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5 Ways to Build Your LGBT Community After College

5 Ways to Build Your LGBT Community After College

It’s just harder to meet other LGBT people after college.

Feature image via Unsplash

College is an amazing time to meet other LGBT people. For many, it’s the first time they feel comfortable coming out. You can join student organizations, go to on-campus LGBT events, or take LGBT studies courses. Having a large community of LGBT friends and acquaintances gets a little harder after graduation. Former classmates move across the country. You work somewhere where your personal life needs to stay private. No one is wearing a "My pronouns are…" button. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to meet and collaborate with other LGBT people. Here are five ways to build your LGBT community after school is over.

1) Keep in touch with college friends, even if they move away.
[iframe allowfullscreen="" class=^{{"giphy-embed"}}^ frameborder="0" height="646" width="750"]Keeping in touch over social media is a nice way to check in, but calling someone is a much better way to actually catch up and talk about what’s going on in your lives. Staying in contact with former classmates who now live far away can also help you meet people in your area. They might mention someone they know who just moved to your city.

2) Volunteer or apply for positions at LGBT nonprofits.
Having a job where you can be out or where you’re surrounded by other LGBT people is awesome, but if that doesn’t work out, just dedicate an afternoon a week to volunteering at an LGBT nonprofit. Most people who volunteer at LGBT nonprofits have a vested interest, and it’s a good way to meet people who are already active in your larger local LGBT community.

3) Show up to LGBT events even if you’re going alone.
[iframe allowfullscreen="" class=^{{"giphy-embed"}}^ frameborder="0" height="381" width="750"]If you see a flyer for an LGBT music festival, go. If you get invited to a drag show by someone you swear you’ve never met in real life on Facebook, show up anyway. It can feel a little strange to start going to events alone if that’s not something you’re used to, but no one really notices or cares.

4) Move to or frequent the Gayborhood.
Sometimes the official Gayborhood in your city is going to be way too expensive to live in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hang out, window shop, and grab coffee there on the weekends. Some cities have unofficial areas that actually seem to have more LGBT people living in them than the Gayborhood, so explore new areas if you’re unfamiliar with them. You may not meet people every time you hang out there, but it’s affirming to be surrounded by other LGBT people, and you’ll see flyers or LGBT newspapers listing events.

5) Focus on common interests.
[iframe allowfullscreen="" class=^{{"giphy-embed"}}^ frameborder="0" height="417" width="750"]If you’re not meeting people you have a lot in common with by going to LGBT-specific events, just focus on your interests. If you love cooking, take a cooking class. If you love reading, join a book club. Sometimes the only thing you have in common with other LGBT people is that you’re both a part of the LGBT community, so it might be easier to meet people through common interests. 

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Cassie Sheets