I Like When Girls Kiss Girls.
Two truths, one false: 1) I was on an MTV reality show.
2) I have a yellow belt in karate.
3) I'm bisexual.
GOTCHA! All three are true.
Coming to CMC, I knew I was in for a pretty conservative ride. Being a vegan, bisexual, kombucha drinker who’s registered Green, I expected not to fit the general CMC demographic. But this is still college, and a huge part of the college experience is meant to be meeting a diverse array of people, "finding yourself" and learning to be happy with who you are.
Growing up, movies and TV shows would always allude to people, especially women, "experimenting in college". You know the scene, when the hot girl recounts her one crazy night of lesbian lovin' to her geeky drooling suitor. "Oh, *giggle*, we just had too many margaritas and, you know, one thing just led to another..."
This is my third semester here and I have yet to have a margarita-fueled smooch fest with any open-minded vixens. Where are all these curious young ladies, eager to experiment with me? What am I shelling out 50 grand a year to attend college for - an education? Psht. Talk about false advertising.
Maybe gay people are deterred by CMC's "conservative" rep and just don't come here. After all, we only included sexual orientation in our nondiscrimination policy less than a decade ago. But I know more than a handful of gay students at CMC.
Something seems amiss. Sure, one could argue that it might just be a little more low-key than the other campuses. Subtlety is classy, after all. But are we at all classy or subtle about our hetero-hookups? Hellz no. So where's the homo love, people?
One theory I cooked up is that CMC operates like an old school Boy's Club, where same-sex rendezvous are kept schtum in an effort to preserve reputations for the future. Many of us leaders of tomorrow plan to enter politics or business spheres that are, I'm afraid to say, a little less than tolerant of homosexuality. In my humble opinion, this is the root of the problem. Acquiescing to the pressures of homophobic spheres perpetuates the misapprehension that this intolerance is okay. Adhering to the general consensus is the downfall of man.
It is also a false assumption. Hiding who you are could not only potentially make you unhappy, but may allow your coworkers to revel in scandal should you eventually be caught out.
Take Exhibit A, the photo to the right, of a seemingly run-of-the-mill hiker making a quick stop at the Eddy's Leather Toys n' Such to refill his Kleen Kanteen and tighten the straps on his apparently non-ironic backpack. Just another hippy kickin' it with some outlandishly gay friends, right? Wrong. The bearded dude is Andras Kiraly, a leader of Hungary's Jobbik party, a hard-line religious party that bases much of its platform on hating immigrants, gypsies, and gays. The pictures are of him at a Gay Pride Parade, "doing party research".
These sexy snapshots inevitably went viral. Do you think people would have cared as much if he were gay, and open about it? Doubtful. Look at Barney Frank, he's kissing boys all over the damn place and is one of the most widely respected members of the House.
On a totally personal level I find the lack of gay culture at CMC very frustrating. This frustration extends beyond having to hike my lazy arse all the way to the QRC on Pomona's campus to meet with like-minded people. The lack of an openly gay culture breeds a lack of understanding.
"Oh, you're bisexual? That means you love threesomes and stuff, right? And you, like, get drunk and make out with all your friends?" Uhh, no, you ignorant prick. Bisexuality often gets a bad rap as not being a "real" sexuality, of being a cop out for slutty girls (thanks, Tila Tequila) or merely a pit stop on the road to Gay Town. "Pick a side!" - I hear this a lot. But most people who have spent a decent amount of time around gay or bisexual people know this is not true. Bisexuality is a "real" thing. I have real, meaningful relationships with women, and I have real, meaningful relationships with men. I view sexuality as being much more fluid than most people perceive it to be and actually prefer not to force people to assign labels to their lifestyle choices at all, but hey, that's just me.
Perhaps the hush-hush attitude of CMC's queer scene has something to do with the itsy bitsy size of the campus and our propensity for gossip. It's easy to be "defined" here, to given a specific label, often based on one aspect of your character or, more worryingly, one thing you do.
A gay hookup could therefore become an innate part of your campus persona. "Oh that kid? Yeah I know him. He's gay." No one wants this. Yet I feel this issue might subside if people were generally more open about their sexuality. It would be less curious, less exciting. One development that is particularly upsetting is the "out at home, in at college" phenomenon. This says a lot about our opinions of tolerance on campus. If we can trust our peers at home with this information, why not our college buddies? I view CMC as my new "home" and would hate to think of it as somewhere that would be intolerant of the way I choose to live my life.
Another issue with undercover gayness is people trying to out one another. "Dude, I totally think my roommate might be gay!!!" So what? This isn't the Salem Witch Trials. If it was, I could stop spending all my scrilla touching up my roots and just buy one of those white bonnet things. If he or she is gay, do you really think they want you, the person they live with and therefore need to trust most, telling me, the rando blond you just spilled beer on at TNC? This is a closer-to-home example of the aforementioned scandalization of outing people. Ironically, when someone's openly gay, speaking about it in such a manner actually becomes pretty taboo.
"Coming out" can be a momentous and often difficult thing to do and in no way do I advocate anyone feeling pressured to come out if they are not entirely ready, but for those of us who are out, it might be time to be a little more loud and proud about it. I'm not talking oiled-up rainbow raves in the Bauer fountain, just maybe being a little more honest with our peers and, ultimately, with ourselves.