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Satire: Gib’s guide to being unconventionally homosexual in college

Being queer in college is hard. But don’t worry. If I’m doing it, you can too.


Satire: Gib’s guide to being unconventionally homosexual in college

Being queer in college is hard. But don’t worry. If I’m doing it, you can too.

Look. I know it, you know it, we all know it: If you're here, you suspect you fall somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Yes, this is just like the "Am I gay?" quizzes that you Googled on the private browser of your mom's phone back in middle school — if you're not gay, why are you looking it up?

So yes, you know you're queer, but I'm assuming that you, my dear baby gay, don't have the slightest idea of how to navigate being a young, queer college student. Being away from home for the first time is scary enough, so having to simultaneously come to terms with the feeling that you're different than most people is enough to make your college experience feel like a big queer slasher film.

Lucky for you, I have heard your pleas. I, Gib Manrique, in my eternal wisdom, have decided to help you hopeless homosexuals and publish my painstakingly scientific findings, gathered throughout my storied career in gay-ology.

I've known I was gay since I was 10, so I have just the right amount of internal conflict and suppressed homosexual urges to make me an expert in this field.

This is for all my new queers out there. So buckle up, buttercup — it's time to graduate from a Hamilton-listening, best-friend-kissing, repressed little teenager to a full-blown queer adult.

Feb. 5, 2024

Dear reader,

If you're still unsure of your sexuality, I imagine the first step for you here would be confirming that pesky little existential question: AM I QUEER??????

Woah dude, chill out. How am I supposed to know? Honestly, I've been an adult for only two years, and I’m still trying to figure out my exact answer to this question myself.

When I first came to college, I identified as nonbinary, but I ended freshman year even further on the transgender spectrum. Now, I identify as a trans man — kind of. It's complicated, but what about being LGBTQ+ isn't?

As you can tell, I had an identity crisis that was just a tad (a lot) more intense than the other fresh-out-of-high-school kids around me.

Back then, whenever I opened up about my identity to people, I always felt a twang of nausea. I knew I was lying about something, but I didn't know what. It felt like no one in the world could help me.

If this sobfest is ringing any bells for you, I would recommend making an appointment with those ASU counselors whose contact information your community assistants have posted all over your dorm building in a Fortnite-themed display.

It can be terrifying figuring out who you are, but lean into that feeling. College, especially freshman year, is the time to try new things, so don't let fear stop you.

Suppressing your true emotions will not make them go away, no matter how much you insist that you're cutting your hair just because of some TikTok trend, not a gender identity crisis. Believe me, I've already tried.

Everyone around you can probably sense you are queer anyway. I was so obvious about being transgender that my friend placed bets on how long it would take me to come out. He gave me about a year. I came out as a transgender man three months later while listening to Green Day on the bus.

Please don't change yourself to fit in. No one knows you on campus yet, so you're allowed to mess up. There are no expectations you have to conform to, so go kiss that random hot person in the corner at that house party!

And most of all, be proud.

Your biggest fan,

Gib Manrique

Feb. 20, 2024

Dear reader,

Get ready for phase two of queerdom. I can practically hear your screams of:


Luckily, college helps you discover things that the people in your repressed little hometown have never even heard of. Yes, I'm talking about sex, among other things. So many gay people enter college and try to figure everything out alone even though they've never even held hands with another homosexual. It's sad, really. 

Fortunately for you, here's everything you need to know about queer sex and romance:

• Gay first base: Sex

• Gay second base: Say "I love you," and form a deeply codependent relationship

• Gay third base: Adopt a cat

• Gay fourth base: First date! Woo!

• Gay fifth base: Break up or get married. Or both!

• Optional gay sixth base (if you really want a challenge): Move in with your partner and their best friend, who is also your mutual ex. Then do a switcheroo and start dating the other ex while they become your new best friend.

Now you might be thinking — I KNOW HOW TO HAVE SEX! I'M SET FOR LIFE!

No, you're not. Being gay is more than just sex, despite what many homophobic nutjobs want you to believe. To survive this, you need some friends, also known as oomfs.

There are many stereotypical gay cliques out there, all stemming from the internet subculture they were raised by in place of their parents. Each one has its own set of extremely official rules and regulations, and lucky for you, I'm an expert.

• The mainstream: When you say "gay" to a straight person, this is what they'll think of. I'm talking about those twinks you see in every Netflix romantic comedy. Surprisingly enough, they don't just exist in movies to assist Drew Barrymore, and they're not just skinny, hairless men who are into fashion, despite that one court scene in "Legally Blonde." Once you become friends with one, you learn they can have some depth. Get on their good side — you'll know once they start calling you "bitch" and "babe" — and they'll become your life companions. The downside is they will perpetually be surrounded by a mob of straight women who treat them like pets. Whenever you hear one say "yas queen" or "huntyyyy," run. That twink is a sleeper agent for white women who attend gentrified drag brunch, and he will try to get you to party with him. Girl, I am transgender. Do you think I can go to FIJI daygers?

• Granola: This is for all my outdoorsy, Timberland-clad, Northern Arizona University queers out there. These are the queer people whose lifelong aspiration is to merge with a tree. The primary stereotype of this clique is the granola lesbian, who wears Birkenstocks and drives a Subaru Outback. While granola gays are usually very kind — hell, they adopt abandoned pit bulls and make fresh vegan fettuccine — never get on their bad side. Not only are they absolutely jacked from all their hikes, but they'll also drag you along to camp with them and force you to sleep on the forest floor outside of the two-room tent they bought to have sex in.

• Indie/artsy: These are the gay people who have fluffy hair, more piercings than you can count, a thrifted sweater from a dead grandpa and a ukulele they learned to play on YouTube. Expect someone who owns vinyl records from bands "you have never heard of" (The Smiths) and desperately wants to be Scott Pilgrim or Ramona Flowers, the quintessential manic pixie dream girl.


Well yes.

I'm kidding. You don't actually have to perfectly fit into one of these cliques to have friends. There are so many types of people out there, especially at ASU, that it's impossible to label them all. Many people don't even want a label. At the end of the day, just find people with whom you can survive this whole college thing.

The friends I've made in college may not be the type of queer people I hung around before coming to ASU, but that's been an overwhelmingly positive surprise. Now, my world is much bigger than the cigarette-eating, TV Girl-worshiping indie kids I hung out with in high school.

Don't put all your eggs in one rainbow basket.

Your bestest friend and local sex-pert,

Gib Manrique

Feb. 29, 2024

Dear reader,

Pardon me, but it seems I've left out a crucial part of being gay in college: academics, the whole point of us all shacking up together on one campus like this. Getting a degree is technically the real reason why you moved across the country, definitely not because you wanted to escape to a new place where no one knows your deadname.


Obviously, the first place everyone goes to pinpoint the gay majors in college is the arts program.

I remember being freshly 18 and terrified at my first InfernoFest. After listening to straight guys attack the musical star Wallows and feeling disheartened about choosing ASU, sitting in front of a bunch of students from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts dyed hair and watercolor tattoos felt like a gift from God. It was like I was a lone gay sailor catching sight of a lighthouse after being lost at sea for eight months.

While studying art is certifiably queer, I am not one to limit gay people. Queer people are allowed to dedicate their academic careers to essential endeavors, like cultivating creativity in the musical theater program, or useless fluff, like engineering or astrophysics.

In all seriousness, there are queer people in every major! 

Except business. There are no queer people in the business school. Queer people would wear much more fashionable suits around the Tempe campus than the plain black ones business students don.

So don't limit yourself. But if all else fails, there will always be the queer angels over there at Herberger to welcome you home with open arms.

No matter what you study, however, just know that all of these classes are “woke,” meaning that professors ask students what their pronouns are at the beginning of every course. The problem is that a lot of the time, I'm the only person in my classes whose pronouns might not fit my outward appearance. I stand out like a he/they-pronouns-having thumb in the middle of my Introductory Sociology class.

It's also humiliating when a professor reads the deadname you have listed on the class roster and you have to correct them.

Still, it does get easier. The split second of embarrassment fades, and then everyone calls you the right name and uses the right pronouns — for the most part.

Unless doing so would actively put you in danger, I would suggest being honest about your identity in class. By doing so, you're pushing back against people who want you to stay quiet about who you are.

Don't let anyone take you away from you.

The loudest person you know,

Gib Manrique

March 11, 2024

Dear reader,

I’ve given you all the tips and tricks I know, so now I'm confident that you're finally ready to take on the big queer world of ASU by storm.


My work here is done.


Oh my god, what? What could you possibly still want from me?


Well, in all my gay wisdom, I still feel this way too. It's difficult not to when there are still people out there trying to make queer existence illegal. Sometimes, the only thing I can do with all this frustration is scream. Like this:




My bad, I had a little moment there. Even with all my knowledge, a diva can sometimes be down.

Being gay is difficult. Not just in college, but in life, because we're taught to be ashamed from the second we begin questioning the societal normalities that are shoved down our throats. 

Through all these silly little notes, I want you to know that some people want us to feel scared. The people who hate us are hoping fear will finally shut us up and keep us from being gay. So keep being super annoying — I mean proud — and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 

It's difficult to wake up every day and feel like you're completely alone in this world. But you're not. There are plenty of people reading this who are just as confused as you are. The issue is you won't find them if you're hiding. You can go your entire life feeling alone and unwanted, but what kind of life is that?

Gays just want to have fun, and for once in our miserable, suppressed queer lives, we will, goddammit.

Your local transgender almost-20-something,

Gib Manrique

Edited by Camila Pedrosa, Savannah Dagupion and Madeline Nguyen.

This story is part of The Development Issue, which was released on April 3, 2024. See the entire publication here.

Editor's notes: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from State Press Magazine or its editors.

Reach the reporter at and follow @iamGibManrique on X.

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