Being open about your sexuality in college, no matter where you lie on the spectrum, is critical to personal development. A nurturing and accepting environment is key – an environment that Geneseo has the potential to foster. Coming out in college was refreshing; unlike high school, when I winced at the idea that my flamboyantly glowing green cardigan was a weency bit too obvious or that I blurted out a zippy one-liner unknowingly.
When I was in high school, it was not about acceptance but flying under the “gay-dar.” In the locker room, I prayed that the pubescent basketball jock didn’t catch my glances at his first emerging locks of chest hair. In college, for me, it is less about acceptance but more about being boxed into a stereotype.
To say Geneseo is a whole-heartedly accepting place would be a farce; some LBTQ-plus students grapple with a homophobic roommate or a disapproving town resident. Late on a Saturday night once, a fraternity brother sneered “What, are you in Crows?” to my partner and me while we walked back to my house. He was poking fun at a fraternity that has several gay members, me among them.
But this isn’t the type of frustration that I find myself dealing with most often. Many people tout that Geneseo has an open-minded campus because it is a liberal arts college as if the community is impervious to any sort of misguided prejudice – and there is some validity to that. Geneseo is a pretty “open” place.
It is as though, in this spirit, some people get it wrong. In a “post-acceptance” environment, misunderstanding can be highest among my peers. When they learn I am gay, the point of conversation always seems to move toward clothing or dancing or gossiping.
Of all the possible states in this world, I do not consider myself a “bad bitch.” I hate when girls grind up on me and I do not enjoy making out with them to be ironic. I am gay, and that does not mean it is funny to sexualize me because I am innately not attracted to the female gender. In fact, it bothers me that I am seen as some generic drag-donning flamboyant camp gay.
Coming out is a process, one that is difficult and is not solely forward flouncing. I felt and was influenced by these pressures at one point and have evolved from it. Conforming to the expectations of those whom you consider to be your friends can be challenging. At a time when you are discovering your identity, others are infringing on it and giving social cues to perceived norms: “Act this way and you will be accepted and liked. It’s atypical if you are gay and aren’t good at dancing,” you think to yourself.
That is not to say that you are stereotypically gay if you do exhibit these qualities. It is about feeling comfortable and accepted for the tendencies that you display, not the tendencies others think you should display.