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How to Survive Being Gay/Bi in a Small Town

How to Survive Being Gay/Bi in a Small Town

How to Survive Being Gay/Bi in a Small Town

When there are no gay bars, out men, or culture in your small, intolerant town, you need to think out of the box in order to survive


To all the gay and bi men out there who live in a small and or religious town, I feel for you. The gay/bi population in small towns is nearly zero, and the variety of men (for potential partners) is nonexistent. There is only one gay bar (if that!) and that’s the only place to meet other gay men IRL. You feel like you’ve already dated everyone. There aren’t gay sports teams, meetups, or clubs. There aren’t any real safe spaces for gay men. No gay culture. No gay nothing. Often, you feel alone and the black sheep of your community. For that, I’m deeply sorry.

I’m not even going to begin to pretend that being gay in a small town is easy, and you are going to face more prejudice and feel more isolated than a gay man living in NYC. Despite all the additional hardships that will weigh you down, do your best to stay strong and proud. Here are some tips to help you survive being gay/bi in a small town.   

1. The Internet is your best friend

Thank God for the Internet. It allows you to not only stay up-to-date on LGBTQ+ news and culture but also allows you to be a part of online communities. There are support groups and sites like Reddit where you can virtually connect with other gay men.   

2. Apps

As I’m sure you’ve already discovered by now, there is a slew of apps for gay men to meet one another. Grindr, Tinder, Scruff, etc. Use them. Yes, they can be a little disheartening at times, and the unsolicited d*ck pics can get overwhelming, but don’t be discouraged. You never know who you might find.

3. Do well in school

Not to sound like an old fart, but education is your way out of your town. College is expensive, and without scholarships or financial aid, college can cost upwards of a quarter million dollars. That’s where scholarships come into play. You won’t be limited by where you can go if multiple universities in large, urban towns give you scholarships.

4. Tell the people you can trust that you’re gay/bi

I’m all for being open, proud, and fighting oppression through visibility, but let’s be real for a second. Sometimes, it’s a matter of safety not to come out. Of course, you should come out to as many friends and family members as you trust, but remember, once you step out of the closet, you can’t go back in. You can’t tell your parents, “Just kidding, I’m straight,” when they kick you out of the house after you tell them you’re gay or bi.

5. Take every opportunity you can to go to a big city

If you can take a getaway trip to a more queer-friendly space, do it, and do it as often as you can. It’ll help you feel less isolated and remind you that there are safe, queer spaces out their for you.

6. Consider being in a long distance relationship

Long distance relationships aren’t ideal, but if there actually aren’t any suitable partner options for you in your tiny town, then why not be in a long distance relationship? It’s nice to have someone you can trust, connect with, and speak to even if it’s not in person. It’s nice to be able to look at your phone in the morning to see a text from him that says, “Hope you have a great day!”  

7. Remember that you’re not stuck there forever

You can always get out. Use sports, use your intellect, use your any other skills/talents that you have. While you may feel trapped growing up, know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It won’t be easy picking up and moving, but it’s always an option as you grow older.

8. Get into therapy

If you’re able to, you should definitely see a therapist. (Just make sure he’s one that’s accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals.) It’s great to have someone you can speak to without fear of him telling someone else. He’ll also be able to help you with the feelings of isolation you may feel from being alone without any other queer folk.  


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