If you ask Cet Heartkin, 31, why Norwich has the highest percentage of people who identify as bisexual in England and Wales, they will explain it clearly.
They point to its status as a university town with a young, vivacious population that has flourished as a result of people who share similar values coming together and discussing their experiences and thoughts.
According to Cet, “Norwich has always been an island in Norfolk” and “we’ve always welcomed strangers and people who are different.”
The highest percentage of any local authority in England and Wales, 3.89 percent of Norwich’s 213,000 residents identify as bisexual, according to the Office of National Statistics. The percentage rises to nearly 7% in the City Centre West area of Norwich.
According to Cet, “most of the people you know are bi” if you are part of the queer community in any way.
“There are also a lot of people who have moved from Brighton to Norwich, so we’re seen as a queer city on par with Brighton and just as safe,” says one person.
The drag performer and relationship and sex educator moved from London to Great Yarmouth as a child before moving to Norwich about five years ago.
Cet is a non-binary person who is married to a man. However, she is also in a polyamorous relationship with a boyfriend and a partner who is not a man.
They assert, “Culturally, it’s a very different kettle of fish.” People in Norwich are usually much more open to new ideas and don’t usually mind if you tell them you’re bisexual.
There is a common misconception that bisexuals are avaricious; that we deceive,” they assert.
“All of my partners are familiar with one another; All of them are friends.
“Having three relationships at once requires a lot of emotional and communication work, but lying and cheating are harder.”
Even though Cet says that Norwich generally feels like a safe place, they are worried about how transgender and non-binary people are treated.
“This occurred during the summer, when there were protests and retaliations against the Drag Story Time at The Forum.
“While there was still a lot of harmful rhetoric being said, it was really nice to see the community of Norwich stand up for the queer community.”
Cet says they hope that the census’s new information will help institutions like the local police and councils improve training and education policies for LGBTQ+ issues.
In addition, despite the significance of Norwich’s Pride celebration to the city’s calendar, they argue that inclusivity needs to be emphasized more throughout the year.
However, Cet, who sings in the city’s Pride choir, asserts that the LGBTQ+ community in the area is solid.
“The city’s queer community puts in a lot of effort to support one another.
They assert, “I’m really proud to live in Norwich because of that.”
“There are many places for queer people to be themselves, but we are the ones who have had to work for it and build it from the ground up.
“The greater the likelihood of positive outcomes, the more people see us and are aware of our existence.”
Before moving to Norwich about eight years ago, Dr. Sam Rowe lived in a village on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk.
“I am transgender; The 32-year-old, who works as a public engagement officer at Norwich Research Park, says, “I only came out about two years ago.”
He claims that the LGBTQ+ community in Norwich is “very relaxed and very welcoming,” despite its small size.
He says he feels “very lucky” for that.
“It also feels relatively secure. I’m completely at ease when I’m holding hands with my boyfriend; but that’s just as much a personal thing as it is about a city.”
Now that these statistics are known for the first time, what changes, if any, would he like to see?
“We have a few pubs and clubs, but there isn’t a community space, somewhere that isn’t about drinking,” “It would be nice to have more LGBT places.”
When Aaron Campbell, a 19-year-old undergraduate from London, decided to come out as bisexual, he arrived at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.
According to him, “I remember turning up to my first ever university Pride Society meeting and literally having a panic attack — it was a big momentous occasion for me.”
He found “comfort” in Norwich, and now that he is the welfare, community, and diversity officer for the Students’ Union at the university, he is determined to repay some of the kindness he received when he first started working there.
The 24-year-old asserts, “The president and vice president at the time took me under their wing and supported me.”
“I recall the predecessor to my position and how she would involve me, ensure that I was being cared for, and visit me.
“Most of these things made me feel like I belonged in the community.”
“The Students’ Union has done so much for me and my personal coming out journey,” she says.
He claims that the LGBTQ+ community in the city is closer-knit than London’s and has a “homeliness” to it.
Mr. Campbell asserts, “Sometimes you just feel a bit more overwhelmed.”
“I went to both Pride parades the year before, and while I love London Pride, it was hot and crowded with over two million people.
“However, I felt like I was in a place with people I really knew in Norwich.”
Mr. Campbell says that he hopes the new census data will show that the LGBTQ+ community has a bigger presence in the community than people might have thought.
He states, “I think more could be done to show solidarity because there have been a lot of issues with homophobia and transphobia in recent times, and the university is very vocal about them.”
“We must continue to create spaces; sometimes queer people are left to do this on their own, but it would be nice to have that support to create spaces that are bigger and better.”