In a 2020 essay for The Tulane Hullabaloo, Shahamat Uddin observed that college is “the beaming light at the end of the tunnel” for many closeted high-schoolers:Confined to small suburban hometowns and stifled by the ignorance of our young peers, we knew that there was a version of ourselves just waiting for a moment to be on its own.
We could finally flourish and thrive in the fruitful and all-encompassing gay life pop culture promised us.(That one song-and-dance scene from Love, Simon—mentioned in one of the tweets below—comes to mind.)For some queer young adults, college does indeed offer that freedom to flourish and thrive.
Jor-El Caraballo, an LGBTQ-centric therapist who co-created Viva Wellness, told Elite Daily in 2018 that college-bound LGBTQ students can expect “a sense of relief in sharing a part of yourself with others that has remained hidden for long”—and that “opening up in [in college] can lead you to more intimate and fulfilling relationships which may be the foundation for years to come.”Related: Gay men more likely to have college degrees, and this could be the reason whyBut gay college life presents its own set of challenges.
Uddin, for example, struggled to find community at Tulane. “I had hoped to come to college and meet people organically, but when compounded with an overwhelmingly straight party culture reinforced by Greek life, it felt like the only way to meet other gay people was through dating apps—and thereby hooking up,” he wrote.In a blog post about being gay at Dartmouth this May, meanwhile, student Jack Heaphy observed that the school has a “overarching heteronormative culture” but is otherwise comfortable. “The only issue I have faced is sometimes being tokenized or treated differently.