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I’m Coming Out Part 4: Shaion Small

You may never have the opportunity to meet Beyoncé, Adele or Leonardo DiCaprio, but Aberdeen Uni has its own celebrity and he is more than likely to be available for a photo-op or autograph signing. All hail Shaion Small:

 

Shaion is the first 2-time Her Campus interviewee and we couldn’t be more thrilled! His love for people and easy going personality is so magnetic; it’s no wonder he’s loved by all, particularly us collegiettes. Shaion is a 4th year student at the University of Aberdeen who is very active in the student council, especially for equality, and he is gay! Since we already did an interview focusing on his Uni life, this time we decided to go deeper and find out what makes Shai tick. Here are a few things we discussed with him:  

 

HC: Describe young Shai?

Shaion: I was rather quiet and preferred to listen, I really wasn’t as social as I am now and I had a tight group of friends that had similar interests to me. I was very interested in learning about ancient history, space and the universe.
 
HC: Since you’re Caribbean, can you say that your family accepts LGBT+?

Shaion: My grandparents aren’t open to LGBT+ but my family here in the UK are ok.

 

 

HC: When did you decide to “come out the closet”?

Shaion: When I was younger I never really felt the need to come out, I was just being me you know. I decided to tell my friends in 2nd year that I was gay and they were surprised. They couldn’t tell I was gay, they just thought I was who I was.

 

 

HC: How did your family react?

Shaion: When I first told my mother she said it was amazing but after a while I found her crying. I think she just felt that as a black person society already has a stigma against me and now I will be undergoing a new form of discrimination.

 

 

HC: There is little representation of Black people in the LGBT+ society, are you treated justly within your community?

Shaion: A year ago I would have said there is a lot more discrimination added onto people of colour, like someone once told me he’d never date me cause I’m black. Also being black in the LGBT+ society is over-sexualised; a guy said to me that he thought I’d be more butch. It’s so demeaning to a point that it’s actually off putting. But now I try and make things the way I want to see them, I wont let a few ignorant people put me off.

 

 

HC: Your fashion sense is on maximum, who inspired you?

Shaion: My mom told me that when I dress I should dress to tell people a story that I want them to know.

 

HC: What’s your story?

Shaion: I didn’t grow up in the nicest neighbourhood, there was a stereotype linked to being from around there; my story is to be more than what people see. In my mind I wanted to be more than what was going on around me. My mother worked really hard to get us out of that neighbourhood and into a better one. That’s why I work hard in all that I do and I even got a scholarship to attend UoA.

 

 

HC: Last year the Aberdeen Uni LBGT+ society fell, why do you thing this happened? 

Shaion: “I think its cause we weren’t really there for each other, so people probably felt like they didn’t need it. But with the Forum we’ve started the Queer Best Friend programme, which is a lot more effective. We get a lot more LGBT+ use and it also helps with mental health issues.”

 

 

HC: Do you think the University is accommodating to Gay people?

Shaion: I think that the university notices that there are gay people and they don’t show any sort of discrimination, so I think that’s enough on their part.

 

 

HC: What do you think of Aberdeen’s LGBT+ social life?

Shaion: It’s horrible! I think its ‘cause there’s not a lot of empowerment within the community.

 

 

HC: For a parent who’s child just told them they’re LBGT+, what advice would you give them.

Shaion: I would say they should still treat their children as though nothing has changed, ‘cause nothing has changed. They’re still your child. Parents should just be there for them, there should be no difference in how you treat your whether they are straight or LGBT+.

 

 

HC: Lastly, what would you like to tell your younger self?

Shaion: Always be open and never give up!

 
Thanks Shai for chatting to us and becoming our first ever double interviewee!

 

+South African/Burundian +Spiritual, Global Citizen, Winter Worshipper, Human Rights Activist, Slightly Dark Minded, Novel Lover, Football Fanatic and Poet
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