Durham LGBT+ Association

The Durham Student Union LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, +) Association exists to provide welfare services, campaigns, and socials to anyone who identifies as being under the LGBT+ umbrella.


LGBT+a Socials

Whether you want to party all night long in Powerhouse or prefer to sit down and chat over coffee, the LGBT+a has socials for everyone. Our regular Monday Rainbow Night* socials, hosted by Cuth’s Bar are very well attended and a great way to meet other LGBTQ+ people. Non-alcoholic drinks available as well as cocktails (including the original Tess Tickle cocktail) and all your favourites. Allies are welcome so bring your friends! The bar will be a space for music and drinks, and the JCR will be a quieter zone so you can actually hear the conversations you want to have, and get to know new people. We’ll also be showing some films in there, so if you want to bring any DVDs along, feel free! There is also a garden space outside for those of you who don’t like crowds, so it really will be a welcoming event.

If you’re in the party mood, there’s always a group of people heading to Osbourne’s for their weekly Rainbow Room nights, hosted by the incredible Tess Tickle.

As well as Monday night socials, we organise association trips to Newcastle, which has a thriving gay scene in an area known as the Pink Triangle.

Shipwrecked is our annual halloween party on a boat: the wind in your hair, the smell of a (free!) BBQ and plenty of LGBTQ+ people is not something to be missed.

We hold a university­-wide awareness campaign in February, to coincide with LGBT+ History Month, during which an exhilarating range of events, from talks to parties and from coffee to LGBTQ+ film nights, definitely makes it a month to mark down in your calendar.

Identities Socials:

Bisexual and Pansexual coffee with Fred runs on Fridays from 2pm until 5pm in Leonard’s Coffee House.

Trans coffees with Bethan are advertised on our Facebook page.

Postgraduate and Mature socials with Kieran run weekly on Thursdays at 8:30pm in the John Duck for drinks and a pub quiz.

Poly* socials with Maria are being held on Sunday 1st and 29th of November, and details will be on Facebook and in the weekly emails.

If you want any of our reps to be holding any socials or coffees, let them know! If there’s demand for it, they’ll do it.

*Cuth’s Bar Rainbow Nights are LGBT+a safe-space socials (see our constitution), meaning the bar staff (and LGBTa President) reserve the right to remove anyone behaving in an inappropriate manner, and no event photos will be taken. The LGBTa exec will be identifiable by their bright blue stash, and are always willing to listen to any concerns you might have.

Trans Identities

‘T’ is for…Trans

A trans person is a person whose gender—or gender identity—differs from that they were assigned at birth, and by society at large. (Conversely, those whose gender matches what they were assigned are ‘cis’). This is a simple definition, but a broad one covering a wide range of individuals. The vocabulary relating to trans people is equally diverse, and changing quite rapidly, but here are a few of the more common terms you might encounter:

Agender: Without gender, or identifying as no specific gender.
Bigender: Having two, often distinct, genders which may manifest at different times or in different situations. (Related are trigender, pangender etc.).
Genderfluid: Having a gender that varies, often continuously, over time.
Genderqueer: A broad term, covering genders and gender identities that aren’t exclusively male or female.
This is far from a complete list, of course, and vocabulary does vary between communities and cultures.

Being trans brings about many different issues to being gay or bisexual. Often it is accompanied by ‘gender dysphoria’, a deep feeling of discomfort and depression brought on by the incongruity between someone’s gender and the gender society treats them as. This is a very personal thing, however, and is by no means a requirement for being trans. A trans person may also feel that there is an incongruity between their biological sex and their ‘subconscious sex‘, and so they may choose to transition medically, such as with hormones or surgery. Again, though, this is only some trans people, not all.

While homophobia may be less prevalent than it used to be, and while significant steps have been made in the UK for civil rights for LGBT+ people, trans people still experience a lot of transphobia. This can be institutional, sometimes violent, and from both within and without the wider LGBT community. There are many misconceptions surrounding trans people, and gender in general. Here are a few helpful things to remember:

While it is common to hear of trans people being “born in the wrong body”, many trans people do not feel this way.
Although a person’s sexuality is defined by their gender, and the gender(s) of people they’re attracted to, it is wholly independent of whether they’re cis or trans. So, for example, a woman who was assigned male at birth and who is attracted to women would be a lesbian, trans woman.
Despite sharing common terminology and often treated as interchangeable or equivalent, sex and gender are two very distinct things. (Sex is strictly biological, while gender is psychological and social, and neither is defined by the other.)
Gender and gender identity are also quite different from, though obviously related to, gender presentation. Gender roles and norms are social constructs, and a trans person need adhere to them no more than any cis person does. Similarly, being trans should not be confused with gender non-conformity.
Most of the terms discussed above are adjectives, not nouns or verbs. To refer to someone as “a trans” or “transgendered” is both inaccurate and offensive.
Just because it is a person’s legal name, or the name they were christened with, doesn’t make it “real”; a trans person’s real name is the name they choose. Likewise, a trans person’s pronouns aren’t “preferred”; they are correct.
Using the correct pronouns to refer to someone is as important as using their correct name, and to use incorrect ones—misgendering them—can be very harmful. It can be helpful to normalise asking people what their pronouns are, or indeed offering your own, to avoid trans people being singled out. People may use pronouns other than ‘he’ or ‘she’, such as ‘they’, ‘ze’, or ‘ne’.

Bisexual Identities

Bisexuality has traditionally been used to describe people who are attracted to men and women. However, this fails to consider many people who fall outside of these two binary genders and have a gender identity that is not male or female.

The following terms can be used to discuss attraction to multiple genders without excluding non-binary people:

  • Bisexual- the potential to be attracted to people of two genders;
    • e.g., male people and female people, or male people and people of one non-binary gender.
  • Polysexual- the potential to be attracted to people of multiple, but not all genders;
    • e.g., attraction to female people, and multiple people of different non-binary gender identities, but not male people.
  • Pansexual- the potential to be attracted to anyone, regardless of their gender.
    • For a pansexual person, gender is not a consideration in whether they are attracted to someone or not.

People attracted to more than one gender do not have to feel equally attracted to all the people in all the genders that they are attracted to. They can be interested in certain types of people or genders to different degrees and still identify perfectly well as bi/poly/pansexual. Of course, this can be difficult to explain to some people, and sometimes simply saying “bisexual” can save you a lot of trouble from having a discussion about the gender binary with someone who is not ready to have a sensible and considerate discussion about it.

If you have any questions about bisexuality, feel free to contact our Bisexual and Pansexual Representative.

Scene Guide

While Durham itself has little experience in LGBT nightlife, just a hop skip and a jump away the city of Newcastle pulses with a vast wealth of variety catering to many different flavours of the LGBT pallet. After a mere 15 minute train journey (chance to have a calm natter before the action begins!) you are greeted, right on the very porch of the train station, by the lights and sights of the Gay Village, more affectionately known as the delightful Pink Triangle. Boasting a myriad 15 different LGBT-­friendly pubs and nightclubs within a five­minute walk, it would take even the most excitable of students several visits to fully appreciate what’s on offer.

We try to organise regular trips to Newcastle as an Association, often liaising with the nearby universities of Newcastle and Northumbria. Last year’s great Q­Ball, our end of year formal, culminated in a throng of students descending on the scene in full formal regalia and glittered, painted faces.

Bars (Scotswood Road)

The Eagle is one of Newcastle’s more “niche” bars. Catering to the leather fans, the bears, the smokers, some might say that the Eagle is not for the faint hearted, but it makes for a fantastic place to people­watch. Known for its dark room and week­time strippers.

The Bank stands proudly in the entertainment side of the Triangle. Hosting acts ranging from drag to poetry, comedy to karaoke, the Bank is for those looking for a relaxed and even cultured side to the nightlife. And if that’s not enough, cheap drinks, pool table and loud inter­culture cheese music!

Switch is widely considered to be where it’s at, so to speak, and is usually favoured as a warm up before jumping through the side door into Loft (see the Club section). If you’re careful with the drinks, whose price tends to leap a little towards the end of the night, then the chic design, club­style dance floor and personal DJ will keep you coming back for more. Another drunk karaoke favourite!

The Yard and Heaven’s Above come as a couple, and are in fact the two longest established gay venues in Newcastle. Below, the Yard offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with regular karaoke nights. This is believed to be the place to go to make casual friends. Up the stairs throbs Heavens Above, energetic and pulsing with music, and known for its gender mix and pole dancing.

Bars (Times Square)

Baron and Baroness is situated in the heart of Times Square, attracting a wide and varied clientele due to its proximity to the popular club Digital. The Baron is one of the most popular sites on Venue due to its location and unique gothic feel. With a myriad of music styles, a resident DJ and the odd cabaret act it’s a good thing there’s ample floor for dancing!

Like The Baron, Twist is gay­friendly rather than exclusively gay, and as such attracts a mixed crowd. Relax in the comfy seats and enjoy the top end techno video systems.

Bars (Other)

The Dog is a personal favourite for starting off a good night. Quiet enough to chat but with good dancing music, the Dog tends to be more a bar for the ladies but will attract everyone for its eclectic and cheap drinks. Memorable nights have seen us drink from a bowl, pitcher and teapot. Upstairs from the bar there is a peaceful karaoke room with a smaller bar, perfect for making friends.

Recently inheriting its place in the scene from old Camp David, Eazy Street offers a trendy alternative to the scene. Live entertainment is very common with cabaret and drag acts promising to put a smile on your face. Drinks are also rather cheap with Monday setting trebles at a head­spinning £2. Tends to attract some straight people.

@ne (or At One) is the place to go for some funky house music! With comfy seats and great drinks deals we expect to see you there for the BOGOF cocktails, Sunday to Thursday.

Newcastle Nightclubs

Loft can be found above Switch and is Newcastle’s only gay club open 7 nights a week! The cheap and cheerful atmosphere makes it very popular, as does the peaceful roof top terrace. Should you be feeling daring, try their weekly dating game, Monday’s “Shag Tag”, where drinks are only £1. Saturday sees £2 drinks all day.

Powerhouse is not only a personal favourite, but stands up for its name by being the key player when it comes to Newcastle nightlife. Seeing in the night to 4 o’clock, you can expect to see most bar crawls ending up with a dazzling crescendo in the multicoloured lights of the dance floor. While the nightclub stretches over 4 floors with a quiet outdoors terrace, dark velvetine dance bar and mysterious VIP room you’ll probably spend most of the night in the main room. Perhaps the only place around where you’ll find that cool sixties lit­square dance floor, the music tends towards high energy remixes of pop, R‘n’B and dance music, though the odd mass conga and hokey cokey keep things original. Often has appearances from Z­list pop stars, X Factor rejects and 90s comeback bands. Remember your campus card for discounts!


For the Queens Campus Students Middlesbrough scene is only a short trip of a few minutes from the campus. Don’t worry though, we do our best to organise inter­campus trips to both Newcastle and Middlesbrough when we can.

The Oak lies across from Middlesbrough bus station. It has a traditional feel with a relaxed atmosphere and pool tables during the day, and magically turns into something approaching a gay venue at night. Tuesday night is “Pop Tarts”, local bands play on Thursday and there are various DJ nights at the weekend.

POUT is a gay night held on the last Friday of every month at Onyx Rooms, a universal nightclub with student nights on Wednesdays. POUT is known for its pride in eclectic and outstanding music.

SATUR­GAY is a gay night held, unsurprisingly, on Satudays at the Cornerhouse on Exchange Place. Choose between new and old house and dance music in one room, and 90s cheese in the second room, affectionately known as “The Camp Lounge”. We recommend this for late nights after a trip around the bars, as it may only open at 11 but the party goes on til half three!