Sexuality and Queer Culture at Kenyon

This week, I sat down and chatted with a fellow Kenyon student about our experiences with hook-up culture and the Kenyon dating scene. We gushed over all of the cute boys on campus, talked about empowerment and safe sex, but we quickly learned that although we were into the same type of people, we had had very different experiences at our time here at Kenyon. The reason? While I am a straight female, he is neither straight nor female. Here’s what he had to say:


When did you first come out?

College, but some people knew in high school ;)


Would you say that your personality changed between high school and college?

Probably a little bit. I definitely felt more accepted at first, but my second year was not as great.

What changed in your second year?

I felt just as accepted as I expected to during my freshman year, but by my sophomore year, the spirit of the “liberal arts” felt less universal. And, I was interacting with new people whose views were unanticipated.


What is your general approach to the hookup culture? Is it harder to find guys that you would have anticipated?

I don’t really like the hookup culture. It’s fine, but it’s just not my style. But, I have found that the gay scene here is very “hookup-y” and kind of weird. Often times I run into closeted guys who are trying to have sex with gay boys.


Why do you think that is?

I almost feel as though the general climate on campus is: Are you straight? “Yes.”

But, the fact that people are hiding about their sexuality means that there must be some stigma still attached on our campus.


How do you meet boys on campus?

You don’t…People use Grindr if they’re looking for a hookup, and some use Tinder as well.

Have you dated anyone here? Would you say it’s more or less likely to find a committed partner here as a gay man?

Yes, I have dated someone here. It didn’t go well. I think as a gay person it’s just hard because you have to judge a person’s queerness, which is not an easy task. And, the dating pool is much larger that you would think, but it’s not that you’re trying to find a guy who’s interested in guys, but you’re trying to find a guy who is open about his interest in guys and would want to be public in a relationship.


Have you ever had issues where you’ve felt discriminated against or targeted for your sexuality?

I’ve been out when people were throwing around the word f***** as though it were funny. That’s never comfortable.


If there’s one piece of advice you could give a guy looking for love on this campus, what would it be?

People worth dating are hard to find. I can’t say for sure, but it probably won’t happen on Grindr or Tinder. It will only come from a genuine interaction when you aren’t expecting it.


Do you still have faith in the potential of meeting somebody here?

How could you not have faith when 25% of the population cycles through every year. There’s bound to be some nice piece of ass that rolls through some time.


Although this individual can only speak to his own experiences, it was very surprising to find that our perspectives of campus dating and hook-up culture are so different, even on the same campus. And, it makes me wonder if these experiences are similar to those that others have at larger schools, or if this is specifically an issue that plagues Kenyon.     


Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2, 3