It is clear that as an editor I've pretty much been The Worst in the past 3 weeks. There's no excuse for it, and I'm truly sorry for people who were upset by the lack of posts - specifically anonymous posts. I'm getting my act together, promise.
Since then, though, despite my complete failure, The Girls on the staff have just been crushing it on the blog. Veronica and Risa have been writing simply amazing pieces for the site (if you haven't checked them out, do so right now). Patrick deserves cred, too!
So here are the way way long overdue anonymous entries, yo.
I don't know how I identify. Sometimes I think one thing, then later I'll think something else, and even later I'll be unsure again. And sometimes all of this bothers me. But The Center never fails me. Whenever I'm there I just always feel really empowered. The students there are unlike students I've met anywhere else on campus. In just a few words they are: grounded, passionate and eccentric. I love the "community" feeling that exists. And Janie, Chris and Peg always make me feel welcome. Thank you for facilitating this positive space on campus.
[Ed. Note: Amen. I have never been disappointed by a visit to the Center, either. To think that I was so anti-going freshman year! I don't even want to think about all the hugs I missed out on. Thank YOU for making my time there just as warming :)]
Same shit, different gender. I am the one who expresses my feelings, sacrifices time and sleep, and is generally more invested. I thought being in a same-sex relationship would be easy because there would be certain commonalities in the way we think, but I was so wrong. Is there something in me that is attracted to taciturn people? It just pisses me off to think that I'm "the girl in the relationship" because that supports the stupid gender binary in addition to my clingy, dependent-on-my-significant-other tendencies...but it seems that that is the most accurate description of what's going on here. I guess it is just a personality thing, rather than a sexuality thing. Some people are attracted to blondes, I'm attracted to people who have trouble putting their feelings into words. Does anyone else find themselves taking on the same role in every relationship they're in? This is starting to get frustrating.
[Ed. Note: That is frustrating! Ambiguity in a relationship sucks, and yes, seems to be a Y chromosome thing. Feeling that you are putting in all of the effort with little positive feedback can be crippling. For some reason this short-lived show Ari (King of Obscure Entertainment) told me about once comes to mind, called "Tell Me You Love Me." Basically the premise was pretty much that: just... tell me you love me. Meh. I may be way off, but that's how your post resonates with me.]
There are a ton of cute girls here, huh man?"
This sentence, and others like it, sometimes are my worst nightmare. I used to identify as gay, in fact, I've come out to my family back home, and all of my friends at Duke. The problem is, everywhere I go, I run into new challenges with coming out. You would think that once I was totally out in school, I would never go back into the closet, but for some reason, that hasn't been the case lately.
You see, I'm currently taking a semester off and doing an internship. At first I wasn't intending to go back into the closet, but sexuality really never comes up in my conversations, and I'm kind of tough to spot as gay, so people simply assume I'm straight. When people assume this, it seems so tough for me to correct them, because I don't want it to be awkward or anything. I just want to go with the flow, because I don't really mind, except for the fact that I'm hiding something that is a large part of my identity. It's such a catch-22, because I don't want to make things super awkward, but at the same time, the fact that I like guys is probably going to come up in all of my close friendships. I dunno, I guess I just really value my relationships with straight guys, because I don't identify very much with a lot of the gay community that i've met for some reason, I guess it's just not really my scene. I don't want to hide who I am, but at the same time, I don't want guys to think that I want to hit on them just because I like hanging out with them.
Not too sure where I'm going with this, but anyone have any advice?
[Ed. Note: Good post! Personally, I have many straight male friends that I'm completely out to (and always have been). It's never been a problem, and the honesty prevents really awkward and uncomfortable comments like the one you mentioned above. They've never felt uncomfortable around me (as far as I know) and we talk about everything. I don't think we give straight men enough credit - just as not all gays are not the same, not every heterosexual is a homophobe. At the same time, though! It can be really difficult to bring these things up on the fly or out of nowhere - today, someone asked me if the homework due tomorrow was gay. I didn't say anything (I really shoulda, and I'm pissed that I didn't). I'm still kind of working on that myself. Has anyone figured how to navigate these issues?]
A friend of mine recently asked out a woman she had been interested in for weeks. She finally got up the nerve to ask her out and was overjoyed to get a yes. The date went fairly well, nothing spectacular but far from terrible. A few days later, my friend was approached by a mutual acquaintance of theirs and was simply told that the interest was not mutual. Rather than be cruel and say no at the outset, her hopes were raised and then dashed via a third party. This is the kind of thing we all used to see in middle school. I have heard countless other stories of avoidance and middlemen used to solve dating issues. If someone has the guts to put themselves out there, the least that can be done in return is to explain yourself (a “sry i think we shud just b friends” text is probably not the most well-mannered approach) and treat the other person with respect. So please, let’s collectively suck it up and endure the uncomfortable conversations and put an end to the middle school drama. We all deserve better. /end rant
[Ed. Note: Agreed. The Joe Jonas Breakup should not be the paradigm for communication at Duke. We can do better.]
I'm a very outspoken ally but her comment challenged my pre-existing ideas in an unusual way. She was telling me about her boyfriend and how he was jealous that she was spending so much time with her best friend (another female). I almost made a comment that "well, you're into guys. so what's he so worried about?" except she explained that she's bi and her best friend is an ex before I had a chance to make my remark. I'd like to think that my thought wasn't homophobic or heteronormative (because I didn't assume that she was attracted to men), but I admit that it was assuming of a different sort of normative--one of being attracted to only one sex. Thanks, friend, for showing me that no matter how hard I try to be inclusive, I'm still a product of this society and I have some of my own prejudices to overcome.
[Ed. Note: GREAT point, #5. A goal of mine, too, is to recognize this (huge) room for progress even within The Community. Major changes in how we speak start with Us.]
WHERE ARE ALL OF THE ANONYMOUS POSTS?
[Ed. Note: I know! I can't really stress enough how sorry I am for going M.I.A. Besides infinite guilt, though, the people who've called me out on this remind me that there are people visiting! Which is promising! Keep me honest, Readers.]
Sometimes I intellectualize (rather than thinking about what I feel) my sexuality and I think I should be bi. It's about the person, right? Not their gender. At least it should be.
[Ed. Note: Ideally, yeah :) It's very difficult to break out of societal norms when it comes to attraction, but I know many people who've been much happier once they did.]
When I first met the staff at the center as a freshman I introduced myself as a "straight ally." I'm sorry I couldn't just call myself an ally [without specifying my sexual orientation] or that I didn't feel comfortable just introducing myself by the other typical freshman labels [hometown, intended major, etc]. I realize that proclaiming my straightness like that doesn't really make me much of an ally at all and that it was just lingering homophobia on my part. I'm past that point, now, but I still feel bad about it.
[Ed. Note: Thanks for sharing, #8, I really like this post. You rock.]
BDU, I won't lie. I'm a little disappointed in the lack of posts lately. I still check back every day, though, so keep up the good work. I'd love to see more stories about LGBT life at Duke in particular. How was your adjustment in coming out? How supportive is the straight community? I know that I'll be there soon, but I'm still impatient. All of your articles are great, and this blog is one of the first things I check every morning.
I posted a while back about being accepted ED, and I have suggestion. There is a pretty active Duke 2014 facebook group, and I was hoping that someone could post a link or a thread to the page, especially when the RD admits start joining, which should be very soon.
[Ed. Note: Yo whattup '14. Missed you. Sorry for the slow couple of weeks! You are in good company with your frustration. You're pretty much The Best for checking up on the site all the time. We'll do better by you, promise. About the facebook group, I'll get on that. Feel free to talk us up to other incoming students yourself! Spread the good word!]
Have at it, Readers! And again, thanks for your patience. This Community has always been there for me, and I appreciate the support and encouragement. In other words,