May 10, 2010

An Open Letter To Closeted Duke Women

My Statistics final is tomorrow morning. Of course I can’t sleep.

From perusing the Me Too Blog I can tell that many women at Duke are in the closet. I also know that Janie and Chris meet with many closeted people at the LGBT Center. I like to think of myself as an approachable gal. If a closeted woman at Duke wanted to talk to another queer student, she’d feel comfortable talking to me. Yet so far I have received no Facebook messages. No e-mails. No calls. No texts. No one has randomly come up to me and identified herself as a queer woman. Why is that?

I’m a self-proclaimed Center kid. I have been out since I was 12 and visited the LGBT Center during Blue Devil days with my dad. I am committed to both Blue Devil’s United and Women Loving Women. Most of the LGBT people I interact with are open enough to come to the Center or Women Loving Women. Next year as a member of the executive board I will help shape Blue Devil’s United and I have no idea what it is like to be in the closet at Duke. I know of the many pros of being out of the closet and can also attest to its cons. Every day is an opportunity to conduct informal research. What reactions do my girlfriend and I get when we’re holding hands on the Plaza? How many people came to Lavender Ball? How do the people in club X and Selective Living Groups Y and Z view openly LGBT people? What do some members of sororities think about not being able to take other girls to their formals? When and where do I hear the most hate speech? My research has also extended beyond Duke. What is it like to be openly LGBT and homeless? What is it like to be openly LGBT at a Catholic all-girls school in San Antonio, Texas? What is it like to be openly LGBT and a great dancer?

To all the closeted LGBT women at Duke: I need you as much as you need me. The regular attendees of Women Loving Women have already convened to talk about what we can do next year to reach out to closeted women. I’m sure you’ll find our ideas strange, but hopefully you’ll also find them attractive. If you want to chat send me a message on Facebook. Perhaps in the Fall we can meet in person.

To everyone: Have a swell summer!


  1. This is wonderful Veronica! It's inspiring the way you reach out to all the closeted women at Duke and the wider community. I hope you have a wonderful summer!

  2. I love this!! Especially the title of your entry. I would second that recommendation to talk to Ms.'d be in good hands! :D