The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

A lesbian’s college survival guide

Alex Porier

So you’re interested in becoming one of Alison Bechdel’s “Dykes to Watch Out For.” 

You’ve cut a mullet, clipped your forest green carabiner onto your thrifted oversized wranglers, and are currently taking a queer poetry class where you sit between every other lesbian in the sophomore class. 

Or maybe you’ve adorned your dorm with strawberry paraphernalia and donned pink ribbons into your hair—we can’t all be tops. 

And bonus points if you’re pursuing an education major in order to emulate Miss Honey from “Matilda.” 

In the wise words of Reneé Rapp, “So What Now?” 

Let me share some humble advice on how to navigate the trenches of the finest extracurricular activity UVM has to offer: lesbians.

Or simply explain how to find your way as one.

Let me be clear: I did not enter UVM my first year as a social powerhouse—not that I feel I can claim that title even now. 

Sure, I was a veteran lesbian with a long-term girlfriend—good riddance by the way—but I was once shockingly shy and scared of the campus I now call home. 

No matter how outgoing you are, starting college is scary. Even if some of us hide it better than others. On top of that, being a lesbian can feel isolating—especially if you live in the former Wellness Environment on Redstone campus.

My qualifications to provide this advice include being a yapper on my Instagram story and easily recognizable—most likely wearing something pink—in the Davis Center. 

I’m truly happy here, though. Here are some things I wish an upperclassman told me when I started at UVM. 

Because, to be honest, I hated it here at first.

Step one

If you start college in a long-distance relationship with your “high school sweetheart,” god bless you. I mean, everyone’s relationships are different. But I don’t know many people still dating their significant other from high school. 

I’m not saying you absolutely need to come into college single, or that your relationship is inevitably doomed. 

Just know some high school relationships are meant to stay high school relationships. And that’s OK.

Step two

I assume you aren’t as stupid as I was at 18, but do not transfer schools—especially not to art school, of all places—to be with someone. 

Just please don’t move to Boston for a cheater, like, ever.

It is laughably embarrassing to even admit, and certainly when you transfer right back to your original school a year later. 

Step three

Leave your cheating ex and your heteronormative misogyny at the door. The amount of gross expectations I see put on masculine presenting queer folks are infuriating. 

I’m not talking about the butchfemme dynamic—huge enthusiast by the way. All my love to pillow princesses, stone tops and everyone in between. 

But just because you’re a she/they bisexual bottom doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also attempt to make the first move, hold the door for them and treat them to dinner sometimes too. 

Regardless of sexual preference or gender orientation, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and have their needs met. We’re all just people at the end of the day. 

For further clarification: I have no issues with the labels or identities of top, bottom, verse, etc. Always respect people’s boundaries. 

But diminishing someone to their sexual preference is dehumanizing and weird. 

Step four

For the love of god, please get familiar with queer history; it is so integral to understand and acknowledge the folks who paved the way for us to publicly be ourselves and love who we love. 

Being well-informed on history is the best way to understand and even challenge current events and politics. 

So please, read Stone Butch Blues,” fight for what you believe in, wear your pins proudly and vote. 

Wisdom only makes you hotter. 

Step five

Don’t be an asshole. If you’re a creep to another girl on this campus, trust that the rest of us will find out. 

For the record, I am all for casual hookups, Tinder situationships and one night stands—you do you—as long as you’re safe and getting tested.

But know that the web that connects lesbians on this campus—and in New England in general—is intimate. I’ve hooked up with a girl whose girlfriend I’ve kissed whose ex I’ve dated. 

If you’re a bad person, it will come back to get you. 

Step six

I apologize to anxious INFP’s, but you’re going to have to put yourself out there.

Go to class, clubs, sports, concerts and events. Be friendly in your chem lab, DM that girl you met at the basement concert, compliment that boygenius tattoo you like.

Go out of your comfort zone and who knows, maybe you’ll also end up with some unlikely best friends.

I definitely never expected my strongest college friendships would be with a cis gym bro, a Harry Styles enthusiast and a straight nutrition major. Many semesters, Eagle’s games, movie nights and road trips to Philly later, randomly selected suitemates became family. 

The best way to meet people and engage in a community is truly just being kind and friendly.

Step seven

Be flexible. It all takes time. Friendships will change, relationships will end and running into someone you’ve hooked up with will be awkward. 

The person you were as an incoming first-year probably won’t be the same person living off-campus your junior year. We’re meant to change and grow. Change can be uncomfortable at times but it’s a good thing, I promise. 

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really do love it here. 

From my first-year suitemates to the friendships I’ve made this year in the clubs I attend, I truly have found my community. And it doesn’t always come immediately. Sometimes you have to literally transfer twice before you get it right.

Be a kind person, put yourself out there and you will find your way—and maybe even a partner too. 

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