Being LGBT at Radford: The pitfalls of dating on a largely straight campus

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Radford University is pretty lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendly for such a small college campus.

I have not felt nearly as isolated at Radford as I did in high school. Yes, there are still areas in which Radford could improve, but it is not as bad as, say, Lynchburg College, or Chattanooga College. Being at Radford gave me the ability to come out of the closet; I was able to be open about who I was with everyone, not just with trusted friends.

However, it is still not hard to feel a little isolated when you feel like the only bisexual girl in the room.

Of course there are organizations in Radford to help with this. I just never had the time to join any of them. The GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) meetings always seemed to coincide with other obligations I’d made previously before finding out when the meetings were being held. I didn’t even know of Spectrum’s existence until this semester’s Club Fair started. Spectrum is a club that tackles the social aspects of being part of the LGBT community, espcially the issue of coming out. I’m still trying to figure out how to squeeze Spectrum into my schedule.  But, the most isolating thing about coming out, by far, has been dating.

I have never asked out a woman in my life. I never had the courage. I did not know how to find a woman who was interested in what I brought to the table, and I did not know how to find out without being creepy. My “gaydar” has always been spectacularly awful, so I was always afraid of making someone uncomfortable or ruining a friendship. Of the few gay women I’ve met in Radford, almost all of them were in previously established relationships.

I think there needs to be some kind of established routine with homosexual dating. How do you ask the woman out on a date? How do you tell which women are also into women? How do you tell which women will be offended if you ask them out?

I am much more interested in women than I am men, but even so, I find it so much simpler to date men than pursuing a women. Most of the questions one has to ask when searching for a partner of the opposite gender have more to do with attraction and compatibility. None of those questions have the potential to end with offense unless you say something deliberately offensive. There is an established routine there that doesn’t exist with homosexual dating.

Of course, this is to be expected when you go to college in a small town. The LGBT community accounts for about 5 percent of the American population, and most of that population is clustered in larger cities, like Los Angeles or Chicago. I don’t regret my decision to go to Radford – the pros far outweigh the cons, even when dealing with complicated sexual orientation issues. I wouldn’t have it any other way.