The experiences and challenges of the gay dating scene at Santa Clara
Eddie Solis Jr.
THE SANTA CLARA
May 7, 2015
Santa Clara is not the best place for gay students to find dates. Across the board, queer students experience a lack of prospects and dating opportunities.
“There’s not really a dating scene for gays at Santa Clara,” said junior Connor Crutcher. “Even with a limited pool, it’s not like you’re going to automatically be attracted to every other gay person you meet.”
Santa Clara actively attempts to embrace its LGBTQ students through various clubs and initiatives. The Santa Clara Community Action Program has a group dedicated to equal rights for the queer community. Events like Rainbow Prom and the Drag Show foster an inclusive environment for the community. Safe Space stickers pinned throughout campus create a welcoming environment for students to come out and be comfortable identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
“I know Santa Clara — the administration — likes its queer students,” said a junior student who requested to remain anonymous so as to not publicly out himself. “The Jesuits are proud that we have a diverse community.”
Despite support from university administration, the culture at Santa Clara still doesn’t foster many opportunities for queer students to date one another.
If you take notice of any couple on campus, they will most likely be straight. Whether they be on a date in the middle of Benson Memorial Center, in the Mission Gardens taking a romantic stroll, or grinding to a Chris Brown song at a house party on Bellomy Street, you will see a guy and a girl.
It isn’t hard to picture a party where a male and female student paired off to swap spit. It is a challenge to recall ever seeing a same-sex couple do the same.
“I have friends in every frat that invite me to everything, but it is still a very straight scene,” said sophomore Jake Koplowitz. “Parties aren’t really the place to go find someone.”
Varying degrees of outness — being open with your sexuality — contribute to students not being able to identify who plays for their team, so to speak. Some students adopt a sense of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality, while others are more vocal with their orientation.
“I think that there are multiple queer spaces and social groups, but not all of them are the type where people are open with who they are,” said junior Glen Bradley. “We need a unified community — get rid of the niches and the cliques.”
In an attempt to avoid the dramas of the Santa Clara gay dating scene, some students turn to dating apps like Grindr or Tinder that offer a level of discretion and freedom from campus, but tend to be geared more toward sexual encounters rather than meaningful, long-term relationships.
“I’m not against dating someone from here,” said the anonymous junior. “I would love to have a boyfriend from Santa Clara, but there (are) only so many gay people, and I feel like most of them have hooked up with each other. I want that connection to be relatively unique.”
With a small sample of gay students, varying levels of outness and a dominating heterosexual culture, LGBTQ students at Santa Clara feel that the university isn’t the best place for their love life.
“Out of the Santa Clara bubble is definitely a better place and an easier place for LGBT folks to find someone,” said Koplowitz.
Crutcher transferred from Foothill College. While the dating scene wasn’t the determining factor for where he decided to go, it has caused him to doubt whether he ended up at the right school.
“If I could have applied to other schools knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have come here,” he said.
Eddie Solis Jr. is a senior and editor of the Scene section.