Rob Ullman

Listen, homo: You're in college in Seattle. Maybe you think it's a big deal that you're gay because the small town you moved here from thought it was a scandal—but you're not in that small town anymore, are you? Maybe you think it's a big deal because your parents are fundamentalist fascists who think it's an abomination—but they're not living in your dorm, are they? You are now a resident of one of the gayest/lesbianest cities in the country, and though we do have our miscellaneous homophobes and bashers, the vast majority of people you'll run into here are more likely to be over it—over your sexuality, your rainbow flag, your pierced nipple, all of it—than outraged.

This is not to suggest that you should run off and have big gay sex in the bathroom of, say, Studio Seven during a metal concert—or in any sketchy bathroom, for that matter. Gays are, for the most part, pretty seamlessly integrated into the life of this city, but just because you're in a predominantly gay-friendly place doesn't mean you have a license to be recklessly dumb.

Still, if you're moping around decrying the hostility of the straight world like you're in The Boys in the Band or Well of Loneliness (look 'em up), you need to get over it and start enjoying this place. Having a hard time doing that? Get therapy at the college health center if you need it—therapy will never be as cheap for you as it is now, when your parents are basically paying for it as part of tuition—or join a coming-out group at Seattle's LGBT Community Center. (www.seattlelgbt.org)

And then—this may sound harsh, but it's for your own good—STOP WHINING. You are lucky enough to be living the dream of many a gay rights activist before you—not to mention the wet dream of many an aging homo. Do you have any idea how many gays in their 50s and 60s pay $39.99 a month to watch internet porn featuring gay college students? And here you are: young, gay, and in college, where every day is a potential dorm-room or frat-house porn video—but without the sweaty creep hovering with his camera at the edge of the frame. Get busy.

Now, once again, a caveat: Living the gay college life doesn't give you the green light to be stupid and self-destructive. If you graduate with some hot memories, or a decent relationship or two under your belt, great. If you graduate with an STI that you didn't arrive with, not so great. You can catch everything in college that you can catch in the big gay world, so start living the big gay reality: Get tested for HIV regularly (again, you can probably put this on your parents' tab without them knowing via the campus health center), make sure your partners are keeping track of their own HIV status, and while you're at it, get tested for all the other common STIs as well—gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia. Use condoms for sex outside of a committed monogamous relationship. Don't date meth-heads. Ever. Don't do meth yourself. Ever.

Got it? Good.

Now get out there and meet someone. If you don't like who you're meeting on campus or online, Seattle's gay bars and gay-friendly coffee houses are almost all on Capitol Hill. Find the intersection of Pine Street and 11th Avenue, look up and wave your thanks to me up here in the Stranger offices, and then walk in a big loop, west on Pine Street to Boren Avenue, south on Boren Avenue to Pike Street, east on Pike Street to 14th Avenue, and north on 14th Avenue to Pine, then west back to where you started—you'll quickly find almost every gay bar and gay-friendly coffeehouse on Capitol Hill that way. If the guys or gals in the bars seem vapid and you're looking for an involved activist type, try your campus queer group.

Still hesitant about being your gayest gay self? Then consider the cautionary tales in the news these days. Do you think Jim McGreevey, the governor of New Jersey until his secret gay life spilled out, wishes he could have been open about his sexuality in college? Do you think that Larry Craig, the disgraced senator from Idaho arrested for soliciting gay sex in a Minnesota airport bathroom, now wishes he'd been able to start his adult life as an out gay man? Do you think that Rosie O'Donnell wishes she'd found a way to be public about her sexuality earlier?

Yes, yes, and yes. They all, undoubtedly, do. And here you are, younger than them, cuter than them, living in a more homo-tolerant world than they did when they were your age, and you'd hesitate to take advantage of it?

What the hell is your problem? recommended