When I first came out, I’m pretty sure pretty quickly I had a conversation on the best place to find other queer friend and/or lovers. It can be hard to do, especially if someone isn’t out and proud, in an environment that is populated with a lot of queer folks, or is just shy. Along with a bunch of other reasons. Along the way, I’ve come up with some ideas. If you’re struggling with finding community, I hope this helps you out.
1. LGBTQ Community/School Centers
My first suggestion is probably the most popular one. Going to LGBTQ Centers or spaces are specifically for LGBTQ+ folks almost guarantees an opportunity to find queer pals. I say almost because it can be a little intimidating to enter a new space where folks may already know each other. I’ve been there too. My suggestion is to stick it out, maybe see if they have groups where you can learn names and more about others.
While I’m not in school anymore, I would also add if you have any opportunity to take a class on queer identities, feminism, or have a Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies program, I’d try taking one. People typically want to learn more about their identities or the historical or sociological perspective on it. You may also look to see if your school has meetings within these departments, or a type of social justice organization. Or, start your own!
3. Coffee Shops/Restaurants/Bars
This may be another popular one. I talk often about how at a certain age, in my opinion, there is a switch to instead of going to LGBTQ Centers for support, they become a place to help others. That’s when finding community gets a little bit harder, in my experience, and sometimes, one has to be a little bit more social. In my experience, coffee shops seem to be friendly places to make small talk, and sometimes new pals. Maybe it’s the one down the street from the LGBTQ Center I was just talking about. I’m not a fan, but sometimes restaurants/bars will have LGBTQ nights or bars are known as gay bars. Do some research and see if you can find one near by.
I spend a lot of time on the internet. It’s just the truth and I won’t deny it. Social media can be a great way to meet other people. There are often Facebook groups that are queer specific, just make sure you find one that is location specific if you’re looking to meet folks in person. Since the internet is filled with queer-specific resources, it’s easy to find places with comment sections or chats where you can make connections.
Speaking of Facebook, events! Facebook, or just the internet in general is filled with events for queer folks. If you’re in an area where you feel like you’re super isolated, you may try meetup.com to try and find a LGBTQ specific group.
6. Dating Apps
For the longest time, I was really against dating apps. I really hated (And still don’t like) the fact that so many dating apps are on the sole basis of what face we swipe next. I think it’s crazy that there are books written about how to create dating profiles, but also know they are helpful for some. With all this said, I met my lover on OkCupid and I think it’s a really great site. Highly recommend!
This might be a stretch depending on where you live, but if you volunteer or get a job at a place that serves or supports queer folks, there’s a good chance you’ll meet some other queer folks. This doesn’t have to be your job, it could also just be volunteering.
When I first moved to Portland, looking for housing, I was pretty set on living with other queer folks. If you’re moving and looking for housemates, a great way to find community is to live with them. I experienced this when I was in college in an LGBTQ/gender inclusive living community. Try looking for queer housing or looking for ads where people specify their identity, instead of just saying LGBTQ-friendly.
I hope these tips help you in finding or expanding your queer circle! This post was written from personal experience, but feel free to check out the resources below for more specific ideas.
Here’s where you can see if your area has an LGBTQ Center: https://www.lgbtcenters.org/LGBTCenters
Here’s where you can learn more about LGBTQ-friendly colleges and the programs/services they offer: https://www.campusprideindex.org/
Or maybe a gay bar by you made this list: https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomvellner/the-best-gay-bars-in-america?utm_term=.dilX5Rajd#.qbz402Vw7
Check out this article: https://www.pride.com/lgbt/2016/6/17/5-places-meet-lgbt-friends-online
Here’s Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/
And Ok Cupid: https://www.okcupid.com/
Volunteer Opportunities https://www.volunteermatch.org/
Here’s where you can buy the stickers in the photo for those coffee shop trips: https://www.redbubble.com/
Did I miss anything? Hoping for something more specific? Wanna talk or need support? Feel free to send me an email!