support in the process. 

If you are worried about any parts of the process, you can also invite trusted friends to any meetings, which could make the process easier.

If you are struggling to get your experiences taken seriously, the SU LGBTQ+ campaign can be contacted to help you with putting more pressure on the situation and supporting you moving forward.