Got to a bar. Buy a girl a drink. Inquire why she’s there.
This is how LPC Business Entrepreneurship student Nick Becker works his way into meeting a potential romantic partner. But the same cannot be said about Brandon Noriesta.
Noriesta can’t just walk up to a person in a bar and start flirting. Because chances are, his type isn’t even gay like him.
And this problem is what many members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Asexual (LGBTQA) community face almost every day.
“Some people are not comfortable going out because they don’t know who are the gay people around them,” Noriesta said. “And some people are like me. I’m introverted, so I don’t usually just go out and meet people.”
Noriesta, the current vice president of Las Positas College’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), has been in a serious relationship for eight months. One catch, although, is that it is long distance.
“I met my boyfriend through Tumblr.com. At the time, he lived in Chicago. Right now he’s living in SoCal,” Noriesta said.
Noriesta is only one of the many LGBTQA members who use the Internet and other techie innovations for dating
“It’s harder (to date within the gay community) because, especially coming from the suburbs, it’s harder to meet people who are LGBTQA since there are no significant places to meet such people,” GSA President Mariejo Ibale said.
“More people are closeted here because they feel like there is no LGBTQA community in general, but that is not the case. There are plenty of us,” Ibale added.
And although Ibale shared that she dates through friend connections, she knows many LGBTQA people who choose the assistance of the World Wide Web in seeking romance.
“I know a few friends who have used OKCupid, Tumblr and even Instagram,” Ibale said. “I know there are apps like Grindr that is specifically for hooking up.”
And since these websites and apps are a blogging and dating platform where most users write about their thoughts and post about things that interest them, it is not hard to come across other users who enjoy the same interests and who are open about their sexuality.
“There’s also Craigslist,” Noriesta added, “where people can just make a post if they are looking for a hook up, or if they just simply want to be found.”
Between job openings and a potential golden deal for a second-hand car, Craigslist.com has also paved its way into the Internet atmosphere by means of its infamous “Personals” section.
Sub-sections that read “women seeking women” and “men seeking men” make it easier and for LGBTQA seekers to look for what or whom they are searching for.
However, for many LGBTQA members who are not quite comfortable going online to look for potential partners, there are other ways they can still do this. Joining GSA groups inside or outside schools, going to gay bars and attending community activities like annual Pride parades are just a few of the ways to meet potential partners.
“I’ve never been to gay bars,” Noriesta said. “But sometimes when you meet one gay person, that opens your world to more gay people.”
What he meant is that there are connections that can be made within the LGBTQA community for other members to eventually meet other members without straining too much effort. This is the same way that regular friendships work, where a quick introduction by someone is all it takes.
“We create a community within ourselves and we become accustomed to one another,” Ibale said.
And as far as the LPC community is concerned, Noriesta has a positive view as to how LGBTQA dating is accepted.
“I think this campus is OK,” Noriesta said.
According to him, he and fellow LGBTQA students do not experience severe hate crimes at school.
And even though LPC lags behind compared to big universities in the Bay Area, Ibale believes that it is possible for gay student dating in school to flourish.
“If the (gay) community on campus is (bigger),” Ibale said, “then the dating circle will be bigger.”