College Lesbianage #3: When Will My Lovely Lesbian Bubble Burst?

Truth: I entered college with the intention that my love life would be defined by a series of hookups and casual flings. It’s what I wanted. It’s what the straight girls in high school had. It’s what I’d tried to have with boys but was completely and totally grossed out by. College was going to be my time to explore the bounty of options that my woman’s college was to provide me.
During my first week of college, as you may recall, I wasn’t exactly making out with anyone, let alone having feelings and ending up in a relationship! But alas, that has what happened and therefore I cannot write about my crazy college hookups as they do not exist.
But what DOES exist? Cute dorm sleepovers, cute public hand-holding, and cute dates to museums! But cuteness might be boring and at times, and, let’s admit it; often incredibly annoying to read about. But maybe that’s just my extreme cynicism talking.

(Side note: Yes, I felt her in my legs before I even met her. Yes, I felt her in my heart and I didn’t even know her. I may not be 19 yet but I knew this would happen. TEGAN TOLD ME IT WOULD!)


The least exciting thing was reading Eugene Onegin (if someone would like to explain to me what the hell is going on in this piece of “classic Russian literature” I would greatly appreciate it and would love you forever).

What happens in between includes extreme procrastination, acing an Art History paper, and not acing a Women Studies paper—thus doubting my ability to study women. BUT I AM GREAT AT STUDYING WOMEN. At least I think so…

On a completely non-gay related topic

Remember how I used to be afraid of the dining hall? WELL NOW I WISH I WAS STILL AFRAID. Because freshman are forced to pay a ridiculous amount of money for an unlimited meal plan, my naturally frugal mind likes to converse with my naturally hungry stomach. Thus resulting in the consumption of millions upon millions of calories a day. Perhaps this would be ok if I was athletic (like everyone here seems to be) but even just crossing the street to go to a class at Columbia is a huge hassle and over-use of energy for me. Obviously I am not fit enough for my dreams of Olympic gold to ever come to fruition.

Tegan and Sara

Confession: I discovered Tegan and Sara only about seven months ago. For a long time I passed them off as bad whiny Canadian pop. Obviously I was wrong. My love for the ridiculously attractive twins has blossomed into a full on obsession in the past months, thus prompting me to pay money I do not have in order to attend their concert in NYC on October 30th. It was so worth it.

Of course I had expected (and was excited) to see a bunch of T&S look-alikes in the crowd, but more than that I was struck by the diversity of the attendees. Gay, straight, Americas Next Top Model Contestants, younger, older, parents with their kids, parents without their kids, etc. It was such an exciting place to be, not to mention the fact that the live music and banter was absolutely incredible.


Yeah We're Scary The day after I had my amazing T&S experience I had my first College and New York City Halloween experience.  Can we just talk about how wearing a red tank top and underwear does NOT constitute as a fireman “costume”?  And putting on a sailor hat and lingerie does NOT make you a sailor. It may have been funny in Mean Girls but it is not that amusing in real life (plus most people do not look like Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried).

I did not spend my Halloween in the Columbia/Barnard vicinity but must say that on my way downtown I saw plenty of Ivy League ladies wearing very revealing outfits. BUT I also saw many of them wearing cleverly put together costumes thus restoring my faith in humanity.

My Liberal Comfort Zones

One of the more serious things that I have noticed during my time here is that Barnard, Columbia, and New York City are all bubbles. Even the high school I went to and the part of Florida where I lived were all bubbles. Bubbles of relatively liberal people — people who allowed me to be gay without having to worry about extreme opposition or hate crimes. I tend to forget that the whole world is not always like this.

And then I got a call from a best friend who is attending one of the large state schools in Florida. She missed our group of liberal minds, and she was angry because of a conversation she had just been thrust into while doing her laundry. A guy and girl were talking about a friend. The guy said in an accusatory tone that the friend is a lesbian. The girl begins to freak out and says “Oh my god, don’t say that! No, no she is not. That is horrible!” My best friend, pissed off, asks her ignorant classmate what’s so wrong with the friend being a lesbian. The girl responds “Well, she like came into my room and asked to hang out.”


I forget that people think this way. I forget that my own generation is still plagued with homophobia and ignorance. I tend to write about how great being gay in college is, but I forget that not every college is as open as my own. I even completely disregard the problems that the school I do attend still has with homophobia and heteronormative thinking.

So I have to wonder…am I blind to the homophobia that exists at my own school? Do I myself live in my own bubble? And what are other schools like? Other states? Other countries?

If anyone has any answers, please let me know — I would love to hear your awesome, amazing, beautiful opinions. I mean, if a state like Maine can shoot down gay marriage, what does that say for the fate of the rest of us?

So until next time just know that I love you all and that in my liberal bubble of a world, you can totally get gay married as much as you want!

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Lily has written 29 articles for us.


  1. heh, for a bit of eastern-european perspective, gay pride 2008 in croatia’s capital had 100 people marching and 200 policemen protecting them, and in serbia’s capital this year’s pride was canceled coz of security issues (ie no one could guarantee that blood wouldn’t be shed). enough said.

  2. Tiger Lily in a relationship? The #internplague is over methinks. Mostly.

    I’m in a tiny liberal program at my college so I’m also in a bubble and sometimes I forget that when I’m hanging around other people. After being at a homophobic high school though, the bubble is kind of nice/comforting.

  3. I’m getting the vibe that you’re from the same part of FL that I am, because you just called it a bubble. I’m also a freshman (at Vandy), and I moved from lovely South FL to Nashville. Big change. I was really worried about living in the South (since we all know South Florida is NOT part of the South, but actually New York), but Nashville is way more liberal than I thought it would be. My school is once again a bubble (they call it the Vanderbubble), so I’m not quite living in the real world yet either. From my experience so far, the environment is way more accepting than I was expecting. There are a couple of gay bars & clubs around, and we have both Nashville Black Pride and Nashville Pride. I haven’t experienced any of the above yet, but I’ll update you when it happens! Glad you’re enjoying college! :)

    • That is awesome about Vanderbilt! I have some friends there (I almost said “up there” but I guess from where I am now it’s technically “down there”…I always forget!) andI actually looked into but thought it would be too conservative. It’s nice to know that it turned out to be way more liberal than you (and I) thought it would be.

      I totally miss South Florida though=)

      • Sweet. There are a bunch of South FL people up here, but I’m the only one who came from my high school. It’s nice to meet new people from back home. Surprisingly, I don’t think I know anyone at Columbia.
        The thing I miss most (other than my mom of course!) is the mall…which is kind of sad haha. I seriously can’t wait to go over Thanksgiving break. I feel like it’s my second home. I’m excited to take advantage of the beach as well!

      • Haha that’s pretty interesting…..I actually just transferred FROM Vandy to NYU, and I have to say I feel a lot more comfortable here in nyc. but if you are makin’ it work down in nashville, more power to you, B!

  4. I remember when I was in college all the lesbian girls were well in the closet. And as the only out lesbian, things were a little strange

    The upside is things do get better and you do get to work your way round a fair number of the ladies ;)

    Still waiting for the one though

    • Haha well that is good to know! There definitely aren’t as many gay ladies (or at least out ones) here as I thought there would be.

  5. Well… my personal experience is mixed. I came out this year and thus far haven’t met a single person with an issue with it (except my parents)… My uni is pretty liberal so that might be the root of it, but to be honest the most homophobic reaction I’ve experienced is all women staring at me with their jaws open when I hold hands with another girl. I’ve still heard about pretty horrible things… like a lesbian friend of a friend of mine being raped or gay beatings in the small rural towns of my country… Those kind of stories definitely scare me but thankfully I haven’t experienced flat out homophobia so far… I say, if you’re American/European and can live in a “bubble”, you should do it. What I would give to not live in one of those…

    • That’s awesome that you haven’t met people who have an issue with your sexuality!

      I feel very lucky to have my bubble.

  6. I think there will always be bubbles; sometimes even multiple bubbles at once. I went to school 5 hours away from home and had a nice bubble down there… liberals and unfortunately a few closed minded friends, but I had my own little world. Now I’ve moved back near the fam but in a city/suburban landscape (Chicago) and I feel like I’ve lost my ‘comfort’ college bubble. Even in a big city, there will always be ignorant people co-workers, friends of friends, family members that you’ll have to deal with. Enjoy your college bubble, you’ll miss it when it’s gone!

  7. as far as i live in china, and am bi,and totaly don’t give a f*ck about people’s opinions, i’d have to say, we are always beening ignored and curiously observed as excotic creatures….the moment someone finds out about the gender,they’d have that spark in their eye and a stragle to want to conform~~but lucky for us though, there’s never been so much hate crimes or mean actions(atleat as far as i know of), maybe it’s b/c we are still stragle for food and money….and also, the religous background is so different. first,the main party here is communism and that just make people stay focused like hounds on the hunt, everything is about development…then the main religion is buddisim, and according to them, sex it’s self is a sin, no matter you straight or gay~ so i guess in a way, we are less to get hurt but also will stay unknow….

    • That is very very interesting. It makes me wonder if it is worse to be acknowledged in a negative light or to be completely unknown and invisible? It truly is hard to tell.

  8. I said this like a crazy person on a random post about dc a little while ago, but it makes more sense here:

    Sometimes you don’t realize how liberal and accepting your community is until you move to Cali-fucking-prop-8-fornia. Even at a fancy university in the bay area, people can be pretty ig’nant. Case in point(s): One of my closest friends says she’s never met a gay person before me, I’m the only out person in my dorm, my head wants to explode b/c this questioning girl says she wants to be straight because it’s “more practical.” This just proves that we need to be even outer and even prouder so everyone will come out and we can bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and the state/country/world will be more like DC which is my hometown so suck it, Maine.

    • EXACTLY!
      I HATE the “more practical” excuse. It is very practical for ladies to love ladies thank you very much.
      Everyone totes needs to be outer and prouder mainly so I can get that cake filled with rainbows and smiles!

      • Yes! If anything, it is more practical. Have you explained to her that she doesn’t have to worry about unplanned pregnancy after a night of wild lady lovin’? And that she can share clothes with her girlfriends? That’s pretty much the textbook definition of practical right there.

  9. I live in a series of interconnected bubbles too! This means that most of the time I am happy and delusional, but occasionally my bubble gets burst and I become shocked and bewildered. So many feelings.

  10. I absolutely hate when straight people think that everyone gay wants them. It’s like get over yourself and get a clue! You don;t want everyone you see and neither do they.

    Unfortunately, homophobia and even racism, still exists in our young generation. However, I sometimes feel “homophobia” is a strong word for a lot of straight people’s sentiments. I think its more of an awkward, uncomfortableness, or lack of understanding than outright hatred and fear.

    • Agreed! I’m a very touchy person, but that doesn’t mean I wanna jump the bones of every girl in sight. Also, it saddens me that the youth of today have incorporated “gay” into everyday vocabulary, meaning “stupid.” I seriously hear it used like that at least 5 times a day. *sigh* -_-
      Also, sounds like smooth sailing for you Ms. Lily. :) P.S. I believe that the reason we have “bubbles” is because we tend to not surround ourselves with things we dislike, i.e. – homophobia. Everyone has their niche, it’s just a matter of finding it.

      • I hate when people think that every gay person wants them too, so so annoying. And the word gay as stupid has been annoying me since the first time I heard it when I was in middle school. I have never used it, it just doesn’t even make sense!

  11. I live in Indianapolis which is like a little blue spot in a very red state. We are like the Austin of Indiana. Don’t get me wrong. There are homophobic people but there also people like the high school kids that recently stood up to the Phelps family when they came to town to protest the school production of the Laramie play last month. Those kids stood out there with signs and shouted right back at them. And most of these kids weren’t even gay. That made me very proud. Then I watch the news and hear about muslim gays being killed in the middle east, africans trying to rape away the gay out of lesbians and russian gays getting the shit kicked out of them at pride parades and it brings me back to realizing that everybody is not so cool with the gay.

  12. My girlfriend went to high school with you an she showed me your blog. I think its so awesome and funny (and so does she). I want to go to Barnard for grad school, so this is awesome because it offers a lot of insight into what I should expect. Living in Gainesville, there is only one gay club and ALL THE GAYS GO THERE so you can’t even move. It really is a tiny bubble, but at least its there…

    • Thank you (and your girlfriend)!
      I’m pretty sure Barnard is only undergrad but Columbia definitely has graduate school programs so you should look into going there! And I’m sure there are things you can then do at Barnard as well.
      I’m glad I could offer insight for you though.
      If I had stayed in Florida for school I probably would have ended up in that tiny Gainesville bubble! haha.

  13. I’m in England, UK.
    I’m a lesbian too. There is a good bit of homophobia around, the general public is rather ignorant. But very fortunately in my college there are about 30% of us who are gay or ‘gay friendly’ so I have a wonderful community to live in. Its nice that more people are seeing us as people rather than out of control sex pests. We have control, were like any other person. We just want to learn have a good time and make some good memories before we are thrown out into the world of 9 to 5 work and commitments…!

  14. i’m from singapore which is a majority-chinese population. our government has officially announced that it is okay to hire gay people about 5 years ago. prior to that… well.

    most of the population’s feeling regarding gays/lesbians is pretty live and let live… (except for the influential christian minority which is getting bigger. they hate anyone who isn’t straight.) if it isn’t your child who is gay. if you’re never going to get married and produce children it makes the parents upset, and in singapore it’s common to stay with your parents till quite late as it is impossible for a single to buy subsidized housing unless you are above 35. normal rent for a 3 room flat is about 1500usd/month in a country where the “high-income” tax bracket starts at 5000usd/month. non-subsidized 3-room flat costs about 200 000usd/month and it’s difficult to get loans from the bank.

    people who live in more liberal countries should treasure what they have.

    • Yes I definitely agree that people who live in more liberal countries should treasure what they have…sometimes I forget to do that but reading comments like yours (especially the idea that it was only five years ago when the government announced it is OK to hire gay people) remind me to be thankful for all that I have.

  15. i go to Furman in SC and dating is difficult, period, even if you’re straight. there are about 4 lesbians on campus. dying for some cute, hot girls who like girls!!
    plus SC is known for being kinda homophobic+there’s only one lesbian bar in, like, the whole frickin state. boo.

  16. Hi, I’m super late on this, but I was curious as to which Florida state school your friend goes to. I’m considering attending either FSU or UF, and I was kind of hoping to get an inside look at what those two schools are like for gay students. Thanks!

  17. This sounds oddly familiar… Did the liberal South Florida high school you went to happen to be called Pine View?

  18. I’m still hoping my first year of college will be ‘defined by a series of hookups and casual flings’.

    • But on the subject of bubbles, I go to a school of 1400 people, I’m leaving next year and I’m looking forward to attending uni and making new, LGBT friends. but then again I’m afraid I’m just going to be let down again. See, out of the 1400 girls at my school I am the only one who is out about being a queer. I have one other friend that starting dating a girl this year, but is very much still in the closet and refuses to talk about it even with me. It’s so, so frustrating and when I finally met a group of gay friends outside of school it was simply glorious. But the other day I looked up the town I’m going to UNI at, Christchurch, New Zealand doesn’t have a gay bar. NOT ONE.

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