Question: College Roommate

A reader asks…

I am about to attend college and do not yet have a roommate assignment but when I do, I feel it would be at least courteous to inform them of my sexuality. I know that some people would feel uncomfortable in that kind of situation and I respect that. I just don’t know how to approach the subject in a non-alarming way. Any suggestions?

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Posted by on October 5th, 2011 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 11 comments »

11 Responses to “Question: College Roommate”

  1. Anonymous

    Your college might have a lgbtqa specialist. Talk to them and they can probably arrange something for you :) or you can first ask if they have any issues with queer people.


  2. radical/rebel

    This is a good question. I recently went through a search for housing, and in some cases, I thought it was necessary to inform potential roommates that I’m queer, because it’s a really large part of who I am.

    Have you been in contact with your roommate yet? If so, I’d include coming out in an e-mail with other information about yourself, and try to make it as non-confrontational as possible. “I wanted to let you know that I am queer, but I have friends from all walks of life,” or something similar. I’m in favor of the strategy of letting new people into my life know off the bat that I’m queer so they can adjust to that, however they may need to, but other people feel differently, I’m sure.


  3. Jimmy

    My first year, I just slid it into a facebook message to my roommate and she was fine with it. However, I go to crazy liberal school where practically every other person is some form of queer. If I were you, I’d try to gauge the liberalness of the college before you get there and also try to figure out how liberal your roommate is (try facebook stalking). Then email/message your roommate telling them that your queer, but don’t make a big deal out of it. If they flip, then maybe you don’t want to be living with them. Let’s be honest, you don’t want to spend the next year in a room with someone who can’t deal with your identity; you’d both be happier if one of you switched rooms. That said, I doubt it’ll be a problem – depending on where you go, of course, but you’ll probably be fine.


    radical/rebel replied:

    just curiosity, I want to know what school you’re talking about, Jimmy.


    Jimmy replied:

    Hampshire college. We are all the liberal and it’s excellent.


  4. Theo

    Why are you calling it a courtesy?
    Straight people don’t courteously inform other people of their sexuality. If you talk about something that doesn’t come across as heterosexual and they seem confused, just clarify. Otherwise, why act like it’s a big deal? It’s 2011, chill out. :]


  5. EEEli

    Leave porn and various telling bits of paraphernalia on your bed.
    Let them know the handcuffs aren’t for them.
    They no longer have any cause to be alarmed.

    But seriously, shake their hand, tell them, carry on with your life.
    If they’re going to have a problem with it, they’re going to have a problem with it.
    There is truly no way not to alarm someone who suffers from a cultural phobia. So let’s hope they don’t.

    Good luck in college!


  6. Joss/Ame

    I’m in my second year at a politically moderate college (albeit one where the kids dress and act a little preppy, and Greek life is really huge). I’ve been lucky in that the Office of LGBTQI Life here is really really amazing–I second the person above who suggested talking to any similar group you have on campus, since they may have some good advice or contingencies. It was a little awkward last year–I was still in the process of coming out, and although I got on fairly well with my roommate, I always felt just a bit awkwardly amused having my stickers, pins, brochures and various bits of male clothing chilling around on shelves and things…I think it really depends on your comfort level, but I think ultimately it might just make you miserable to try and hide your identity or even to just wonder internally how you’re roommate is coping with it. Friend them on Facebook, talk to them over chat and on the phone or Skype to make yourself a human face. If they have any obvious and overwhelming objections to living with you, it’s best to sort them out early, in case you need to work on an alternative housing plan.


  7. Adam

    I get incredibly frustrated sometimes, I’m fine with being open about my gender and/or sexuality but I don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but sometimes making people uncomfortable will make them comfortable in the end. Y’know? Its hard to know where the line is.


  8. Regen

    Through some weird fluke, I couldn’t get in touch with my college roommate before I got to college, and I am not out to my mother (who came to help me settle in), so my roomie didn’t find out until two days into the arrangement. Thankfully she was totally cool with it. But what I think is important to learn from that is maybe it’s okay (depending on what sort of college you’re going to: if it’s known for being ultra-conservative, this may not apply) to wait until you meet your roommate and get a feel for how much you need to tell them and how best it needs to be said.


  9. Meike

    It’s a tricky thing. I feel I approached my first roommate in a non-alarming way, yet still I found out a month later from other people that she was less receptive to the idea than she’d claimed she been. I’d say get to know your roommate a little first, just test the waters and see if they seems open to discussing such topics. Then approach the subject in a way that feels comfortable to you and your roommate. Just get a feel for things, I’d say. Hopefully your roommate takes it well.


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