How many times do you really want to hear, “Sorry, I’m straight,” before you decide to become a spinster at age 22? Let’s face it: it’s difficult to put yourself out there when it comes to dating. And when you align as LGBTA, you suddenly always worry whether the person you like finds you attractive or just has a penchant for sitting close and maintaining good eye contact. Suddenly, sitting at home and staying on Tumblr looks like a good idea, doesn’t it? Don’t resign to spinsterhood or a permanent relationship with your laptop.
Navigate LGBTA dating in college with these 7 tips.
1. Make a sassy gay friend
People hang out with like-minded people. Jocks hang out with jocks, nerds with nerds and guess what? Many LGBTA people hang out within that community. How many times have your straight friends met significant others through mutual friends? Turns out that’s not just a straight thing. Your gay roommate just may introduce you to a cute girl with whom you have a torrid affair (true story).
2. Date by GPS
Grindr: the gay man’s Tinder. Actually, the ‘social networking’ site advertises toward those who are gay, bisexual or bi-curious. Sure, random hookups and casual dates dominate Grindr, but who says more serious things haven’t come from one-night stands? Apps for lesbians, such as Dattch or FindHrr, are similarly effective. I dream about an app that tells me the girl nearby in the cafeteria finds me attractive, but for now Grindr and other GPS dating apps will make do.
3. Utilize your trusty friend, the Internet
Online dating is more reliable than Grindr when it comes to beginning a serious relationship. OkCupid results in a broad find of people close by, but, like most popular dating sites, it forces you to choose a gender for your profile. Datebound allows non-gender binary (you have more options than simply male/female) and helps you find people without leaving your couch, a must for lazy people like me.
4. Study your student body
What? I can get college credit trying to find a date? Well… not exactly. Many colleges, such as University of Maryland, Yale and Kent State, offer majors or minors in LGBT or queer studies. Assuming the average student doesn’t major in this field, most universities offer single-semester classes. These classes typically comprise of members of the LGBTA community, providing a non-threatening environment to get to know similar people (leading to new friendships at the very least).
5. Go outside for once, join a club
Most campuses have at least one LGBTA group on campus, oftentimes pertaining to particular subsets of the LGBTA community. These clubs, relating to LGBTA outreach, different races in the LGBTA community and support groups, often work in conjunction with the LGBTA center on campus. Yes, your campus probably has one tucked away somewhere, and this is where you find queer folk in between classes. We eat there, socialize there and even play board games there. Even if nothing results from your endeavor, at least you can say you tried getting involved in something other than Netflix.
6. Have a drink, or 5, at the bar
Bars, most importantly, force you to socialize. Going to a gay bar at least lowers the chance of you accidentally hitting on that girl you keep seeing in Starbucks who you hoped was a lesbian. Most college towns only have one gay bar for miles, attracting people from the community who you may not have met otherwise. Any form of interaction with people of the LGBTA community, even in an overcrowded and noisy bar, increases your chance of a date…or at least a good time for the night.
7. Put yourself out there, out of the closet
No, not every lesbian owns 23 plaid shirts and has short hair. And no, you don’t have to be the flamboyant leader of the pride parade. But you can show that you are out and proud in your own way. Like most of these tips suggest, the best way to find a date is to be active in the LGBTA community. I met my boyfriend through our college’s LGBTA center, and my “Bi–it’s not a myth” pin has raised plenty of interesting conversations. Wear a No H8 shirt, volunteer, put rainbows on your backpack; say that you’re here, you’re queer and you just want to go on a date.
BONUS: Wear a tank top to show your pride
College Magazine does not promote underage drinking. Please drink responsibly.
*Updated November 26, 2017 to include new media and images and bonus LGBT dating tip.