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How to Come Out to Your College Roommate

Telling Your Roommate You're Lesbian, Bisexual or Gay

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You just got the name and contact info of your new college roommate. Most new college students eagerly sit down and type up an email of introduction to their new college roommate. But what if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans? How do you introduce yourself? Do you come out right away or do you wait to feel them out?

When to Come Out to Your College Roommate

Do you come out to your new college roommate before you ever meet her, or do you wait until you’ve gotten to know each other? Either option is fine. A lot of it depends on your personality, how out you are and how comfortable you are with your sexual orientation, and your personal style of communication.

Coming Out Before you Meet Your New College Roommate

Does this sound like you? You’re a big ol’ queer and there’s no hiding it. You were the president of your high school Gay/Straight Alliance, you plan on hanging a rainbow flag on your door and hosting Queer movie night in your dorm room every Saturday night. You took your girlfriend to the prom and she plans on visiting you every weekend. If this sounds like you, then you probably want to come out to your roommate before you meet for the first time.

Coming Out After You Meet Your New College Roommate

Does this sound more like you? You know you’re bisexual and are waiting for college to really come out. Only your best friend knows and you’ve kissed one girl, but that’s it. You’re shy around new people and feel that being bi is just one part of you. Who you date really shouldn’t make a difference in how people feel about you. If this sounds like you, you might want to wait and come out after you meet your roommate and get to know her a bit.

How to Come Out to Your College Roommate

Before you come out to anyone, especially someone you don’t know very well, make sure that you’re confident in your sexual orientation. All of us go through periods of doubt about our sexual orientation when we’re first figuring it out. Unless your college roommate is also your best friend, it’s best to wait until you’re absolutely sure before you come out to her.

Coming out before you meet

You’ve got her email address or phone number, so it’s time to make first contact. Send your new roommate an email, introducing yourself, asking about her major, where she’s from and what activities she participated in high school.

If you choose, you can feel out her comfort level by mentioning something “gay” about you, like you plan on majoring in LGBT studies, spent your summer volunteering at the local Human Rights Campaign office or that you and your girlfriend are biking across country next summer.

Or you can just be frank and open and say. “I want you to know I’m bisexual. I hope you’re okay with that.” And see how she responds.

The “google” factor

If you’re on MySpace, Facebook or some other social networking site and you’re out in your profile, chances are your new roommate will look you up and find it out. If you want to out yourself, you can direct her to your page and she'll quickly find out. But also keep in mind that she may find you on her own through a simple google search. If you don't want to inadvertently out yourself to her (or anyone else) make sure your profile is set to private.

If you’re Going to Wait to Come Out to Your College Roommate

Approach coming out to your new college roommate as you would any friend. You can choose to plan and have a conversation with her, where you decide in advance how you want to word it, or you can just let it drop naturally in conversation. Who in college doesn’t talk at some point about relationships, crushes, dates or attractions? This will be your opportunity to come out and have it be no big deal.

"Yeah, well, my last girlfriend was a huge football fan, so I learned a bit about the game from her." Or "My celebrity crush is Shane from The L Word." It shouldn’t be that hard to find a place to squeeze the fact that you’re gay into conversation.

If you plan to come out to your roommate in a formal “I need to tell you something” way, just try to present it in a straightforward and confident way. Being lesbian or bisexual is nothing to be ashamed of. The more matter-of-fact and sure you are, the more comfortable it’s going to be for her.

Be prepared for any reaction

Chances are your roommate is going to be fine with your sexual orientation. But if she is uncomfortable or wants to change rooms, set up a meeting with the resident advisor to help you figure out a good solution.

Either way, the thing you want to avoid is her finding out “by mistake.” Having her walk in on you and another girl making out is kind of a crappy way to find out your roommate is gay. You’ll both probably feel uncomfortable and awkward. Not a great way to start out.

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