LGBTQ students struggle to find roommates they're comfortable with

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Photo Credit: Raquel Higine | Daily Texan Staff

It can be hard to find roommates in West Campus. It can be even harder for members of the LGBTQ community.

Feeling on-edge in their own home, LGBTQ students sometimes deal with snide comments and feelings of uneasiness as they look for someone to split the cost of housing with.

“I’ve always had struggles finding roommates,” sociology senior Carlee Bradley said. “For me, the most stressful part of meeting someone new that I might live with was telling them I had a girlfriend.”

Bradley said in the past, people on Facebook roommate groups stopped talking to her after finding out about her sexuality because it made them feel uncomfortable.

Nate Woznicki, an educational psychology graduate student, said he has also struggled with roommates and being a part of the LGBTQ community.

“If you want to live with someone who’s also LGBTQ, it’s just a harder pool (of candidates) to pull from,” Woznicki said.

Woznicki said a lot of people will say they are comfortable with living with someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community, but don’t fully accept or understand what that means.

“There ends up being some microaggressions, and you either have to just deal with it, address it or try to educate them,” Woznicki said. “It just gets annoying. It would be nice to have another LGBTQ (roommate) for that reason.”

A microaggression is a subtle statement or action against a marginalized group of people, such as asking a gay couple, “Who’s pitching and who’s catching?” When he lived with four straight roommates, Woznicki said he faced microaggressions that made him feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

“Whenever I had a date over, they would just make it a way bigger deal than if any of the other ones brought someone home,” Woznicki said. “They would try to be cool with gay lingo and say ‘Yas’ a lot, which isn’t too bad. But it gets kind of annoying after a while.”

Woznicki and Bradley agree it would be easier to find and have roommates if they were straight or “straight passing.”

“There’s just less ‘otherness’ involved if you’re both straight,” Woznicki said.

Exercise science senior Darien Bernard said he takes a more proactive approach when it comes to dealing with roommates.

“Every time I’ve gotten new roommates, I email them and let them know, ‘Hey, I’m gay,’” Bernard said. “I give them a rundown of my lifestyle and let them know if they are uncomfortable with any of this, they can contact the leasing center.”

While Bernard hasn’t faced any major issues with roommates, he said leasing agents and apartment complexes should offer a sexuality option when applying.

“It’s already an issue that I even have to consider sending an email,” Bernard said. “I shouldn’t have to be afraid of rooming with someone who’ll hate me because I’m gay.”