I'm a college freshman who saw you filming on campus today. I thought that college would be the place to come out and would love to attend your taping session or just ask you questions but the sad fact is, college hasn't changed anything at all. I'm still unable to admit my sexuality to my friends, teammates, classmates, and hallmates. I have thought about joining the LGBT organizations but those guys are too "out" for me. Not that there's any problem with that. It's just that I don't think that being gay is anyone else's business unless I want them to know. The hardest part is seeing all the other freshman go out to parties, hook up, and date other people because I don't have the opportunity to do so. I've resorted to going on Craigslist but my encounters have been weird at best. What should I do?

Closeted Undergrad

My response after the jump...


What you like to do in bed—the spoogy specifics, the nitty gritty, the humpty dumpty—isn't anyone else's business but yours, CU. But who you'd like to do in bed does have a public dimension. A lot of what goes on in any given "relationship," gay or straight, goes down in public. You're not required to disclose who you're going out with, or the gender of the folks you would like to go out with, but keeping your sexuality secret indefinitely will require a level of deceit that will warp your psyche and your life.

Think about it from the other side: what would your straight male friends have to do in order to hide their straightness from you? They could never mention their girlfriends, they couldn't go out on dates, they could never hook up with someone they met at a party. They would have to hide their porn and be careful not to check out girls in public. They could never get engaged, never get married, never have kids. They might be able to have furtive, secretive, and shame-driven sex with other closeted heterosexuals, if they could find 'em, but finding love—find true and lasting love—would be difficult.

It wouldn't be impossible—lots of gay people managed to find lasting love back in the bad old days—but it would be very, very difficult. It would warp their psyches and their lives.

Eventually you're going to have to come out, CU. Eventually you're going to want to come out. Eventually you're going to realize that keeping your business from your friends, teammates, classmates, and hallmates isn't worth the effort, worry, and stress.

Once you're out you don't have to hang out with gay folks with whom you don't click, CU, and you don't have to be gay the way, say, those LGBT groupers are gay. Remember: gay men who are out at your age (18?) tend to be a bit gayer than the average gay dude. They're out in part because they can't be in. And God bless 'em and more power to 'em because the gay rights/liberation movement would never have gotten off the ground without 'em. Since you can pass, CU, you've had the option of waiting.

But as you're discovering, CU, it's hard to date in the closet, and DL-enabling sites like CL and Grindr aren't going to deliver the kinds of connections you want. And so long as you're limited to quickly-arranged hookups with guys you don't know, can't risk getting to know, and can't be seen with in public (because that would make your sexuality into other people's business), all of your encounters are going to be weird. Not because all the guys on CL or Grindr are weird—there are good guys on both sites—but because you're trying to have sex and the closet too, CU, and that's bringing the weird.

You're only 18. You've got plenty of time. But what you'll discover, in time, is that dating and finding love—or even just sex—from inside the closet is very nearly impossible. You can have your privacy in the closet, you can keep your business secret, but you won't have much of a life there. And when you realize that, CU, you'll come out. And once you're out you'll find that the guys you've been focusing on—the "too out" guys—aren't the only gay guys out there. They're just some of the best.

I know it's hard to come out. But all it takes is opening your mouth and saying the words.