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Rainbow Center seminar sheds light on the challenge of dating in LGBTQ communities

By Molly Miller
On February 18, 2014

While dating is a complicated practice for many college students, it can be particularly challenging for those who aren't ready to make assumptions about their peers' sexual orientations.
"Love Guru: LGBT Edition" attempted to answer some questions many students have about meeting people and finding out whether or not their sexual orientations are compatible.
"In the LGBT community, it's hard to meet people because 'gay' or 'lesbian' isn't written on your face," said 4th-semester communication major Lucas De Castro, who hosted the event. De Castro is a facilitator for Among Men, a group within the Rainbow Center that hosted the event Monday afternoon.
Among Men is a group within the Rainbow Center where men can meet and confidentially speak about sexuality, politics, music, family, relationships and more.
DeCastro explained that while some LGBT relationships begin at places such as LGBT-specific clubs or cultural centers, they can also begin through friendships made in classes, sports teams and student organizations.
There are no sure-fire ways to tell a person's sexual orientation by looking at him or her. However, De Castro said that rainbow gear could indicate that a person is a member of the LGBT community, or is at least an ally.
He also suggested paying close attention to body language, and simply engaging in conversation. "As much information as you tell someone, they will tell you back," De Castro said.
Online dating is becoming a more popular option for everyone, including the members of the LGBT community, and De Castro explained which apps are best for different types of relationships.
"Grindr is the most popular gay app on the market right now," said De Castro, speaking about the somewhat infamous GPS-enabled app that allows men to locate other men in their area. Other than relative distance given in anything from miles to feet, not a lot of information can be shared by users.
Other apps and sites De Castro mentioned were "OkCupid", which is for people of all genders and sexual orientations who are looking to share more information about themselves and perhaps form deeper connections, and "Brenda", which is somewhat like Grindr but focused towards women.
Even with all of the social media options available, people at the discussion said that they generally preferred meeting people in-person than on social media. Some said that this was because they're more outgoing, while others feel that they're awkward on social media.
However, students also agreed that social media can be helpful for members of underrepresented communities who want to find people similar to themselves.
In general, students found that they could meet and form relationships with people just by doing what they love, trying new things and getting involved with clubs, whether they be geared towards LGBT people or not.
"The more you immerse yourself in different spheres, the more likely you are to meet people," said eighth-semester electrical engineering major, Amanda Sweat.

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