The Importance of Coming Out – rough draft part 1

Here is my first attempt


Coming out at college can be scary, even for those who have already come out elsewhere. I did not actually come out until the middle of my college career, but I wish I had come out sooner. There is a lot of reasons that coming out can be scary. The fear of rejection, persecution, and labeling are still very much alive in our modern times, but things are certainly better than they used to be.

These fears can often be amplified when someone is considering identifying himself/herself as gay from the moment they step foot on campus. Making friends in college is not easy for everyone, and the idea that by being honest about your sexuality you will most likely be narrowing your options from the beginning is not always appealing. It is not irrational to believe that the people who might reject you up front would accept you later, so long as they got to know you first. However, there is always the risk that those who you thought you could trust, will not only reject you but even making life harder on you after you’ve come out.

I think that the fear that some people might not like you if you are up front about your sexuality is very real, however the concept actually is nothing to be scared of. In fact, it is probably to your advantage to not be friends with people who would reject you for being honest about yourself. Friendship is not always easy, and it is important to have friends who are not just like you. If people don’t understand these concepts, they probably won’t make very good friends in the first place. Therefore, if this particular fear is what might make you hesitant about coming out, I would suggest you come out anyway. It might take you longer to make friends, but the ones you make will most likely stick with you through good times and bad.

Another common concern about coming out is roommates. If you don’t know your roommate before coming to college, you are already going to be filled with the average freshman concerns about whether or not you’ll be able to live together. Will you being gay be another problem? Will they be uncomfortable with it, and constantly think you are ogling them whenever you can? Normally you’ve got a  50/50 shot on whether this is going to be an issue for your roommate. I strongly urge not guessing based on first impressions. A kid who seems like a laid back stoner could just as easily not care as a highly religious straight edge one. The opposite is also true.

If you think you are going to be out at all during your first year, telling your roommate is probably always going to be a good idea, and it should be done sooner rather than later. Your roommate is going to most likely find out one way or another, and if he/she is going to have a problem with it, telling them early means they might be able to change rooms. This is not to say your first meeting should go like this:

Roommate A: Hey, I’m Peter.

Roommate B: Hey, I’m Jack, and yes I’m queer.

There are certain things about having this talk with your roommate to consider. First and foremost, you should probably wait to announce your sexuality until you two are alone. You certainly shouldn’t come out to your roommate while his parents are helping him/her unpack. Your roommate might be totally fine with you being gay, but his/her parents might be horrified at the idea. Your roommate might never even mention it to his/her parents, and you shouldn’t assume he/she has unless he\she tells you that he\she has told them. Keeping this in mind, if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend prior to college and he\she wants to help you move in, by all means let them. However, don’t make-out in front of your roommate, and/or his/her parents to announce your homosexual. It is in poor taste, and will most likely make a bad impression.

So, as I said, wait until you two are alone. You might want to keep the door open, just so it won’t seem like you are hitting on your new roommate, but if you decide to do so, don’t talk so loud that the neighbors can hear you. Just sit down and tell them that you hope it is not an issue for them, but that you are gay. Ask them if they understand what that means, and be ready to reassure him\her that you won’t be ogling them while you two live together. You also have to be able to actually keep your word on that promise. I don’t care how hot your roommate is, don’t ogle. It will probably be hard to keep that promise, but it is important that you do.

Secondly, ask if they have any questions, and assure them that no question is too dumb. I’ve been asked just about every question in the book, and I have always been able to answer them. This is also a good time to talk about bringing people home to the room. Some people develop a system of placing something on the door handle to signal do not disturb. Others develop special code words which mean that they would like you to go somewhere else for a bit. I knew one set of roommates who had a special code word which meant, help me get rid of my date! Leading yourself from a conversation about your sexuality back into normal roommate stuff will generally help your roommate think that you being gay is not a big deal. It also gives you guys something to bond over. You have a secret language, and that helps foster a sort of camaraderie.



  1. tanglethis said,

    June 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Draft comment!

    It might be fun to sort of structure your article with conversations like the one with Roommate A and B. It’d be a catchy way to start and/or introduce some of your points, showing a bunch of different ways the roommate conversation could go.

    Wish we were in a coffee shop to talk about this.

  2. kyoske said,

    June 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    that would be cool. Certainly something I would want to do. But I am not sure how I would do it.

    Yes if I were in a coffee shop with you it would work better.

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