Queer Individuals of Student Living

We’re celebrating Pride Week by getting to know a little more about our LGBTQIA+ residents and their experience living on campus at the University of Newcastle.

Gowtham Jeyanathan
Picture by Jayme Zimmermann

Meet… Gowtham

“Living on campus has been quite the experience as I came to Newcastle not knowing anyone and being very lonely because I didn’t know anyone moving here, but I was accepted straight away.

My roommates from last year were always accepting even though I hadn’t even told them or hadn’t mentioned anything about being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and they just knew from their heart and that’s that. They were always accepting of it – I never really had to tell anyone. But I think coming here I needed a safe space and that’s how I’ve been able to grow as a person in the past year or two living here as well as going back home to Sydney very often.

I would say it’s been a warm welcome for me and that’s what I want to make sure other queer people have, not just at East Residence but on campus in general. It’s been a fun, wild ride so far.”

Age: 19

Degree: Bachelor of Architecture (Design)

Joe Grindrod
Picture by Jayme Zimmermann

Meet… Joe

“Living on campus here has allowed me to be myself and has made me feel like I’m in a safe space without the worry of any judgement or anything like that – I think it’s a very inclusive environment.  There has not been one stage where I have felt like my safety has been at risk or anything. It’s be really good and I haven’t experienced any discrimination.

I didn’t face much discrimination back home in Orange but I’m able to be more open with who I am here. I also enjoy the queer events that are on campus (and in Newcastle in general) as it really makes me feel safe and accepted at Uni. I would definitely move on campus next year, not just because I feel safe as an LGBTQIA+ person but because of how inclusive it is. Overall my first year has been amazing and has helped me find myself.”

Age: 19

Degree: Bachelor of Environment Science and Management.

Meet… Caito

“People here are supportive but coming from a small rural town like Tamworth to University here it’s been a big change because I feel as though Newcastle is just more accepting of LGBTQIA+ people. It’s something more… I wouldn’t want to say normal, but people don’t stare at you so it’s just not a big thing. It’s not a thing you have to actively think about. You’re able to just be yourself without any fear.

I’ve been on campus for two years and East Residence has a few LGBTQIA+ people living here, especially this year in particular. Not so much female but more so male. It’s hard to find other people to vibe with as the gay men on East have their own group. So, they have their own little nest, which is nice but yeah, it’s hard to find other people like me. I’m sure every other college is similar.

Mikyla and I living together is easier than in a 6 share like last year. I must admit that Student Living was a bit confused when I was wanting to share a bed with a female but I found that more amusing than anything. The best part about living together is we don’t have to fight over fridge shelves or TV channels. You can be open here and no one judges. If you don’t have that at home you can have that here.”

Age: 21

Degree: Bachelor of Civil Engineering.

[Being queer] is not a thing you have to actively think about. You’re able to just be yourself without any fear.

Mikyla Peters
Mikyla (left) and Caito (right). Picture by Jayme Zimmermann

Meet… Mikyla

“My experience has been pretty uneventful. I had the luxury of my school back home being really queer. All my social friends were queer so I was out at school to my friends and that kind of just rolled onto here because people don’t care, it’s very accepting. Living in a two share with Caito is good. Although I loved living in shared accommodation in my first year, it’s nice to have a whole area to ourselves rather than just a room. Living together also means that we get a queen bed, which is a huge step up from the single bed last year. I have met other LGBTQIA+ people on college but a lot of them are still in the closet. Even though a lot of people are happy to come out at University, they’re sometimes still closeted at home – I think this is because University creates an environment of acceptance and people don’t necessarily give a shit compared to going home to family and childhood friends. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to be myself to my friends and I just recently came out to my family too!”

Age: 21

Degree: Bachelor of Science and Computer Engineering.

Feature Image: Peter Hershey on Unsplash

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