Student Guide 2015: Glasgow and Edinburgh LGBTQIA+
Best Glasgow and Edinburgh LGBTQIA+ spaces, activities and events
Starting out at university is a scary and exciting time, and no less so if you identify as LGBTQIA+. It’s a time to meet new friends, to experiment with yourself and your self-image and to spend some time discovering who you really are. Whether you’re fresh out of the closet, or out and proud, we’ve got you covered for LGBTQIA+ action in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
First stop on the gay train in your LGBTQIA+ community has to be your student union. Each university has its own freshers fair with info on more societies than you imagined possible (Quidditch, anyone?). All the Glasgow and Edinburgh universities have their own variation on a LGBTQIA+ society (with varying takes on the acronym) but each is a good starting point if you’re looking for an inclusive space to make new friends.
Glasgow has GULGBTQ+, as well as groups for PhD students, staff and students in STEM subjects. Edinburgh University represents with BLOGS, and Napier, Heriot-Watt, QMU, Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian and Glasgow School of Art also all have student groups
If you want to grab a bite to eat or a quiet pint in Edinburgh, you can’t beat The Regent – lovably billed as Edinburgh’s gay real ale pub. The Street or Woodland Creatures are also great venues for a bite or a boogie. In Glasgow, The Flying Duck is a go-to bar, as are the (vegan but still delicious whatever your eating habits) sister establishments, Mono and Stereo.
If it’s dancing you’re after in Edinburgh, don’t miss CC Blooms – a longstanding bastion of gay culture – and its smaller, trashier cousin, Planet, just a few doors down. Glasgow features DJ nights like Polyester and Hot Mess as well as larger venues like The Polo Lounge for a night out.
Luckily for LGB, trans and non-binary folks, the spaces to play sports are expanding all the time. Leading the charge for inclusivity is roller derby. Played on roller skates and as much fun to watch as it is to take part, both Edinburgh and Glasgow boast men’s and women’s teams. The Auld Reekie Roller Girls of Edinburgh have a commitment to providing a safe space for trans and non-binary folks to participate and have recently been nominated for a Scottish LGBTI Award (full disclosure: I’m a member myself). Each of the teams also welcomes people to join as non-skating members, so if you have a disability or would rather not play, you can still take part.
If you’re transitioning or have questions about gender identity, you can contact your university student support to help with counselling, as well as more practical support like where to find a gender-neutral bathroom on campus. Wider than that, the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing has trans support groups and sessions across both Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are a great first port of call for any LGTBQIA+ person.