By Chloe Coules
This month, Lucy, a former student at the University of Bath, would have turned 21. Sadly, she will never see this milestone, having lost her life to depression on 17th March 2020. She was an unmissable presence at our university, and whilst she died quietly, her legacy and loss are felt deeply by all who knew her.
Lucy was in her second year, studying computer science at the University. She was greatly involved with the SU, elected onto the MusicSoc committee twice- both as secretary and events manager – she played countless gigs and open mics, and even had the time to help Bath Time; offering her experiences to our journalists and modelling for our November cover story. She was a staple of Bath nightlife too, working at Moles and opening for many local bands in venues around the city.
My university experience would not have been the same without Lucy. We met at a local gig as I was on my way home; I recognised her from photographing her old band a year before. We only spoke in passing, but that chance encounter changed my life in ways I am still discovering. After that we spent every day together. My fondest memories of university revolve around her – playing in our band, dancing the night away, or just hanging out with a picnic in the park.
There’s a quote from Laverne Cox that feels especially poignant now: “trans women, and trans people in general, show everyone that you can define what it means to be a man or woman on your own terms. A lot of what feminism is about is moving outside of expectations of who and what you’re supposed to be to live a more authentic life”. Lucy was more authentic that anyone I had ever met, and it took a lot of bravery for her to discover herself in this way.
On one evening, when First Bus was predictably late, she got out her guitar and covered songs for the queue. Performing was when she was at her happiest; she needed her voice to be heard. She told me how when she first started singing people had laughed, but she never let this put her off doing what she loved. Music was her identity.
She came out to us one New Year’s Eve, and we called her by her chosen name for the first time. I gave her my old clothes and taught her how to do her makeup and hair. I remember the look on her face when she saw herself in one of my dresses and makeup for the first time, like the door of the cage that her body had become had been opened. She went from my best friend to my sister.
Her university experience was not as easy as it should have been. On top of the usual student worries, she had to contend with struggles with her mental health and identity. I interviewed her earlier this year about an incident where she and her girlfriend were the target of a transphobic attack , not long after which she had to suspend her studies.
On the surface, you would never have noticed the turmoil she faced. Lucy was a force of nature; she wore her flaws like badges of honour and refused to be silenced by anyone. We can all learn a lot from her about embracing who we are and taking up the space we deserve. She will continue to be greatly missed by all who knew her.