Hey all! Hopefully everyone's having an awesome break. I've been spending mine counting down to New Year's Eve with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper.
We didn't get any anonymous posts two weeks ago (12.14-12.20), mostly because the Dukies were busy catching up on a semester's worth of sleep. But y'all have definitely stepped it up this week! The comments on the last three posts (not to mention the posts themselves) have been equally intriguing and touching. The discourse, empathy and support among friends and strangers alike on this blog is really pretty amazing. Personally, it is consistently reassuring after seeing all of the hate in the news that this Community not only exists, but is strong, and is there for each other.
But anyhow! Here are the posts from this week. As always, these require our responses, so let's get to it :)
Hi so I saw where you posted something about Uganda, so I figured international LGBT issues are just as welcome as American ones. I'm doing my thesis on a group of people in South Asia called the hijras - they can be best thought of as male-to-female transgenders. The NC Consortium for South Asian Studies (the Duke/UNC/NC State organization for South Asian studies) liked my thesis website enough to link it to their blog, so I thought I'd share it with you guys as well.
[Ed. Note: Thanks, John!]
Recently, I've been asked by JournElism.org/United Press International to write a 5 articles series on an important issue I hold dear to me. I've chosen LGBTQ equality as one and women's issues as a close second. Anyway, I need to identify 5 key players in the realm of LGBTQ issues (it can be anyone) and have to submit an outline/interview questions.
I would really appreciate any feedback/ideas you all have. So far, I've identified Brian Bond, the White House Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Joe Solmonese (President of HRC), Tammy Baldwin, Wanda Sykes, Ellen Degeneres, Bishop Gene Robinson, etc. Clearly women of color are missing, so any suggestions on that would be a plus. Any out LGBTQ persons or allies in policy-making positions would be especially helpful. Also, any questions you might have for such persons would be great!
In the end, I envision the article series to go beyond the popular gay marriage debate and into some concrete issues that not everyone is familiar with. Things like ENDA, housing discrimination, health issues, even LGBTQ youth (how at risk they are), the Bullying Act, etc.
Any help (small or big) would be fully appreciated!!!
[Ed. Note: Hopefully we can help! Readers, I know you've got this one.]
I don't really know what it is I want to write. Or what the point of this post is. But, I've been writing this post in my head for a few weeks now and I feel like I should take the leap and type it out and send it in. For years now, I've been "questioning." It wasn't something I thought about every day, but certain situations made me internally confront my sexuality before immediately supressing my thoughts and moving on with my life. I played this game with myself for a while (honestly, I don't really remember when it started...which is saying something). I met with a new psychiatrist recently to address some other issues when I finally broke my silence. That first appointment I avoided my shrink's questions, but for the next few weeks all I could think about was rehearsing what I'd say next time. Despite how easy it all came in my head and how long I've secretly yearned to have someone to talk to about this, during the next session I found myself hyperventilating, sweating, lightheaded and unable to make eye contact; my heart beat was pounding and I had a serious knot in my stomach. I felt sick for the rest of the day. A HUGE ally with a tolerant, liberal family (and friends), I don't know why this is such a struggle for me. And while I used to not think about it often, recently it's the only thing on my mind. Any quiet downtime I have, I'm running through things in my head. Still, I'm more confused than ever by my sexuality. And you'd never know it.
[Ed. Note: I will leave advice and the like to our comments section, but know that you are not the only person that's dealt with this. Far from it. In fact, this reminds me of post #1 from three weeks ago. Just as I told her, I'll say that I think you'll find that a lot of the Readers have gone through a similar process.]
I have always hated being home for breaks, but the past two weeks have been the absolute worst. This semester, I started my first romantic relationship with another woman (though I've known I was queer for much longer) and being back with my family reminds me how close-minded they are. Well, "close-minded" may not be the right word, but "conservative" definitely is.
It's not even the LGBT stuff that gets to me. My sister is looking at colleges and my dad considers racial diversity a negative aspect of a school and she's not allowed to go to a university that is not religiously affiliated. Ever since I've realized that race and gender equality issues are of paramount importance to me, I've felt a growing distance from my family; they see me as formerly perfect, traditional daughter who got brainwashed by her "radical" group of friends at school (I know, Duke is "radical" to them *eyeroll*) and sort of tune me out whenever I try to explain my views.
So this sexuality thing is like the icing on the cake. We almost NEVER bring up sexuality, not even in a general or theoretical way, so telling them that I'm friends with a lot of gay people and that I consider myself queer is not on the radar. And telling them about my girlfriend (whom they've met on many occasions) is simply out of the question.
For a while, I was really depressed about the fact that I couldn't be open with my parents, but now I just feel feel like they don't deserve to know. When they make me feel like my opinions and emotions are valid, I will be honest with them. But for now, I'll walk the awkward line I'm always tip-toeing on at home: maintaining the prized-daughter status I had in high school while trying to get them to accept and understand what is important to me now. I just need to survive until January 12, when I'm surrounded by everyone and everything I love once again.
[Ed. Note: Going home for the break seems to be rough on a lot of the Readers in this respect. Thanks for sharing your story :)]