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I

my

have always felt nervous about being a lesbian on grounds, especially coming from a caring and structured household where I was always aware that my father was not comfortable with homosexuality. In high school, I slowly realized that I was not straight, and I tried to comprehend the implications of homosexuality. In retrospect, I had many queer feelings growing up, but nobody taught me what they meant because those feelings are not “normal.” I came to UVA with the mindset that college is the place to explore your identity. I planned to get involved in the queer community and to figure out if these feelings should be explored. I went to a Queer Student Union meeting my first semester and absorbed everything I could about the gay community. When my parents came to visit me for family weekend, I told them that I went to the meeting. My dad’s immediate response was, “So, you’re gay now?” I felt a wave of anxiety in response to that I idea, so I denied it. I continued to go to QSU meetings and eventually started dating a girl that I met there. Over the course of three years, I have had two serious female partners. Needless to say, my queerness was not a phase. Despite my initial concerns, I’ve had a mostly positive experience as a lesbian at UVA. I have many gay friends that I can talk to about anything, and I especially need them because many straight people here are too often closed-minded. All the same, I’m out of the closet because the initial anxiety of coming out is not as emotionally taxing as the burden of constantly hiding it. I still have a hard time being around too many straight people, especially women, because they often presume that I will be attracted to them. I am not interested in every woman I meet. People should realize that queers have friendships just like straight people do and that all friendships are dynamic. None of us are attracted to every member of our preferred sex. One important way that I overcome my anxiety is by helping to educate the public about the queer community. I work with the LGBTQ Speaker’s Bureau, an organization that addresses queer issues on grounds. We attempt to provide a variety of perspectives on sexuality and answer questions anyone may have. This is a huge step toward exposing people to diversity and eliminating ignorance. So far at the University of Virginia, I have experienced mostly a positive environment and have seen many good things happening to further tolerance of queers. But, however, I really think that we have a long way to go to strengthen this community as a whole.

life as a

LESBIAN

Nia Holloway

(Sociology Major, Spanish Minor)

13

V Magazine UVA March 2005  
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