The Queer Meet Market

Mike Chessler

As hard as dating is for heteros, it's much harder for gay folks. The deck is stacked against young queers in many ways. The biggest problem is societal intolerance, which means dealing with not just the homophobia of fellow students (or co-workers, if you're out of school), but also the institutionalized homophobia of most school administrations and workplaces.

Let's do the numbers: if gay and lesbians are about 10 percent of the population, you are starting out with a smaller talent pool. Further narrowing the ranks of available partners is the fact that many young gays and lesbians are still struggling to accept their sexuality. They may be closeted or reluctant to gay-identify. Is it any wonder that plenty of young queers think they're toting so much baggage that they'll never get a relationship off the ground?

Now for the good news: there have been changes on many fronts that are making it easier (okay, less hard) for young queers to meet and date each other.

Fights for Rights
Some of the most visible battles being fought by the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community are against institutionalized homophobia in high schools. One of the pioneers of the movement is Virginia Uribe, PhD, who has been affiliated with the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1959. In 1984, after years of seeing how difficult school was socially for gay students, she founded Project 10, a support system that provides counseling for gay kids at campuses throughout the school district. Although Los Angeles is still the only city in the country with such an ambitious program, students all over the country are beginning to form gay/straight alliances to foster acceptance and understanding. But these are support groups, not social groups.

"So how am I supposed to get a date?" you may ask. Well, the more support there is for gay and lesbian students, the easier it will be for young queers to come out without fear of harassment. And the more young queers who are out and open, the easier it will be to find them.

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