COI (pronounced coy) stands for Clare Orientation and Identity. We use this title rather than LGBT+ soc because we want to make it clear that, whilst some people might feel excluded from LGBT identities or feel restricted by the usual labels, we are welcoming to everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Coming to university can be a big and scary experience as it is, but for LGBT+ people it is often a chance to explore the new freedoms Cambridge can afford you – this is where COI comes in. We aim to make the transition to a new and possibly more free and expressive life as smooth as possible so you can focus on the important things, like making friends and getting your essays in. Every member of COI has been in this position before, and whilst we’ve all had different experiences, we are all lovely people who are willing to have a chat with you any time!  

The LGBT+ scene at Cambridge can seem a bit big and scary, especially if you’ve come from a small town or not had much experience in it before, but don’t worry – we’re here if you need us! CUSU LGBT+ run lots of fantastic and varied events tailored to cater to everyone throughout the year, and COI also run some designed for those in Clare College, such as formals, talks and movie nights. There is also the weekly club night at Life (Vinyl) on a Tuesday, Glitterbomb, which regularly hosts themed nights and drag acts. COI have prinks for this nearly every week, so keep an eye on social media to find out where to prep for the hottest night of the week.

COI also have a secret Facebook group (meaning nobody can see you’re in it except other members, avoiding any outings) to which people have to be invited by the admin (me!), so if you want to join just drop me (Frankie Kendal) a message on Facebook and I can add you.

COI Sub-Committee for Representation

Having an LGBT+ Officer on the UCS is so important, but one person cannot represent the whole variety of people who are part of COI. Clare therefore has a sub-committee of students to represent more specific interests. They work closely with the LGBT+ Officer to ensure we are representing all intersections of COI students. Any of us are up for a chat or to hear any ideas you have to further improve queer life at Clare.

A quick note on gender identity and trans inclusivity

Gender identity is often a new concept that people might not have experienced before coming to university, so we thought we’d just put this here. Gender identity is a spectrum, and lots of people fit many different places along it, so try and not assume somebody’s pronouns! It’s very easy to use they/them unless you know they identify as he or she, and if you are uncertain, it is great practice to privately and sensitively ask someone what their pronouns are – it’s better to ask once and know than to make an incorrect presumption! Introducing yourself with your own pronouns, just as you would your name, is also helpful for others and helps to normalise pronoun-asking. Further, avoid gender policing – there are gender neutral toilets in Memorial Court in J and S Staircases, but if you ever see anyone go into a toilet, just trust that they know their gender identity well enough to know which toilets to use!