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finding community

group of queer people hugging each other and laughing
chosen family

as a queer black person, i always dreamed of finding my people. my high school was very white, heteronormative, you know the jist. i could count on one hand how many people were actually out during that time. and although i admired their strength, i never had the courage to do the same. it didn’t feel safe. luckily, i knew that going to college would give me a fresh start and space to find myself. but of course, the pandemic put a dent in my plans. i spent my freshman year entirely online and didn’t have any better luck during my sophomore year when everything returned to in-person. the transition was difficult since it felt like everyone was able to make friends pretty easily during that virtual year, while i struggled. however, i decided that my junior year would be different, and it was a lot more than that.

at the start of my junior year, i moved into one of the resident communities on campus that was made for queer students. and i remember sitting in my apartment with one of my dear friends, cat, who i met in one of my classes in the spring and our other two roommates when we heard someone knocking on all the doors on our floor. curious, i peeked my head out and found this guy standing there going “hi!” they didn’t even live in my building or on my portion of campus, but he was hanging out with some of his friends who lived across the hall. we got to talking, and suddenly my apartment had 9 people in it instead of the usual 4. after chatting for a while, he informed me of this co-ed fraternity he was a part of. i had heard about it before as it was usually referred to as the “gay frat” on campus but had never been to any of their events. and because i am “black and gay” (all in his words), he encouraged me to attend one of their rush events later in the week, and i seized the opportunity. although it was a little chaotic, it was one of the greatest nights of my life.

joining gamma sigma was honestly one of the best choices i’ve made. not only did i pledge with 12 very silly individuals, but i also made many more amazing connections along the way. i got my big, who was and continues to be, a saving grace in my moments of doubt, and i even met my partner through one of my pledge siblings. thinking back on everything, i don’t understand why i thought finding my people would be such a difficult process, when everything just fell into my lap. the amount of support and love i feel whenever i step into that house makes all the times i've struggled worth it.

to any queer person who is dreaming of finding their safe space, it's out there! if you attend university, look into the clubs your school has, you never know where you’ll find your chosen family.

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