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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Finding accommodation as a queer person

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Author Topic: Finding accommodation as a queer person
Djuna
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Hi all! I have decided to share a problem I'm currently having to see if it's something other people experience.

I'm home from college for the summer, and still need to sort out housing for next year - and I realised that everywhere I've lived near my college, which is in a conservative part of London, I've had housemates who were visibly or vocally uncomfortable with my sexuality and gender identification. So I'm now trying to make sure that doesn't get to me during senior year.

My question is: how do you go about finding queer-friendly housing, if that's something you need? Alternatively, how do you find housing that you feel is likely to be a positive environment for you, whether or not you're queer?

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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Saffron Raymie
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If you answer 'housemate needed' ads, hopefully they'll interview you to see if they would like you as a housemate, maybe there could be a way to tell from the questions they ask? That way you can say you're sorry but you've found somewhere else if you sense that they won't be acceoting and celebrating of who you are.

Ask some subtle questions of your own to get a clearer picture. Like 'lots of my friends will come stay in my room, and they're all LGBT, is that okay?' If they don't know what LGBT is cross them off the list [Smile]

Also, test them. Act out of gender norms when you meet them and carefully watch and take note of their reactions.

When they accept you as a housemate, ask outright, maybe over the phone.

Don't sign any contracts until you're 110% sure, because it's tough to get out of if you feel alienated from your housemates.

I'm having trouble with this too, but this is a plan I came up with to meet likeminded people.

[ 06-12-2011, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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eryn_smiles
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I think that living in a queer friendly house is really important for my mental health. I remember a friend once saying, you may not feel fully safe at college or at work or even among some of your friends. But when you come home, that's the one place you need to feel safe and comfortable to be yourself.

I think I was a bit foolish around this and it could have gone badly. I signed a 6 month lease to stay with a friend, and after that, on our first night living together, I came out to her. Luckily, she was really supportive and kind about it.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Djuna
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Eryn, I think that - living in a queer friendly house being important for my mental health - is something that I'm just realising. It's just a shame I'm going to likely need to have a longer commute for that to happen. I'm glad your living situation has worked out well, too!

And Rae, I like your plan a lot. I had tried using the "gay/lesbian shares" button that they have on some flatmate wanted websites, but ended up finding no results in the city that I could afford. I guess it's not a much used option. I'm going to try word of mouth to find good queer or queer-friendly roomies, too. [Smile]

[ 06-13-2011, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: patrickvienna ]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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eryn_smiles
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I'm having worries around this issue lately too! Do you guys really think it's important to 'out yourself' before accepting a lease or flatmate agreement? I'm thinking of living with someone I haven't met before who is a friend of one of my parents' friends. The housing, costs and living arrangements are ideal for me.

However, I'm not out to any of my parent's friends (as per my parents' request). So if I come out to this person, I'll also need to ask them to keep it secret from their friend....is this a reasonable request? Or is it a better idea not to come out to them until living with them for a while?

A wider societal question- why can't we assume that everyone is LGBT-friendly unless stated otherwise? When will that day come?! (Sadly I did see a serious flatmate advertisement recently listed stating "Sorry but no gays or Indians"! I thought about contacting them as a joke....but then I realised, bigotry is never funny [Frown] )

[ 01-24-2012, 06:01 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Gawd, "no gay's or Indians"? That's awful. It's so tempting to convince one's self that that kind (or any kind) of bigotry doesn't really exist anymore, unfortunately, it does.

As per the living situation, I'd say that being queer, or being part of any minority group that isn't immediately visible, is really something you need to be comfortable with in you given living situation. And when you're getting into your living situation, you should never get into one where you're not going to be comfortable disclosing your sexuality, because it's something you should feel safe about, in your home.

As per finding queer friendly living accommodations, I've got no idea.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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Eryn, just an idea (and it may not suit you). I guess in an ideal world it seems to me like not having a connection with your parents' circle would be better, but I suppose at least you know about this connection in advance, and perhaps you have reasons to seriously want this particular accommodation (general availability, etc). I think it might be possible to sound out where this person is at with queerness without outing yourself. If you met them to discuss the accommodation, one of the things that you mention could be that some of your friends are quite "progressive", and among the people you'd like to invite for dinner/watching a film occasionally are women and their girlfriends (that doesn't have to be true...) You could say that you're mentioning it advance because you wouldn't want any awkwardness for anybody. You might be able to get quite a good "read" off this person's attitude from their response. If fairly positive, you could even test the waters about it being a bit much for your parents' friends and better if they didn't know. If the response was somewhat negative, or just doesn't feel comfortable to you, you've got plausible deniability if you need it, and an indication in advance that it might not be a comfortable or safe living environment for you.

Co-signing the vileness of "no gays or Indians". For goodness' sake!

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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WesLuck
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Maybe it should be mentioned just how much of human DNA is shared by all humans, before we get all high and mighty about groups we might have issues with (because someone *conveniently* doesn't know anyone "like that").

[ 01-24-2012, 09:45 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Saffron Raymie
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Oh Eryn, I really admire you for thinking of calling up those awful 'no gays or indians' people as a joke - how sparky and fierce. It certainly would have challenged their hatred. However I can imagine it would be extremely tough to keep your sense of humour faced with that kind of crap.

As to this new housing person - Is meeting them first an option?

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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eryn_smiles
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What a flurry of replies! Thank you all. @ Wesluck, I can't believe there are people out there who don't know any Indians [Razz]

Regarding my living situation, I particularly wanted to live with the above mentioned person for physical safety reasons, as at least she is a known person in a not-so-safe neighbourhood. When I met her initially, she seemed like someone who minded her own business within the flat and wanted me to do the same (which is great with me!). She didn't bat an eye when I asked about having visitors overnight short-term or otherwise. So basically, I see no need to out myself currently but may discuss that at a later stage if it arises naturally. I feel pretty safe assuming she'll likely be ok with it. Does anyone disagree with this approach?

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Saffron Raymie
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Wow the overnight vistors thing sounds great! Yeah, you've basically got what you need right there.

(Being left alone sounds amazing too. [Smile] )

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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