Being A Queer College Student In The South Is A Lot Harder Than You Think

Being A Queer College Student In The South Is A Lot Harder Than You Think

It's the secret life no one discusses.

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I was about 16 when I realized most of who I was and who I wanted to be didn't really fall perfectly into the brand of straight, cisgender hetero-normative behavior that I was surrounded by. I went to a private Christian school and I never was really opened up to what the rest of the world was like and really what it meant to be neither straight, white, or cis. I knew I was queer and that was a term that I felt most comfortable using.

I came out as bi to my friends and to my family. I told my parents and surprisingly, I was very strong. There were no tears and I told both of my parents if they were going to make any attempts to shove me back into the closet or to convince me that how I was feeling wasn't really how I was feeling, I would not accept that. I knew what I was and who I am and I was not about to let misguided opinions of others change that.

I am not speaking specifically about my parents, but about teachers, friends, acquaintances, and just a vast majority of people in the South with misinformed opinions.

I in no way think that if you identify a certain way, you have to appear a certain way. Who you are and how you decide to present yourself are two entirely different things. However, for me personally, there are certain things that I have always desired to do and some of these things fall directly in line with my queerness and some don't. I have wanted short hair for a long time. My hair currently sits at an "Edna" type bob, I am sporting the exact same do as the woman herself from the "The Incredibles."

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However, for the longest time I have wanted to cut it pixie short or perhaps shorter than pixie into a paper boy's type haircut. I have never been one to hair much about what others thought of me, but as someone coming into a new season of life, I am terrified.

I am scared people won't want me around or won't invite me into parties. Or better yet, won't allow me in. I am scared that I won't find the love of my life in college as so many have done if I look ugly, and maybe even though I would never admit it, maybe I am scared to look ugly. I have also wanted top surgery for the longest time which falls directly in life with my queerness and the fluid feelings I have towards gender. Both of these things are things that I desperately want and know I could not have achieved in high school. But I'm not in high school anymore. I'm in a brand new season of life that hold new chapter. However, they are chapters I am frightened to begin.

I know that in general college students are supposedly more accepting. But being queer in college and appearing queer is a lot harder than most people chalk it up to be. This task is especially difficult while living in the south. I think there is an assumption of automatic acceptance when you're in a college learning environment. That really couldn't be farther from the truth. I am working every day to make the world a bit of a better place, a bit of a more accepting place, a place of equality and love. However, there's a lot of uncomfortable waiting around while that happens. The life of a queer college student isn't an easy one.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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7 More Jams By LGBTQ+ Artists to Add To Your Pride Month Playlist

These are the best underrated pride songs.

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It's that time of the year again!

Pride Month is in full swing, so I thought I would do a part two to an article I wrote for last year's Pride Month.

Whether specifically about being LGBTQ+ or just by LGBTQ+ artists, here are some great additions to your pride playlist!

1. "Rainbow" by dodie

This song perfectly highlights the reason why pride parades and Pride Month exist in the first place.

In a world where anyone who is not straight/cisgender is constantly being told that their feelings are wrong, it's good to have a month to be told that you are a rainbow. It can make all the difference to someone struggling with their identity.

2. "Make Me Feel" by Janelle Monáe

Some people don't know that this song is actually about Janelle Monáe's pansexuality. And what better way to come out to your fans than creating such a bop?

3. "GUY.exe" by Superfruit

Superfruit (a musical duo featuring Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying from Pentatonix) love to specialize in very outwardly gay music, which is so refreshing in a musical landscape where a lot of artists try to be more subtle in its LGBT themes.

Plus the lyrics and music video are both hilariously relatable for almost every orientation.

4. "Girls/Girls/Boys" by Panic! at the Disco

Brendan Urie recently came out as pansexual himself, making his words "Girls love girls and boys and love is not a choice" even more meaningful.

5. "The Joke" by Brandi Carlile

This Grammy award-winning song is the perfect anthem for anyone who has ever been put down about something that makes them different.

It's the perfect song for people going through a hard time to really latch onto and get strength from. I can't recommend it enough.

6. "Rendezvous" by Miss Benny

We love a gender nonconforming bop! Miss Benny really knows how to get people jamming while examining their preconceived notions on masculinity. What a queen.

7. "Older" by Ben Platt

Though not explicitly about being gay, the line "get to fall in love with another man" was the first time Ben Platt confirmed his sexuality to his fans. So this coming out moment hidden in a motivational song just makes the song all the more uplifting.

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