Coming Out on Campus Without Coming Out on Facebook: AKA, Making Yourself Known as a Lady Interested in Ladies in a Heteronormative World

[Author’s note: Please note that this article is a combination of sarcasm, stereotypes, and personal experience, and is meant to be taken lightly. It is not actually reflective of lesbian/queer communities. This is the kind of advice I’ve given friends or taken myself, but note: STEREOTYPES DO NOT DICTATE A PERSON’S IDENTITY FOLKS!]

College, right? Learning all these baller new things, having freedom, living with your friends! The best. Another AWESOME thing about college is that you have a lot of freedom in terms of exploring sexuality! How sexually active do you want to be? Who do you want to be doing sexual things with? What things are they? (This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: CONSENT! It isn’t only sexy, but it is necessary!!!

So, you have decided to explore the land of lady lovin’. WHOOOOHOOO! It’s awesome! But you don’t necessarily know how to go about that… I mean, heteronormativity kinda has the odds stacked against you. It’s silly even that you have to DO something to ping on people’s gaydars. You could come out on Facebook, but let’s be real, 99% of people don’t want to do that. All you really want to do is kiss pretty girls. Here are some suggestions from a lady who has been grappling with the Grinnell lady-on-lady scene for quite some time:

The Chart

-The fastest and most effective way of getting yourself out there is HOOK UP WITH A GRINNELL LESBIAN/QUEER/BI-SEXUAL WOMAN! As we have learned from Alice in the L-Word, everyone is connected to everyone.

Our campus community is WICKED small. New ladies on the scene is a very exciting thing! Word spreads fast.

The Gay Cut

-Short hair, or as I fondly refer to it: the Gay-cut. I have not personally gotten one, because my hair does not work short… but it’s a pretty classic way to get people curious about your sexuality. YES it’s a problematic stereotype, but it also can be effective. And SUPER cute! Check out comedian Cameron Espisito’s take on it:

Wardrobe Update

As said succinctly by Sarah Hubbard ’17: “Plaid button downs. All the time. Forever. A lot.”

And men’s shoes and big baggy sweaters and beanies and jeans on jeans on jeans and flat brims. Let’s follow the example of the stunningly badass Ellen Page, ladies:

I know, there is the classic conundrum: is she a hipster or a lesbian? Not that they are mutually exclusive. But lezbihonest, they are comfy as hell. Live it up in the Second Mile/Goodwill men’s section.


A stellar way establish yourself as open for ladies AND a way to find a group of people to relate to (sometimes straight people just don’t “get it”) is to immerse yourself in the Queermunity at Grinnell! So, go to the SRC in the pit of Younker and do some homework. Go to a club that brings queerfolk together like QPOC, Lesbian Movie Night Organized Procrastination [LMNOP], or Queer Social Hour (or any other number of groups on campus!). It is a less pressured way to chill without having to explicitly come out. Or just hang out at Food House (which I lovingly call Gay House.) There is a pretty stellar queermunity that gathers there. Get food, get laid.

If you want to check out who else is probably eligible you can also just take Intro to GWSS side-note: EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE INTRO TO GWSS!! That, or any other GWSS class or a class with Queer in the title. Though I haven’t asked for a show of hands during my Queer Global History Class… I am pretty sure it is comprised of mostly queer identifying folk.  

Queer Culture References

In a conversation with a potential lady-lover, drop some classic queer references:

-The L-Word

-Tegan and Sara

-Andrea Gibson

Finally, if you are like me you’ll just start writing Her-Campus Article’s announcing you are newly single and ready to mingle #ladiesgetatme #andmen #andnonbinarypersons

[my rough draft of this article written on a D-Hall napkin during Queer Global History]

P.S. I’m always down to hang with people, hit me up. Queer or not, friends are good.