skip to content

Department of Sociology

A rainbow flag hangs over the river Cam

A new report published today on LGBTQ+ wellbeing and experiences reveals that while many feel Cambridge offers a “safe and empowering” community, there is an added burden of “emotional labour” to being LGBTQ+ at a leading academic institution. 

A new study of the experiences of LGBTQ+ staff and students at the University of Cambridge has found that the majority of people living and working here feel “welcomed, supported, valued, safe and protected” – a marked contrast to how some LGBTQ+ alumni described their time at the University.

One such description comes from Sandy Toksvig, who recounts in her new memoir how, as a student, she was formally investigated by her Cambridge college for having a relationship with a woman. The experience left her feeling "humiliated and shunned". Her college has since apologised and this year granted Toksvig with an honorary fellowship.

In the new "Out at Cambridge" report, researchers from the Department of Sociology say their findings confirm “significant progress” in the experiences of LGBTQ+ people at the institution, but caution that there are still individuals within the community who feel “displaced and isolated”.

The report is one of the first outputs from Q+@cam: a programme that promotes research, outreach and network-building related to queer, trans and sexuality studies at the University of Cambridge. 

“This research shows that, for many, Cambridge is one of the safest and most empowering communities they have ever experienced,” said Prof Sarah Franklin, Head of Sociology and Director of the Q+@cam network, who designed and led the study.

“However, a small group of LGBTQ+ staff and students experiences Cambridge as unwelcoming and isolating. While much progress has been made, more still needs to be done for a portion of the community – and we found that small changes can make a big difference.”

Read the full news story and download the report via the lgbtQ+@cam website.

A World Leader

The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in Sociology, consistently ranked first in UK league tables by The Guardian, The Independent and The Times.

Read more >