The struggles of queer dating

The struggles of queer dating

Photo credit: Bella Yoakam

By Bella Yoakam, Section Editor

High school is the prime time for developing teens to figure out who they are and who they are going to be. While dating is a natural development in high school, dating as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community adds unnecessary challenges.  As a bisexual who has dated both men and women, there are struggles and challenges to both. The nervous jitters of asking a girl out are not an issue for only boys. Dating in high school is hard as it is, and being queer on top of that uncomfortable predicament just makes life harder. While I do feel that in most circumstances queer dating is more difficult, straight relationships are not easy to keep and find in high school either.

Many struggles, such as uncertainty and internalized homophobia, happen with queer dating, most times before a relationship even starts. To complicate matters even more, it’s extremely hard to date when your dating pool is nonexistent or unsure. As a student seeking out a partner it is a difficult process. Even with the progress made in our society and overall acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, many students are still closeted due to stigma, so finding people to date can be difficult. 

Instead of the luxury of being able to ask a peer out on a date, there is an added pressure to triple check the person you are interested in is even attracted to you, and not just a friend. When I liked a boy or a boy liked me the signs were simple and the flirting was unmistakable. With women the lines get a little blurred, and there are tendencies to be close and affectionate toward female friends that become confusing. I know I am not the only one who has been totally off when trying to find a partner and have mistaken flirting as friendship. The question of ‘do they like me or are they just being friendly’ is one of the biggest hurdles faced in a queer relationship. 

While the dating pool for queer people might be small for us high school students, finding a heterosexual relationship is quite easy. The stigma facing queer high schoolers is augmented once students start dating. Someone’s sexuality is hard to visualize and has a lack of tangibility until you truly see two people of the same sex holding hands and showing affection. The probability of someone being straight in high school is over 84%, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Straight relationships end up being the safest relationship in terms of social acceptance. So, given the option of dating a girl or a boy, a boy is the “safer” option for a girl.

Being LGBTQIA+ in high school will definitely provide challenges which are impossible to avoid. While society is getting better at accepting queer relationships there is still more that could be done. For everyone, regardless of sexual preference, dating may be challenging, but the overarching issue of stigma and stereotypes in queer dating makes it extremely difficult in high school. Hopefully stopping the stigma and internal growth can make queer dating easier in the future, and the next generation will not have any struggles at all.