No college student has not heard of the term, LGBTQ. Given your generation’s focus on diversity and equality, you probably know or are friends with peers who fall into one of the categories of this community. But now, as a traditionally straight person, you are experiencing some feelings and emotions that have you questioning your sexuality. Or, you have had a sexual experience within the LGBTQ spectrum, and you liked it.
So, does this mean you are no longer straight? No. Does it mean that you may move forward in your exploration of your sexual identity? Perhaps. But here you are, trying to find the answers. Maybe this article will help a bit.
Each letter of this acronym stands for a category, and you need to first understand what each of them means before you launch into your self-investigation.
L = Lesbian: This is a woman who only wants romantic and/or sexual relationships with other women.
G = Gay: This refers to a male who is only attracted to and has relationships with other men
B = Bisexual: Lots of men and women are attracted to members of both sexes and have both romantic and sexual encounters with them
T = Transgender: Birth gender is not correct for many. Transgender males are females who identify as male; transgender females are males who identify as women. They often take hormonal treatments or undergo full sex-change surgery to become who they really are.
Q = Queer: This is a more generic term that means anyone who is not straight, no matter what their preference may be.
+ = Others: This refers to non-straight males or females who do not strictly fall within the other categories – asexuals, aromantics, and polysexuals or pansexuals, for example.
Now that the categories are clearly defined, let’s unpack your question
Identify Your Feelings
Suppose you are a male and find yourself admiring male celebrity bodies while your peers are admiring the female counterparts. And maybe those bodies even give you feelings of arousal. Maybe you are a female who has been watching lesbian porn and find yourself aroused by the sexual activities.
How strong are these feelings? There are all sorts of online “tests” you can take, but they may not help much. You are the one who must do some self-analysis about the strength of your feelings. You may even decide to explore this depth with a hookup of a peer you know who is in the category of your potential sexual preference. You can then have a much better idea of your feelings.
Exploration Via Experiences
These may be planned or unplanned, but they help you answer this question for yourself. Suppose you are watching gay porn with another male, and the activity leads to a full gay experience between the two of you. Maybe you are in a dorm community shower and another female friend comes onto you. You end up having a sexual experience, and it was very satisfying. These certainly are signs that your traditional hetero lifestyle is in question.
What the Research Says
To date, there isn’t a whole lot of research out there about Gen Zer’s and their experimentation with LGBTQ+ encounters. What research does exist is in the form of surveys of college students. One study from 2018 found that one in every four college females reported having at least one same-sex experience, and one in eight males reported the same. Beyond this, there are LGBTQ+ websites, like Taimi, that you can access and that provide social networks where you can discuss your feelings and experiences. These can provide lots of support for what you are feeling or experiencing.
The study mentioned above concluded that there are three types of college students who fall into their parameters – experimenters who continue to identify as straight even after same-sex hookups, students who engage in the performance of “low-level” activities but are primarily straight, and those whose gender identity is evolving any who may eventually change their identities over time. Only you can ultimately decide into which category you fit.
Be Patient with Yourself
You are at a stage in your life where lots of things are up in the air. What will you choose for a career? How will you manage academics, social activities, and finances? What clubs and organizations will be the most satisfying? How will you manage to stay healthy through the stressors of college life? Your sexuality may also figure into all of this mix. Are you LGBTQ+? Only time will tell. Let that question “bake” all on its own. The answer will eventually reveal itself.