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The UK is usually a warm and welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people (LGBTQI+). As an international student, you may identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community, and so we have services and support for you. If you come from a nation-state that may criminalise your LGBTQI+ identity, which feels unsafe, or is more socially conservative, you need not worry when coming to the UK to study. According to the Home Office, it is estimated that around 22,000 international students are LGBTQI+ in the UK, and so the UK has a long pedigree of welcoming all who study with us. 

Inclusivity in the UK

It is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the UK due to our Equality Act (2010) and the UK has a long tradition of supporting the rights of LGBTQI+ people who live, study, and work here. It is also illegal to commit acts of violence, either physical or verbally, to somebody who is (or perceived to be) LGBTQI+, and we have established hate crime laws to protect LGBTQI+ people against harm due to who they are. Most LGBTQI+ students who study in the UK, know that their rights will be respected when they study with us, and they can live much more comfortably as who they are.  

Inclusivity on Campus and Available Support

The University of Sunderland is no different to this, and we have a strong commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion, creating an environment that welcomes and celebrates students from all backgrounds, including those who are LGBTQI+.  

We recognise that some international students who are LGBTQI+ may need additional support, and so we have a range of support available to you at the University of Sunderland: 

  • Our Students Union has a dedicated LGBTQI officer who can talk to you about any issues, as well as an Equality and Diversity officer. They also have an LGBTQI+ Society, which meets often and warmly welcomes new members. For more information please visit the SU website.
  • The University of Sunderland was a proud sponsor of Sunderland Pride in July 2023, a local Pride organisation, who also have a welcoming café space and LGBTQI+ hub, the Rainbow Hub.
  • As part of our commitment to LGBTQI+ visibility and support, we installed Progress Pride Flag crossings on our City Campus and St. Peter’s Campus.
  • Our Well-Being Team can also help with counselling and therapy if people need to discuss LGBTQI+ issues and their own mental health. 
  • In the rare event that you may face a hate crime, you can report any hate crimes through our hate crime reporting tool. 

There are wider student services which can also support you: 

External Support

In the surrounding area of Sunderland and the North-East of England, there are a range of support services that you can access for advice, support, and social groups, and to make friends. They are: 

  • MESMAC offer free sexual health, free condoms, and counselling services to the LGBTQI+ community. 
  • There are a wide variety of local, regional and national LGBTQI+ groups on the MESMAC website, from social and outdoor sport groups, such as football, tennis, hiking, and rugby teams, to queer choirs and arts groups, as well as general support and social groups to make friends. 
  • The fantastic Pride Media Centre transmit Pride Radio worldwide. Tune in and listen!