Queer and in Quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some LGBTQ+ students in uncomfortable situations as they follow stay-home orders with family

Photo+Illustration%3A+Leni+Santos%2FSAC.Media.

Photo Illustration: Leni Santos/SAC.Media.

Mt. SAC, along with various other schools across the country, has been impacted by the shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there exists a multitude of students facing hardships, one sub-group in particular has felt the shift hit closer to home.

LGBTQ+ college students often face discrimination due to their identity, sexuality or outward appearance. These indifferences often stem from exterior parties, but now with the mandatory lockdown enacted by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, many of these students have begun to feel hostility within their own homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has left some LGBTQ+ students in uncomfortable and unavoidable situations with no way out.

Due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to remain home, LGBTQ+ students have begun to live in isolation with their families. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, “The American College Health Association found that out of a sample of more than 33,000 undergraduate students, 10% identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, asexual, pansexual, or questioning.”

As thousands of LGBTQ+ college students adapt to an online learning platform, some also face discrimination in their homes.

Fashion merchandising major Roque Hidalgo, 22, who identifies as gay, said that he often feels the need to tone down his true self to maintain peace in his home. “Here at home, I feel like it’s a very ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation, where my parents know but they don’t want to see it. I often adhere to their expectations because I don’t want confrontation,” he said. “On a normal day, I wouldn’t have that problem because I could dress however I want, be myself and go out. But here, I am in a tight zone.”

Because Hidalgo has been staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift in his mood has become apparent. “I think of myself as a positive, happy person. But it’s because I have safe spaces with friends and at school,” Hidalgo said. “But at home, I have been very moody, and not in the mood to talk to people because it’s not as safe as it is at school.”

When a person is placed in uncomfortable positions, oftentimes the need to cope arises. Hidalgo said that he has various methods to self-soothe. “For me, it’s literally locking myself in my room, doing homework or a hobby like painting or drawing,” he said. “Lately, I have also called my queer friends and being able to get everything out I have been holding in.”

If you or someone you know is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and needs support during this trying time, visit this website for free and confidential resources.