UK’s best cities for LGBTQ students revealed

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: A Progress Pride Flag is seen on Day Five of the cinch Championships at The Queen's Club on June 23, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

A new survey has shed light on the most welcoming cities in the UK for LGBTQ+ students.

Research by University Compare looked into more than 40 student cities in Britain to find the friendliest to the LGBTQ+ community.

It did so by comparing the size of the city’s queer population, local social groups and clubs, and interest in the area’s annual Pride event – as well as the number of recorded LGBTQ+ hate crimes. 

The study ranked the UK’s capital city of London as the top city for LGBTQ+ students. In second place was Brighton in Sussex, which only missing out on top spot because of a lower ranking for safety. 

The rest of the list featured popular student cities Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford, Nottingham, Bristol, Bournemouth and Liverpool.

The top 10 most LGBTQ-friendly cities for students in full:

  1. London
  2. Brighton
  3. Cambridge
  4. Manchester
  5. Edinburgh
  6. Oxford
  7. Nottingham
  8. Bristol
  9. Bournemouth
  10. Liverpool

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A spokesman for University Compare said: “Choosing a university is a big decision and understanding the inclusivity of its city is equally crucial. Our research into key aspects of LGBTQ+ life aims to empower students to make an informed choice about their education and potential new home. 

“We believe that every student deserves to study in an environment where they can be their authentic selves and we look forward to helping this year’s cohort find a place where they can live, learn and belong.”

Last year, a similar study by real estate website Clever ranked US cities by LGBTQ+ metrics, including queer population, gender-affirming healthcare providers, anti-trans legislation, Pride events, Don’t Say Gay laws and LGBTQ+ venues.

Maybe not surprisingly, San Francisco came out on top. The northern California city was described as a “welcoming and diverse haven”, because of the large number of gay bars, which made it a “vibrant hotspot for LGBTQ+ nightlife and culture”, and inclusive laws. 

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