Dating Tips for Queer Teens
Finding ways to meet other queer teen women1 has never been easier than it is today. Many of us are out to our family and friends, date freely, and even take our girlfriends to school dances.
|My mom could not be greater in accepting me for who I am. All she wants is for me to be happy. And, when I decided to take a girl to the prom with me, she was overjoyed because she saw how happy it made me.2 |
Others of us find it more difficult to understand or define our sexual orientation, or to find the guidance and support we need to come out to family, friends, and the world. (For more information on coming out, see “Coming Out Tips for Queer Teens”).
Whether you are out about your sexual orientation, finding a support group of friends and adults is essential to your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health. Don’t go it alone! Though finding support can be especially challenging for those of us who don’t live in big cities, no worries! The following are tips for building your own queer community…and maybe even meeting someone special while you’re at it.
HOW CAN I MEET OTHER QUEER TEENS?
- Your LGBT Community Center: The National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Centers (NALGBTCC) reports that there are more than 140 centers throughout the country—and more are forming. Check out their website to see if there’s one near you.
- Gay-Straight Alliances: Many schools have Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or after school organizations where you can meet people your age who have either gone or are going through the process of coming out. Find out where the GSAs are in your area by checking out the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s website. To start your own GSA, check out “The GLSEN Jump Start: A How-To Guide for New and Established GSAs.”
- Online Dating: Many of us meet other queer teens online through youth-focused chats and websites. While these sites can be great ways to connect, it’s very important to remember that people are not always who they seem to be online (for example, men can pretend to be women and adults can pretend to be teens). When chatting online, keep identifying information private — such as your home phone, home address, e-mail address, school, or workplace, if you have one. Trust your instincts: if you feel uncomfortable with where the conversation is headed, log off. For safety tips on Online Dating, go to GetNetWise and read “Online Safety Tips by Teens for Teens”. Also check out "Watching Out for Yourself in Online Relationships: Tips for the Lesbigay Teen”
- Look Around You: Many queer-specific community groups advertise in local queer newspapers or free alternative weeklies. In addition, some coffee houses and restaurants are owned by or cater to queer customers; look for signs like pink triangles, the rainbow stripes of the pride flag, and Human Rights Campaign logos (which look like a blue box with a yellow equal sign inside). Colleges and universities often have an LGBTQ center or queer student organizations on campus. If not, a women’s center can be an excellent resource. If there is one near you, check it out!
- The Yellow Pages: Look in the yellow pages of your phone book for organizations in your area that serve queer youth. You can look under “Youth Organizations & Centers” or “Social & Human Services.”
FURTHER READING ON DATING
1 As women who have, want, or are considering sexual relationships with women, many of us identify our sexual orientation as lesbian, bisexual, queer, gay, pansexual, questioning, or bi-curious. For personal and political reasons, though, plenty of us prefer not to be labeled, or we use another label that feels more encompassing of our unique personal identity. The acronym “LGBTQ” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) and the word “queer” are used here in an attempt to include as many people as possible. [back to text]
2 Quoted from the article Finding Support for Coming Out [back to text]
Written by: Shannon Berning. Special thanks to Celina De Léon. Partially based on the sidebar “Teenagers Coming Out” from the 1998 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Last revised: March 2005
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