Graduation Trepidation: How Accepting Of Us Queers Is Real World NH?

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Emma Simpson, left, and Tori Tucker, Keene State College students who created The Gay Agenda, are pictured on a Ferris wheel at a Keene State College carnival.

By Tori Tucker
The Gay Agenda

One of the best feelings in the world is walking around, hand in hand with the person you love knowing that you’re in a safe place. Next week I’m graduating college.

I can’t believe it. And I realized as I was walking down Appian Way with Emma, enjoying the warm spring weather that soon neither of us is going to be able to just walk around anywhere without worrying about second glances from strangers or hecklers much longer.

Keene State has been a safe haven for the both of us. At Keene, no one bats an eye if you’re queer, but out in the real world there’s always a question of who’s out there.

Next year we’re getting an apartment, since I will no longer be able to live on campus as I have these past four years and it’s been a stressful process just looking at places. There’s no way of telling if the neighbors will be friendly to us, or even the realtors for that matter.

Tori Tucker

We always make a point of either holding hands or using pet names just so that they know that we’re a couple. (It’s best to catch the issues before hand after all.)

And while we’re home in Portsmouth over the summer, while it’s a progressive and fairly liberal city, we don’t have that blanket of a safe space policy.

I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m scared.

The world is a scary place filled with people that can be hateful towards us queers just trying to go about our lives. But as I countdown the last few days to graduation, I’m grateful that at least I have someone to go through it all with.

Even if there are troubles to face, I at least know that I have someone to face things with together, and I know I can go home at the end of the day to someone who understands these things and loves me as much as I love her.

I’ll miss having such a safe and beautiful campus to call home, but at least I know that when I leave on graduation day, I’ll have Emma standing by my side ready to face whatever comes our way.

Tori Tucker and Emma Simpson are Keene State College students who work on the column The Gay Agenda together. It is posted every Sunday at

Tori Tucker

Tori Tucker was born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She is a student, author, and activist, and is currently in her senior year at Keene State College where she is finishing her English-Writing BA. In addition to being a writing student Tori also is pursuing minors in music and German. She is an intern at

Emma Simpson

Emma Simpson is a Women’s and Gender Studies major currently in her junior year at Keene State College. She is the vice president of her campus a cappella group and involved with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer. She volunteers with The Gay Agenda.