We chatted with FUSE, Cambridge’s only Society for Queer People of Colour, on the significance of empowering LGBTQ+ students on campus. LGBTQ+ students have made university societies their adoptive home. Their members, their history, and their current actions and campaigns are so important that we at Hype Collective felt we had to learn more and share what we discovered. Using our network of university societies, we contacted FUSE, a Cambridge LGBTQ+ chapter, and asked them to describe what they do, how they do it, and why.
Hype: Hey FUSE! Thank you for speaking to us. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your society?
FUSE:Hey Hype! FUSE is Cambridge’s only Society for Queer People of Colour. We’re a community with lots of unique and shared experiences and the purpose of our society is to provide a space for enjoyment as well as action.
Hype: How did your society celebrate History Month this year? In the past two previous years, History Month and Pride Month have both fallen during lockdown restrictions. How was this year different?
FUSE:We’ve had the opportunity to host a number of in-person events this year, which we’re so pleased about. Just the ability to introduce other members of FUSE, like freshers, who may not know how big the society is, is such a privilege.
Hype: Throughout the year, what kinds of activities does FUSE put on for their society members?
FUSE:We’ve had movie nights, discussion events, brunches, and we have a speed mixer and games night coming up. We’ve also collaborated with organisers for really fun club nights.
Hype: If you could sum up the society and their members in 3 words what would they be?
FUSE: Active, Creative and Welcoming
Hype: What are some things you think universities can do for the LGBTQ+ community that they’re not doing?
FUSE:Universities absolutely need to be more proactive about ensuring that they are actively fostering inclusive spaces to match their diversity goals. It isn’t worth it to invite more Queer People to study in a university still afflicted by bigotry.
Hype: Previously, you’ve told us that FUSE hold panels and forums. What are some of the topics you’ve covered and which have been the most interesting?
FUSE:We’ve covered many topics, but I think one of my favourites was about discovering gender/sexuality when in a strictly religious household, and how within vene that small scope, so many people had different stories. Some of us found it freeing, some didn’t. It was sobering and quite fascinating.
Hype: How can fellow students be allies to LGBTQ+ societies and help heighten voices?
FUSE:It’s important to centre the voices of Queer People, particularly Queer People of Colour, when they share their experiences in Cis-het spaces in uni. The only way we can make our events, societies and even relationships better is by being aware of the different nuances our experience can bring. Also, being a Queer Person in Uni can be very isolating. One way straight allies can help is by boosting and sharing information about our societies so more people are aware.
Hype: Are there any resources you suggest for allies to learn about LGBTQ+ History to better educate themselves?
FUSE:A lot of community organising staples like Stonewall and UK Black Pride have excellent resources for better allyship. Allies should also listen to and take seriously the advice and experiences of marginalised people in their lives, as well as local LGBTQ+ charities and organisers whom they can also support.
Hype: Finally, are there any organisations or resources you’d like to shout out for LGBTQ+ History Month?
FUSE: As aforementioned, your local LBGTQ+ charities, especially those that focus on disadvantaged groups are extremely valuable and need your support. We would also recommend boosting the Black LGBTQ Therapy Fund, African Rainbow Family, House of Rainbow and other nationwide resources. It remains crucial that we are aware of struggles for Queer Liberation worldwide. Orgs like GATE and IRQR are really useful for this.