LGBT+ Welfare

Cambridge colleges are warm and welcoming places for students who identify as LGBT+, and Downing is no exception. Whatever your sexuality and gender, Downing works to be as inclusive as possible. Both Downing and the university offer welfare and support for students who identify as LGBT+, along with an exciting social calendar to provide opportunities to meet other people who identify as LGBT+. You can get more information about LGBT+ welfare and events by joining the Downing and CUSU LGBT+ mailing lists and Facebook groups (see below for details).

Downing has an active welfare team, who are always happy to talk, or just to listen. If you want to talk about anything related to sexuality and/or gender, feel free to get in touch with the LGBT+ Officers in college. They can be contacted via email at [email protected], and contacted anonymously here. If you’d like to chat in person, they will be more than happy to arrange a meeting. Anything discussed with any of the welfare officers is always in complete confidence.

You can also get in touch with any of the CUSU LGBT+ Welfare Officers (part of the university-wide LGBT+ campaign), who will also be happy to talk. The CUSU LGBT+ Welfare Officers include some more specific roles, including Women’s Rep, Bi Rep, Trans* Rep and BME Rep. The current CUSU LGBT+ committee list can be found here.

Sexual health

Downing JCR is committed to promoting safe sex. As part of its commitment, sexual health supplies are available from all of the welfare officers; these include condoms, oral dams and pregnancy tests. You can request any of these supplies from any of the welfare officers by emailing them – you can then arrange to collect them from the welfare officer in person, or you can request that they are put in your pigeonhole in a sealed envelope.

All of the welfare officers are on hand to talk about sexual health concerns, but you may also be interested in contacting Edel Gower, the college nurse. She is very friendly and approachable, and runs drop-in sessions throughout the term in O5 at the following times:

  • Monday-Wednesday: 1-3pm
  • Thursday: 11am-1pm
  • Friday: 1-3pm

She can also be contacted by email at [email protected].

LGBT+ social events and swaps

Downing and the university both put on social events throughout the year for students who identify as LGBT+. To keep up to date with the social calendar, you can subscribe to the Downing mailing list or join our Facebook group (see below).

Within college, we host a fortnightly LGBTea and Cake where you can catch up with other members of the college, and we also host film nights of LGBT+ interest. We also hold pre-drinks on Tuesday evenings for Glitterbomb, the LGBT+ club night in Cambridge

Downing also engages in swaps with LGBT+ groups from other colleges. This provides a great way of meeting more individuals around the university who identify as LGBT+. Swaps generally involve going to another college’s formal/brunch, or the LGBT+ group from another college coming to Downing’s formal/brunch. They can also happen at restaurants around Cambridge, which gives you a great reason to dine out!


The students’ union at Cambridge, CUSU, has a number of autonomous campaigns that work to promote the welfare of minority students. CUSU LGBT+ is the campaign responsible for, as you would expect, LGBT+ students at the university. They provide another source of support outside of Downing, as well as putting on their own events of LGBT+ interest.

CUSU LGBT+ holds various social events throughout the term. This includes a university-wide coffee social and an LGBT+ club night called Glitterbomb. For more specific information about events run by CUSU LGBT+, you can join the Downing LGBT+ or CUSU LGBT+ mailing lists (see below).

CUSU LGBT+ also publishes a termly magazine called Get Real. This includes articles, artwork, poetry and short stories of LGBT+ interest, written by Cambridge students. Their website can be found here.

Facebook groups

Downing LGBT+ has a secret Facebook group where events of LGBT+ interest are publicised. You can join the Facebook group by emailing the LGBT+ Officers at [email protected], or by messaging them on Facebook. Only members of the Facebook group can see who else is a member (i.e. other people at Downing who identity as LGBT+).

You can also join the CUSU LGBT+ Facebook group via the link here. Note, however, that membership of this group is visible to everyone.

Mailing lists

To keep up to date with events both in college, and at the university level, you may be interested in subscribing to the following mailing lists:

  • Downing College LGBT+ Mailing List – Email [email protected] and ask to be added to the mailing list. Only the LGBT+ Officer has access to the list of subscribers.
  • CUSU LGBT+ Mailing List – This is the university-wide mailing list. To join, go to and select ‘Join list in Mailman’. Only the list administrator (who is a member of the CUSU LGBT+ committee) has access to the list of subscribers.


If you are a Fresher who identifies as LGBT+, you should consider joining our secret Facebook group and subscribing to the Downing LGBT+ mailing list (to join either, email the JCR LGBT+ Officers at [email protected]). Only the LGBT+ Officers know who is on the mailing list, and only members of the Facebook group can see who the other members are.

There is also a CUSU LGBT+ parenting scheme that you might be interested in being a part of. Similar to the college parenting scheme, you’ll be assigned parents who’ll show you around in the first few weeks; in particular, they’ll give you an LGBT+ perspective of Cambridge life. You can join the scheme here.

Please also consider attending the Downing LGBT+ Freshers’ events, which are held at the start of Michaelmas. More information about these will be emailed out at the start of term.

Useful links

Downing Contacts

CUSU LGBT+ links

Other useful links