Uni Halls and the Queer Community

Kiana Martin | she/her | straight | friend and housemate of LGBTQ+ people

Nathan
…and we’re starting.

Kiana
Okay.

Nathan
Ok. So, what would you say your experiences have been, like, as a straight person, with the LGBTQ+ community?

Kiana
Well first of all it did start from like, university. I was, and I didn’t realise this, but really naïve about it. Before university, I didn’t hardly know anyone or anything about the community. It was only when I became friends with some during my stay there at the university, did I actually get to know them, and they opened up about their stories and really did educate me into like, the definitions, and what their experiences were like. And also getting to live with them, just getting to know them and forming friendships with them did I actually really see the other side of, you know, other than being straight, and even assuming that they were straight. Like, that’s sort of slowly changed for me, now.

Nathan
Kind of getting rid of the mindset you were used to?

Kiana
Yeah like the assumptions that everyone’s straight unless they tell me they’re not.

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
It’s now – I no longer assume anything, I’m just waiting for them to tell me if they wish [laughs]

Nathan
[also laughing] Especially at Bath Spa!

Kiana
Yeah, especially at Bath Spa!

Nathan
So what has that been like for you?

Kiana
Well – in some cases, it has been shocking. For myself, like – again, sort of changing me with my mindset as well. But it’s in a positive way.

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
So again, I’ve become more open-minded the more I learn.

Nathan
[humming noise of agreement]

Kiana
So… it’s sort of not been a negative at all. Nothing bad has happened or anything.

Nathan
Yeah. So what [trips over words] what would you say was shocking? You don’t have to censor yourself or anything.

Kiana
Oh no no no. Shocking ‘cos, when someone like tells me that, oh, they identify as this and I’m just like – what is that?

Nathan
[laughs]

Kiana
Like the thing of ‘what? That there’s more, you can be more than just like, gay or lesbian, or like bi? There’s – there’s more?’

Nathan
Yeah – there’s a lot of identities out there!

Kiana
Yes! It’s just like… what? There’s like, loads, and I’m like ‘how many is there?’ And it’s also the fact that you don’t have to be just this, there’s – as you explained – there’s a spectrum, so you can be like – you can put yourself where you like. You don’t have to be specifically this-and-this, you can have like a mix. And [only] if you do wish to identify yourself. Some people, and I got more, like, empathy, they don’t wish to? So there is sort of this – sort of this consideration, for other people.

Nathan
Mhm, that’s interesting! So what would you say are some identities that you’d never heard of, like something that was really weird for you to discover, or really surprising, or really interesting kind of, whatever?

Kiana
Uhm… I think it was like, asexual and like, demisexual. [pause in recording] But, ‘cos like, so many people have identified themselves as that that I know of, and obviously I’ve never like – I knew them, so luckily like – I went to you and was like ‘what does this mean? What is this?’

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
You know, and I wanted to like – I wanted to know.

Nathan
Mhm.

Kiana
You know, I didn’t want to be like, naive about it. Like, again like I was before, like I genuinely had a natural interest in this.

Nathan
Yeah, definitely.

Kiana
You know, so… So then it’s like, I don’t have to step over like – I’m not stepping over any line or anything? So like again, I’m being considerate, but also…

Nathan
On it to educate yourself.

Kiana
Yeah! And it’s just more to know really, because it’s sort of like you’ve just been stuck in this little bubble, and now you’re just – knowing more? So it’s sort of like more exploration, you get to see people in a different light. You can see like, different views – again, it’s one of my interests, people’s like, mindsets and how they’re all different, you know?

Nathan
Mhm.

Kiana
So instead of like, being limited I can now, broaden out my knowledge of who people are, you know?

Nathan
Yeah, definitely. So do you think – would you say that most of your education about the community and like, different identities has come like, straight up from people who identify that way or like someone on the spectrum telling you ‘this is what that is’?

Kiana
Definitely with, uhm, obviously people who are in that community themselves – I’ve never learned anything from a straight person.

Nathan
[laughs uproariously]

Kiana
I’ve never learned anything from a straight person!

Nathan
Oh, I’m gonna quote that!

Kiana
[laughs] Yeah! I just haven’t! If anything I just went to you – I went to someone who I would know have knowledge on it, and the best source is – is you guys, who are in the community yourselves.

Nathan
Yeah, yeah yeah.

Kiana
So I’d rather get, like, absolute straight from the source, you know.

Nathan
Heh, straight [P U N S]

Kiana
[laughs] Yeah – damn! Not going around any corners or anything.

Nathan
That’s definitely good.

Kiana
And since I have you guys around, so why not? I have the sources right here!

Nathan
Yeah – straight from the horse’s mouth.

Kiana
Yeah!

[pause in recording]

Nathan
So, uhm – around the end of last year, I told you guys that I was non-binary and like, asked everyone to use different pronouns. How was that like, as an adjustment? Having someone be like “oh yeah! You know the gender you assumed I was? Not actually that, turns out”.

Kiana
I would say – well first of all, I accept a lot of people. So when you told me that it wasn’t like – I wasn’t shocked, I completely accepted it. And the first thing I was focusing [on] was, ok, how am I going to change – again, my mindset – to make sure that I do say they/them, you know?

Nathan
Yeah

Kiana
That was really difficult, because –  again it was like, sort of having to change it every time I had to say it. I had to really think about saying it, not just saying it right off the bat.

Nathan
Yeah – cos it’s breaking a habit, obviously.

Kiana
Yeah definitely, it was like breaking a habit. And I do still struggle?

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
– but the fact [is] that now when I say it in my mind, I say it correctly. It’s now just getting across vocally.

Nathan
Aw that’s so nice!

[both laugh]

Kiana
I do! It’s just sort of like – I practice in my head like, “it’s this!” but then when I say it, I completely forget it! But then most of the time, I actually am saying it right, so…

Nathan[laughs]

Kiana
I do, I do like practice it. I’m like “hey, it’s this”. There is, again, that. [interrupted by phone buzzing, because Liv is clearly a professional]

Nathan
That’s a really good thing to hear!

Kiana
I know! It’s been taking a long time now, but I’m actually getting there.

Nathan
 [laughs] But you were trying the whole time, and that’s what’s important.

Kiana
Well yeah, because if I don’t then I get frustrated with myself – like, personally. It’s just like “no, it is THIS!”

Nathan
[laughs] “I know this!”

Kiana
Exactly! Especially when it’s like, something small – like for myself, just to change, but I know it’s a big thing for you.

Nathan
Mhm.

Kiana
But, again – it’s not that much difficulty. It’s something small, you’re just changing the wording. And again, sort of like your thoughts as well, but – it’s worth it, really.

Nathan
Awwww.

Kiana
[laughs uncomfortably at Liv’s expression of friendly affection]

[pause in recording]

Nathan
What did you think of Pride? When you went?

Kiana
I thought it was great! [laughs]

Nathan
Yeah? So how was that environment, for a person who like – obviously, you hadn’t had a lot of exposure, to that kind of environment. And going to somewhere where it’s like – it’s so gay, and just – all of us celebrating, just like being gay and like queer, and trans, and just everything. So how was it like, to kind of like, be part of that?

Kiana
Well, it was great to see how, first of all, all of you – everyone was connecting with each other –

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
– you know. Again, it was like a place of like, safety, as well? But more importantly it was just like, for me, enjoying spending my time with – with you guys.

Nathan
Yeah

Kiana
So we did have like, a lot of fun. And, you know, everyone was like, more themselves I would say. So it was great to see like, that side. And it was like very… it was very like energetic, and it was like – it really did like, sort of like, pull you in!

Nathan
[laughs] Yeah!

Kiana
So I would say, I didn’t feel like an outsider at all? I felt sort of like I was with you guys, so it was great to experience – and obviously it was great to see you guys being like, together, and really… I don’t know how to say it… but just being like, open about it and like, you know.

Nathan
Yeah.

Kiana
And you even had the Mayor [of Bath] there, as well! Like, if that’s not showing support.

Nathan
Yeah, we’ve got some well-connected people on our side!

Kiana
Yeah, it was great fun really. As long as everyone enjoyed themselves there – it was a great even to be at.

Nathan
Okay – good stuff. Thank you for talking to me.

Kiana
Yeah, that’s alright!

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