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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Coming out’ to dorm mates can be a gamble

    “”I knew there was eventually going to be conflict,”” said geological engineering junior Rosie Reid-Correa, of her decision to “”come out”” to her roommate.

    Reid-Correa said she and her roommate started off on good terms as freshmen in Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall.

    When Reid-Correa started bringing girlfriend Julianna Bradley over, Reid-Correa’s roommate asked about the relationship.

    “”I just told her on the spot,”” Reid-Correa said. “”I said, ‘You know, she’s not just my friend,’ and her face went blank.””

    Over the next few weeks the roommates’ relationship became strained.

    “”She stopped asking me for help with her homework and spent less time in the room,”” Reid-Correa said.

    “”I asked her ‘What do you need from me to feel respected,’ and she said she didn’t want any of my friends over.

    “”She said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable having these individuals in the room,’ but I told her I’m one of those individuals.””

    The tension became “”too much,”” Reid-Correa said, and one day she returned to her hall and found her roommate had moved out.

    Chase B. Sutton, a physiology junior, faced similar challenges with his freshman-year roommate.

    “”I was out when I came to school,”” Sutton said. “”It was posted on Facebook.””

    Still, Sutton struggled to maintain an amiable relationship with his roommate.

    “”My roommate went around telling everyone in the hall, ‘I have the gay roommate.’ “”

    Sutton avoided having people over, to keep the peace.

    “”I made a point not to do anything when he was in the room,”” Sutton said. “”But spring break was when it all went to hell.””

    Sutton said he had someone spend the night while his roommate was away.

    “”When my roommate got back he heard about it and assumed something happened in his bed,”” Sutton said. “”From spring break to the end of the semester we didn’t say a word.””

    Sutton said he recognizes the inherent difficulty of “”coming out”” in the residence halls.

    “”Living in the dorms is the first lesson that you’re taught,”” Sutton said. “”You have to make sure that you get along with people. It’s a big learning curve.””

    Morgan Sim, a junior majoring in political science and theater production, echoed these sentiments.

    “”Having people in such close quarters makes it difficult to keep anything private,”” Sim said. “”Things become public very quickly.””

    Sim took SafeZONE, a one-hour sensitivity training course provided by the residence halls to offer support for her friends and hallmates.

    Sim said the training

    My roommate went around
    telling everyone in the hall, ‘I have the gay roomate.’

    -Chase B. Sutton, physiology junior

    helps build allies and raise sensitivity to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

    “”I’ve probably had three people come out to me,”” Sim said. “”My reaction is always to be happy that they are coming to terms with who they are.””

    Coming out wasn’t a big deal for Dante Frongillo, a retail and consumer sciences freshman who also lives in a residence hall.

    “”My roommate is cool and he didn’t care,”” Frongillo said. “”I was worried that it would be awkward, but I was pleasantly surprised.””

    Stephanie Varvitsiotes, a psychology junior who recently took SafeZONE, lived on Reid-Correa’s hall when Reid-Correa came out.

    “”I came from a small town in California, and I didn’t know very many gay people,”” Varvitsiotes said, “”so it was a little bit of a shock. But it was awesome that she trusted me, and our relationship only grew stronger.””

    Reid-Correa said that LGBT issues come down to standards of equality.

    “”When it comes to people, you treat everyone the same,”” she said. We’re all responsible for each other in the end.””

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