LGBTQ+ students of colour navigate cultural challenges to break stigmas and promote inclusivity

By Kelly Gowe

Students of colour who identify as LGBTQ+ say they face unique challenges in accepting and expressing their sexuality due to cultural stigmas and expectations.

Research consistently highlights the detrimental impact of these struggles, including feelings of shame, isolation, and anxiety.

Amrit, a brave South Asian student at De Montfort University in Leicester, opens up about their journey, revealing: “In my culture, being queer is seen as a sin.

“I spent years grappling with my identity, trying to change who I was to avoid being disowned by my family.”

Alarming statistics back Amrit’s experience, with a recent survey revealing that 74 per cent of LGBTQ+ students of colour face pressure to conform to traditional gender roles and heteronormative standards within their cultural communities.

In addition to cultural expectations, these students often endure discrimination and harassment, even from their peers and educators.

Daniel, a resilient Black and Latinx student at the University of Leicester, said: “I’ve faced teachers who refused to use my preferred name and pronouns, citing their personal beliefs.”

Although some educational institutions provide resources like LGBTQ+ support groups and mental health counselling, many students feel unsupported and marginalised in their academic environments.

Aaliyah, a determined South Asian student at DMU, emphasised the urgent need for education and awareness, stating: “We must break down cultural stigmas and celebrate the diversity within our communities.”

As society progresses towards greater acceptance and understanding, it is crucial to acknowledge the complex challenges individuals face at the intersection of race, sexuality, and culture.

Advocating for and supporting all students, regardless of their background or identity, is essential in creating inclusive and empowering educational spaces.

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