This Sussex Life:Talia Fogelman, American Studies and English: “Pride is a place to mourn and a place to celebrate"
Talia Fogelman, who is working towards a BA in American Studies and English, is joining others from the University of Sussex in taking part in this year’s Brighton & Hove Pride parade on Saturday 3 August.
364 days of the year as a Queer person I am constantly coming out, constantly educating and constantly wary of legislation that could infringe on my rights. It is impossible to be a politically inactive Queer person. Pride is a space for me to express myself as a Queer person, to protest against the injustices of the other 364 days of the year and to commemorate and continue the work of LGBTQI+ siblings that have come before me. Pride is a place to mourn and a place to celebrate the progress that we as a community have made but, above all, it is a protest - it is a reminder of how far we have to go.
It is important to celebrate Pride because the rights of the LGBTQI+ community have increased exponentially. However, those rights did not come easily and they are not secure. We see this in the number of countries where it is illegal to be gay and it is illegal to be trans. Pride is there to celebrate the progress we have made, to remember the Stonewall riots and to protest the injustices that continue to occur.
I’m going into my second year of my undergraduate degree and my third year of study at Sussex as I did a foundation year. I chose Sussex because it felt like a university that aligned with my values. I was really excited to move to Brighton because of its reputation as a hub for activism and I loved the content of the course. Moving to the LGBTQI+ capital of the UK was an added bonus.
My experience so far has been fantastic for the most part. I love studying at Sussex and Brighton began to feel like home almost immediately. Having the social norm of wearing pronoun badges around me reaffirms for me the size of the LGBTQI+ community at Sussex. While my experience has not been perfect, most of the time I have felt incredibly supported by the University and the Students’ Union.
To me being involved at Sussex is integral to my identity. I am so proud to be at the University and have loved being involved in the Students’ Union for the last two years. Sussex is the first time in my education that I have felt completely comfortable being out. To me, marching while representing Sussex is about showing that academia is not for one type of person. If you are LGBTQI+ you can still contribute to your academic environment, you can still thrive in academia; you just might do it with more flair than those who are cisgender and heterosexual.