Tips for Gay College Students

What Gay Students in High School and College Should Know

Are you gay and out in high school or college? Or are you planning on coming out at school? College is much less insular than high school campuses can be, but both can be great times to express yourself and explore your interests. These suggestions can help you make the best out of your college or high school experience.

Dorms and Residence Halls 

Living in a residence hall as a freshman was the first time I ever lived on my own.

It was overwhelming at first, but I was excited to get away from home. I knew I was attracted to guys; but I was way too scared to explore my feelings so I stayed in the closet for a while. I was also somewhat distant from my co-ed hallmates. I feared my secret might ruin my new friendships.

What I would have done differently: Looking back on the situation, most of the guys and girls around me were also excited about being away from home and exploring their own interests. Months later, when I did come out, I found that most of them didn't care at all. I wasted great bonding time and denied myself some wonderful experiences by not being myself. Of course, you should only come out when you're ready, and I wasn't at the time. But try not to make assumptions about your new hallmates. They're looking to find themselves in their own ways, and you're entitled to do the same.

Finding Gay Friends 

After months of thinking I was the only one, I ran across a guy in one of my classes who I thought might be gay.

Tired of having no one to talk with about my sexuality, I did everything I could to befriend him. I joined his math group. I asked if he wanted to study together. I made random comments about lectures. We eventually became good friends and came out to each other.

What I would have done differently: I invested a lot of time into trying to figure out if one guy was gay, as if he was my only option.

And while it paid off and I had a new gay friend, I think I should have explored more. There were many gay and gay-friendly groups on campus that I could have joined. I could have also reached out and befriended more of my dorm friends. I later found out that they knew other gay people and they could have helped me make a connection. Don't put all your hopes on one person when you're looking for gay friends on campus. Explore and be proactive about your search.

Dating 

I longed for a boyfriend, especially after I started meeting gay friends. I would chat with guys online, but i either couldn't get up the nerve to meet them or I just didn't think they were a good fit. I didn't give up my search, though. I knew that I'd eventually make a connection with a guy I liked. When I did meet my first boyfriend, it was in the most unlikely of places – a club I'd joined. It wasn't a gay club, but there were gay guys in it. I eventually became friends with a few of the guys because we spent so much time together at club meetings. I became especially close with one of them. He was my first boyfriend and my first love.

What I would have done differently: I became more and more eager to find a man before I met my first boyfriend.

It would have been best if I had just let the situation happen instead of letting my desperation drive my actions. Usually, the best dating situations happen in the most unlikely of circumstances. When I stopped seeking, I found a great guy. Just like making gay friends, it's best to get out there and explore social or academic options on campus. You and another great single guy will eventually find each other. Another lesson I learned was to take a more active role in my safety, which brings me to the next topic.

Online Hookups and Campus Safety 

Meeting someone online is a cool way to get to know them, at least initially. I would chat with guys online during study breaks and off time. I developed an entire network of online buddies. But then I wanted to meet them face-to-face. No online dating questionnaire or number of chat hours can replace an in-person chemistry check.

What I would have done differently: There were many times when I would meet up with online guys only to discover that we didn't quite connect in person. Also, I didn't take my safety into account often enough. Unfortunately, not everyone online is on the up-and-up. Always follow these safety tips before meeting an online buddy in person. If you have a roommate or close buddy, give him your schedule and keep him up on where you're traveling around campus, especially at night. 

When It's Time for Sex 

Some people choose to explore same gender sexual experiences while in college. A first same-sex experience can either be a wowing confirmation of your emotional attractions, not at all what you expected, or a little bit of both. 

Suggestions: Take your time when you're exploring the physical aspects of your sexuality. There's no rush and a prize doesn't go to the quickest explorer. It's best to be selective. Get to know the person, get proof of his HIV status, practice safe sex and always keep your safety in mind.