"I finally feel like I belong somewhere..."

18 February 2021

International student Orestis posing with friends at a Christmas party
LGBTQ+ SV_Orestis
Type: Text
Category: Student life

LGBTQ+ History Month. 

In this article, Orestis collates a year's worth of diary entries into a powerful piece about sexual identity and self-discovery.


Dear Survivor,

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Here we go again. Wake up, ‘’go’’ to school, ‘’go’’ to your foundation classes, study, sleep, eat, REPEAT. Our new reality. ‘’Going’’ somewhere these days means, sitting on my bed doing my classes online… I’ve always wondered what life is like after finishing school. What it’s like being at University? I want a change. I want to meet more people. I want to see the world.

But then again reality kicks in. Me studying for a future that I might not even have. Me having a dream that I’ll leave and go overseas, meet a handsome man, studying Fashion Marketing and partying with my flat mates. BUT, will we ever be able to see each other in person and even hug? Without being afraid to touch, to kiss, to breathe…? Will I ever be able, to walk with my partner out in the open? Without people looking at us like we are sick? Like we are animals?

Friday 17th July 2020

Everything is going great! I have an unconditional offer to Falmouth University. Found the perfect accommodation and the perfect place to live. I know, I know… I shouldn’t get too excited. Covid-19 is still around. But we are out?! At least, in Greece. Not so sure what’s happening in England. At least, let’s have fun while it’s summer!

The perfect beach, the perfect guy. Is he straight or gay though? Can’t even tell these days… He is so handsome though. Should I kiss him? Should I ask him on a date?

Monday 31st August 2020

We spend the night together! His lips, his aroma… I will never forget. But I knew no one could find out. 

Sadly, in Greece we are still living in the past. Don’t get me wrong, you can be with a man, but it is something that people still do not accept.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any gay couples holding hands publically… and that’s sad, isn’t it? But back to the guy now. What should I do? Am I going to see him again? Well, I’m leaving in less than 2 weeks so that’s it I guess. A beautiful summer story I will always remember!

I never imagined that I would be able to feel so free, and for that I am grateful.

Sunday 27th September 2020

It’s been two weeks since I’ve arrived. So much has happened. Firstly and most importantly, everyone speaks sooo fast. I thought I was good at English?! So that’s been interesting and sometimes difficult to navigate. Apparently, in England they use quite a lot of ‘’Slang’’. The first night I was here, there was this guy… a really good looking guy… staring at me for ages. I thought, oh he is cute! And then we started talking. I couldn’t understand a word… he said I was ‘’peng’’ and ‘’fit’’. I remember just looking at him and smiling without really understanding what he meant. I thought he said something rude to me… but apparently he was saying that I’m good-looking! And then he tried to kiss me. I stopped him because people were looking. But no one cared. I was so afraid…

Saturday 7th November 2020

Everything is going great! Remember when I told you about that guy I met? We kissed. PUBLIC. No one stared. No one cared! I can finally be completely open about my sexuality! And University has all these teams, like ResLife, that are there to check up on you. I finally feel like I belong somewhere!

To be honest though, it’s completely different compared to the city. Not going to lie, it’s a much smaller world, but you still have so many options! We have the beach just a breath away (I find them not quite as scenic and warm as Greek beaches but they’re still nice). The gay scene is not huge, but there’s an LGBTQ+ society that runs events all year long (even online).

For me, the main difference living here is knowing that there’s always someone there for you, who won’t judge upon race/sexuality/religion/disability. It is a dream come true. I never imagined that I would be able to feel so free, and for that I am grateful.

Until we meet again,

Orestis Collins


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