How is a bi high school guy supposed to meet like-minded individuals outside of school?
January 12, 2010 10:41 PM   Subscribe

I am a bisexual guy at a religious high school in Atlanta, GA and, while there isn't much homo-hostility, the majority of my classmates are uncomfortable with homosexuality. (And that's including the gay ones.) I'd like to meet interesting people outside of my school, but I haven't the first clue how to start. How is a bi high school guy supposed to meet like-minded individuals outside of school?
posted by iktomi to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a possibility to get a job in an area that's known to be homosexual friendly? This is how I slowly progressed in finding like minded individuals. There are also gay youth centers that can help, although I have no experience with that.

Best of luck, and it only gets better with age.
posted by razzamatazm at 10:52 PM on January 12, 2010

Go where the other GLBTQ kids hang out. There are some really good groups out where I live. Youth Pride seems to be a similar organization in Atlanta. In my experience, most teens find it is well worth the trip to find a place where they can just be themselves, make friends who understand them and grouse freely about how narrow-minded the folks in their schools can be.
posted by metahawk at 10:58 PM on January 12, 2010

I don't know if it's related to Youth Pride or to the Pride Committee, but I believe every year at ATL Pride there is a specifically teen event that I *think* is called Queer Prom. We knew a kid or two who went in years past. There isn't a lot up on Atlanta Pride's site right now about 2010 Pride but visit back to keep up with the listings.

Do you know any out, gay adults? Our LGBT friends are part of volunteer organizations and other sort of social orgs and are just generally involved in their communities, and probably anyone like that would know of some resources and be able to point you. I've just seen this today, but I will email my friends and see if they know of anything beyond YP.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:31 AM on January 13, 2010

When I was in your situation (a million years ago), I spent as much time as possible in the local college student scene. Coffeehouses, art events, etc. Try to get as comfortable as you can with the idea of striking up conversations with people or groups that you don't know, or being receptive when someone strikes one with you.

It sounds risky, because it is risky -- but the chance of meeting kindred spirits is worth the risk, in my opinion, and you can learn tons from the right slightly-older people (and even more from the wrong ones).
posted by hermitosis at 7:03 AM on January 13, 2010

Having worked at a similar organization in Austin, I'd strongly recommend YouthPride or whatever local lgbt teen resources there are. The first time you attend a meeting or event it might be kinda scary, but generally these places are very welcoming, safe, and fun. If you're nervous, call first to get your questions answered.
posted by pomegranate at 8:23 AM on January 13, 2010

When I came out, again a million years ago, I hung out at a coffee house known to the gays. Also, you might want to hook up with Youth Pride. They have weekly discussion forums which are an excellent way of meeting people of like mind and learning about folks in a semi-structured environment. They also have an event coming up for MLK Day.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:29 AM on January 13, 2010

When I was your age there was a certain amount of biphobia in the capital-G Gay Scene in my area that I found off-putting. Hermitosis's solution — hanging out with art-and-theater-and-poetry kids from other schools and the local college — was basically ideal. There was a pretty high proportion of people there, straight and queer, for whom sexual orientation just wasn't a big deal, and it meant I didn't have to worry about fitting in as much. (Side benefit: I met girls who I could come out to and still stand a chance of dating. That was awesome.)

YMMV, and hopefully there are corners of the GLBT scene in Atlanta that are more inclusive, but that's what worked for me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:38 AM on January 13, 2010

Heads up! Someone gay is going to tell you that your bisexuality is just a phase. When that happens, feel free to tell him to fuck off.
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:37 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

roger ackroyd, almost every gay man I knew in college claimed to be bisexual initially. I didn't, but for many, many, many, many, MANY gay men, claiming to be bisexual is indeed a phase.

to OP: college.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2010

Agreed, ethnomethodologist. But when you're young, it can come as a shock that the queer community has its own hangups and gay guys are often dismissive of (or weirded-out by) male bisexuality.

Having someone older (gay or straight) who doesn't know you well make snap decisions about your sexual identity is never helpful.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:24 AM on January 14, 2010

Response by poster: roger ackroyd – Heads up! Someone gay is going to tell you that your bisexuality is just a phase. When that happens, feel free to tell him to fuck off.

That has happened to me once already, actually. (This gay friend that's my age [actually, the only gay friend I have outside of my school] said he "would not be able to date" a bisexual guy because he'd be afraid the bisexual guy had been with a woman before. Phobia is certainly the word for it.)

College certainly sounds good, and I'm not far from it, but I thought perhaps I could get a head start on this 'making new friends' thing.

I'm a senior in HS currently; I wonder if that puts me at the older end of the age range for Youth Pride and similar... I'll poke around and see whether going would make me That Creepy 18 Yr. Old That Goes To Events Designed For Younger Adolescents.

Art events sound good, and I'm going to a thespian convention soonish, so hopefully I'll find some quirky theater persons of various genders there.

Coffeehouses... I'm not sure. There's this one that I know of, but comments like "I wasn't entirely sure why a gay-friendly spot would want to keep the stereotype alive that all gay men want is sex" and "Why does a book store have cock rings, magnetic penises, and other adult material scattered throughout?" seem to be a common in reviews of it. I haven't loitered around there enough to see if anyone else under 20 ventures inside.

Magnetic penises are not really my scene, though, in any case.

Perhaps there are other coffeehouses.

Thank you all for your advice

After asking, I realized that my question was more about social skills than something specifically LGBTerrific. I've been at the same school since I was six, so I don't feel like I've really befriended people on my own. I always relied on my more social classmates for introductions and the like.
posted by iktomi at 8:49 PM on January 14, 2010

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