LGBTQ life in London

If you identify as LGBTQ or are questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, London is probably one of the best places to live in the world! Many people come to London from other parts of the UK and beyond because of the mostly liberal attitude towards difference of any kind and the high level of acceptance of diverse sexualities and identities.

Make some friends

For many young people, the priority is to make friends, find like-minded people with whom you can really be yourself. For a lot of people this will be an important stage in the process of learning about yourself and feeling happy about who you are. Once you have this foundation, you are in a better place emotionally to venture out and develop more intimate relationships. If you choose to go out on ‘the scene’ it’s always more fun and a lot safer to do this with people you already know and feel comfortable with. The scene is about drinking, dancing and cruising, so don’t expect to make life-long friends that way, instead consider going along to a group where activities are designed to help young people get to know each other. These are just some of the places which run groups like this:

QM LGBT+ Society  seeks to provide a safe and sociable space for any and all QMUL students who identify under LGBT+ and which is also open to allies.

The Step Out Project is a service in Bethnal Green for LGBT young people under 25. Offers a free support and regular social events and support groups where young people can talk and get to know each other 

Imaan offers support for Muslim LGBT people, their families and friends. Address: 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6SL

London Friend provides free social events and various support groups for young men, women, trans people and a mixed group. Based in Kings Cross. Call 02078373337 every evening 7.30-10pm

Elop (East London Out Project) is a holistic lesbian and gay centre based in Walthamstow that offers a range of services to LGBT communities including counselling and young people’s services.

Queer Youth Network - aim is to represent the needs and views of younger LGBT people by campaigning for greater visibility and equal rights, as well as providing general support and information to those who are just coming out or who are experiencing homophobia.

QM LGBT Society seeks to provide a safe and sociable space for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer and Questioning students at Queen Mary and their allies. Regular socials, film nights, theatre trips, raise money for charity, debates and campaigns that may be of interest. On Facebook

Ready to dive into the social scene?

If you have already been grappling with identity issues for some time before coming to university, have an established friendship groups and feel confident about who you are, you may be ready to get out there and have fun. For many people this may mean hanging out with friends, eating together, talking, watching TV, playing games and enjoying the rich variety of mainstream bars, restaurant’s, movies, clubs, theatre etc.
For others there may be a pull towards London’s huge and diverse ‘gay scene’. There is the ‘Gay Village’ in Soho around the Compton Street area and an emerging alternative scene in East London. There are many listing sites for LGBTQ events in London including:-

Timeout London LGBT Guide – listings for bars, cabaret, clubs and many more…

Planet London – Listings and lifestyle website for savvy LBQ women in London, the UK and all over the world

QX Gay London Magazine and Boyz – bars, clubs, saunas and lots more for gay men

A word of caution

If all this is quite new to you, you may be tempted to go a bit crazy, like a child in a sweet shop, but be careful that others do not take advantage of you:-

  • Go out with friends rather than by yourself
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged
  • If you leave your group always tell someone where you are going and check in with them now and again if you are out for some time.
  • Travel home with someone else whenever possible, not alone late at night
  • If you have sex make it safe sex.


Still need to figure stuff out?

The Step Out Project is a service in Bethnal Green for LGBT young people under 25. Offers a free support, counselling and guidance service for young people coming to terms with their sexuality. 

Imaan offers support for Muslim LGBT people, their families and friends. Address: 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6SL

London Friend provides free counselling and social/support groups for anyone dealing with issues around their sexuality. Based in Kings Cross. Call 02078373337 every evening 7.30-10pm

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard provides free and confidential telephone support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities throughout the UK. Instant Messaging and email support also offered.

Gendered Intelligence offers a mentoring scheme for trans, gender variant and questioning people in education. The service is free and confidential. The idea is to provide one-on-one mentoring with a trans mentor to help trans students who may be struggling with managing gender issues, experiencing some of the challenges of living as a trans person in education or may have existing mental health issues which are exacerbated by being trans. More info

Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays UK - Tel: 0845 652 0311 – If you parents or friends are having difficulty accepting your sexuality tell them to have a look at this site

The Beaumont Trust is a national charity offering guidance and advice to those with gender identity problems.

The Gender Trust offers information and support for anyone affected by gender identity issues.

Pink Therapy is the UK’s largest independent LGBT therapy organisation working with gender and sexual diversity clients.

GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society) is a good source of information for trans and gender variant students. There is a section about issues affecting young trans people:

Albert Kennedy Trust – Offers support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis.