July 26, 2010

Anonymous Posts
(7.19.10-7.25.10)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks or hate speech. Feel free to submit your thoughts and questions :)

So one of the coolest things that we did last year was the rainbow flag campaign. Especially for visiting high school students, this conveys that there is a community on campus. Alumni commented to Janie how warming it was to see the progress we've made.

And nothing's more testament to that than this old Chronicle article from September 2005 I found. Some snippets:
A flag hanging outside a window on Duke's East Campus prompted heated discussion Monday night after some students in Giles Dormitory expressed concern over the banner and requested its removal.
...

"I recognize the room is kind of central [over the Giles entrance], so what goes on... outside the window might be construed as representing the dorm," Thian said. "I am against homosexuality, however this is a free country and they have the right to say what they want to say."
For the record, the flag stayed. But anyhow. Worth a read (as are these old op-eds: My right to not support gay and lesbian groups (2002), Gay? Not fine by me (2003)).

We've actually got a handful of anonymous posts today, which is freaking awesome. The summer! This is over the summer. That we are getting so many posts. So cool.

P.S. Regarding #4 this week... I wasn't expecting this haha. Public compliments make me uncomfortable and this is super embarrassing, buuut I guess if it was anybody else (like ALIZA or SUMMER or JUSTIN or OLI or ARI or #4 THEMSELF who are all infinitely more so The Best) I'd put it up.

#1
I don't know if I'm a lesbian. I'm just so confused. And I don't want to go to hell.

#2

I'm a UNC student who would love to meet more of the LGBT community at Duke. Is "Fab Friday" the best way to go about this or is there a better way?

#3
I couldn't think of a better way to communicate with ya'all, so this is a rather silly use of an anonymous post, but I think that this is amazing (link).

#4

I've known Chris Perry since he moved to Patchogue. We lost contact...had the same classes in HS (of course speaking AP courses). It does not surprise me that he would be living in Washington D.C. (assuming so?) and raising such awareness and stories for an amazing cause. It's inspiring to see his intelligence used as a...power...or yet a force. Highschool I went down the road of immaturity and made choices that could've put me in jail (while still keeping straight A's). But in the seat next to me he'd come to AP english and would just focus on knowledge and always trying to participate in whatever he could to make a stamp in something. Not even for himself....but to form something to create a greater good. I always craved to learn but wish I would've followed his example as many of his colleagues did during that time. To see him and this blog makes me know that these are the roads that must be focused on. Always collecting knowledge and using it for a greater good. I hope you are happy Chris. Best of wishes.

#5
Why me? Why am I subjugated to this life? More importantly, why am I forced to feel this way? I just want to be straight. To be able to have a girlfriend, with whom I hold hands and kiss in public without glaring eyes. I want to bring a girl to meet my parents. I don't want to have my father who looks upon homosexuality with repugnance. I can't stand lying to myself any longer. But I do not see how I will be able to stand my parents, knowing they will never look at me the same. Who knows if they would even fund my education. I just want a normal life. Get married and have children. While these possibilities are now beginning to become open to gays, it is still not the same. I am frightened by how the human brain can be formed to think such disdain toward homosexuality. How can an idea be so powerful? I seem to have everything going for me: I'm young and healthy, about to begin studying at one of the world's most prestigious universities, I'm attractive and likable. But to me, it is nothing more than façade. The thing I hate is also the thing I identify most to. My homosexuality has shaped who I am. I can't stand to hide from it any longer. Only three other people know, two of whom I hooked up with. I want to be open about who I am, I don't want to only hoop up with guys in clandestine locations hidden from society by the darkness of night. But in the end, I just want to be straight, and then I can live my happy life. Fuck you society. I'm sorry, I just have no other way to say it. Why must I live like this, why must I think like this? Realistically, I just want to be happy at Duke. I want to be who I am. But I will not succumb to the flawed beliefs of this society. I will be happy...but why must I fight for it. I'm not so naive to think that being straight would automatically yield happiness, but it seems it is so much more feasible. I want to get with guys; which, sure its superficial, but what 19 year old doesn't want sex? And then I ask, why do I feel that I am the only one who understands and accepts my sexual orientation?. Sure I loath it at times, but I know who I am. The last guy I hooked up with, for example, says he is actually straight and doesn't want to do this any more, which I'm fine with, but I feel it is bullshit. If you hook up with a guy, enjoy it and get an erection from it, how can you say you're not attracted to men? I was the first guy he hooked up with, so maybe he has been lying to himself for so long? I first hooked up with a guy my summer before 9th grade, so I guess I have had more time to experiment? But even then I understood I like guys. Throughout high school I had this "hook up buddy". However, it was an on and off thing. I understood if he didn't want to hook up with me, but so many times he would say he isn't in to this kind of stuff any more. This is what the last 5ish years have been like. Have I just found "bad" guys? Okay, my post has been kind of all over the place, but the idea I think I have been developing and venting is that this society is so fucked up (sorry for the language again). I know this idea isn't new, and that all of you can understand it, but seriously, why? Why are we, intelligent and supposedly rational beings, able, or perhaps forced, to believe these ideas. I really don't know where I'm going with this, I suppose as means of venting since I have no one to discuss this with when it concerns me personally. Quiero aprovechar el dia, pero ¿como puedo? Estoy ocultando del mundo con un velo de mentiras. Me pregunto, ¿quien eres? Y ya lo sé. Sin embargo, no puedo sentirlo. Ojala que un dia pueda ser contento con mi sexualidad y, sobre todo, mi vida. Sorry, I like to think/write in Spanish sometimes, haha even though I'm not a native speaker. So its near 3 am and I've run out of steam. I understand that I am gay, I just hope I can make the best of it for the next four years at Duke, and for the duration of my life.

#6
I can't stand that by coming out I broke my parents' hearts

13 comments:

  1. #1 - It truly breaks my heart to read your post. I understand you're confused and worried, but do not hate yourself. It's hard to let go of all the things we've been told for so long, I know. But no matter what you've been taught, your beliefs or the beliefs of others, you are not bad. You are not damned. You are just you. Learn to love yourself.

    #5 - It seems like you're starting to accept yourself, so run with that! You can absolutely be happy and be open about who you are. Confidence is key. Try to remember what it takes to build that confidence when encountering others who haven't even started the process, though. It probably sucks to have guys tell you they're not into it because they're "straight," but, 1) they have their own internal struggles to deal with, 2) they need support more than judgment, and 3) not all guys are insecure. Don't lose hope in men, or in society. Things are changing.

    #6 - I'm sorry your parents see it as a negative. I hope you don't. I don't know who your parents are, but it's probably safe to say that they come from a more rigidly heterosexist environment. It's not fair that you have to deal with this, but give it time.

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  2. #1 – This is long but I wanted to help...

    You’re definitely not going to hell. I’m not sure if we share the same beliefs, so this might be something that you don’t agree with me on, but check this out. In the early days of the Church, a policy called Adelphopoiesis existed, which many historians today view as the earliest religiously-sanctioned same-sex unions in the Catholic Church. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelphopoiesis). I know that’s a little outdated but when I came across that in a LGBT history book once I was pretty impressed (the book is called “same-sex marriage throughout history”). In other words, the acceptance and acknowledgement of LGBT relations has changed over time with theological institutions, so I wouldn’t necessarily look at the issue just the way it is perceived by some religions today.

    Right now, just from your short blog entry, I can’t exactly tell where you are in your coming out process. And I’m certainly not an expert on LGBT issues or coming out, so I can only speak from my experience, but here we go:

    When I first started questioning, I didn’t know if I was a lesbian either. This OK. =) You’re not supposed to know 110% spot-on with some crystal-clear definition in your head that match our LGBT labels exactly. That would be weird. =) Instead, just the very fact that you are questioning is awesome. Keep this up. Don’t stop! I’m proud of you for just having the courage to question in our heterocentrist society.

    So please know that you’re not alone in how you feel. And it seems to me like maybe religion has given you a somewhat negative perception of what being LGBT is. I respect your belief system even though it may not be mine. But I also hope you think about what your life might be like if you wholly accepted this aspect of your identity in a positive way. What could that look like? =) Maybe decide if that’s the kind of life you’d like to live.

    I really hope you have the courage to continue this questioning process. But it’s definitely hard, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this on your own. From my own experience, it didn’t work as well on my own as it did with our (YOUR :) community. I’d encourage you to check out your resources at CAPS (see the right hand link to the side of this blog entry) or talk to anyone of us, including myself, here on the blog. You’re not alone in this at all…in fact you’re actually in good company. Questioning lead me to the simultaneously most difficult and most rewarding change in my life….but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world. Good luck!

    #5 - I agree with Spencer! If there is one thing I would change about my Duke experience, it would have been to come out and be openly lesbian from day ONE of freshman orientation. =) I really hope you have the courage to come out when you're ready at Duke! you have a community here to help you (see above), and feel free to contact anyone of us if you need support or want to talk out this coming out process before you get to Duke. if you've made it this far, I know you can do it :D

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  3. #2 Fab Fridays can be fun but you can also just stop by the Center on any given afternoon during the semester and find people there studying or just hanging out. It can sometimes be an easier way to have a conversation than FF.

    #1,5, and 6 As Chris has mentioned before, Janie Long, the Center Director is a great resource. She helped me tremendously. She will even meet you on East campus if you prefer.

    #4 Ditto to the greatness of Chris Perry!!!

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  4. #1: I don't identify with a particular religion and haven't had to face disownership by my church, but there are absolutely wonderful people (students and faculty) that would be more than happy to help you. I know that there was a group at UNC for people who identified as both gay and christian, or simply wanted to learn. By being able to even talk about it (even if it's just your confusion) you've taken a good step. Good Luck. <3

    #2: Fab Friday is a great thing to use in order to get to know the absolutely WONDERFUL Duke Community. I don't know how much you've read this blog, but there have been some anon posts against Fab Friday. Honestly, go there and be outgoing and fun and the amazing person that you are. Don't expect everyone to just rush to you. Don't sit around awkwardly, if you want friends, you must make them.

    #3: I love you.

    #4: I love you and your positivity as well. Chris is just absolutely super and he's always so wonderfully modest.

    #5: Whoa. First, Duke will become whatever you make it. This you must completely understand and accept. If you continue on your path of internalized homophobia (most likely due to the environment you were raised in [your fathers strong beliefs]) then you will be left wanting more. As for your "bad" guys, they are bad because you're both searching for the same thing, secrecy. Many closeted people do hate themselves and identify as straight throughout even a clearly homosexual activity because of the hostile and heteronormative society that we seem to find ourselves encompassed by. It's cheesy but true, you must love yourself for who you are completely and then you will find someone who makes you happy and deserves your love. Lastly, many people who outrightly hate homosexuals do so because they do not like the idea of two men sleeping together (refer to Matt's most recent blog post) and because they don't actually know any homosexuals with whom they have other personal ties. Worrying about your financial stability and your education is a legitimate concern though. I have no place to tell you what to do, just do what you think will be the best for you.

    #6: I've learned that everything really does heal with time. Your parents hearts are broken because they love you but not your sexuality. With time they will learn to accept it, hopefully. But, until then, you must be patient and while you shouldn't outrightly showcase your homosexuality by pulling ridiculous pride-like stunts, you have to keep reminding them that you are still the son/daughter that they loved before and that your sexual orientation is just a part of you. Best of luck =)

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  5. #2: FAB FRIDAY IS THE SHIT. As a UNC student, yeah, your best bet is to take the Robertson over and come chill from 4-6. Most likely you'll join us to the Dillo afterward. And then we'll head to Kilgo/Summer's place to relax for the night (haha this is how I see Friday nights going, Community).

    #3: <3 Nerds. So hard.

    #4: Oy. You're too much. Thanks for the kind words, it's... well. It's really nice to hear. I'm going to restrain myself from going into a big long thing about high school and how much I loved it and everyone in it (with two? yeah. two exceptions. haha). You've got me trying to reconstruct seating arrangements in Ms. Earl/Tice's english classes, but I think my memory is too shot for this to be anything but a huge failure haha. Anyhow. Rock on. Thanks for reading, and thanks for making my day/week. Ditto to the comment about a lot of my close friends - Athena, Fisher, Jenna, Jeff Timlin. You were most likely not talking about all of them, but those were my idols in high school and no doubt who I looked up to. Pat-Med love. Keep in touch, #4.

    #5: You are The Coolest. Your post pushes this week to probably the best ever for anonymous posts (#amiright, Everyone?). You're young and all, but there were so many times in your post where I said OUT LOUD, "Yes. RIGHT?" (YROL? Can we make that a thing now?).

    Your high school experience is more or less (more) identical to mine. I thought I was the only person who had to deal with a long-term friends with benefits relationship (relationship?) with a straight (*"straight"?) guy. That fucked me up. A lot. When this:

    The last guy I hooked up with, for example, says he is actually straight and doesn't want to do this any more, which I'm fine with, but I feel it is bullshit. If you hook up with a guy, enjoy it and get an erection from it, how can you say you're not attracted to men? I was the first guy he hooked up with, so maybe he has been lying to himself for so long?

    happened, verbatim. And then, when we inevitably were not on speaking terms (I was busy downloading every Bright Eyes and Dashboard Confessional song ever) he actually told friends of mine that the reason we weren't friends was that I was in love with him and he felt uncomfortable around me. And you know "lord knows what [I] did to [him] in his sleep" when I slept over. Cool! Cool. Anyhow. It's really a long story, but I've found catharsis in sharing it - especially with people who've had similar experiences (and we are not the only ones! That is a weird thing for me to conceptualize even now). Anyhow, add me on facebook, #5. Surrounding yourself with the LGBTQA Community at Duke is certainly not requisite. One piece of advice Chris Purcell gave me was to remind myself and convey to others that "participation" is not necessary, and it may not be for everyone. However, for me, it allows me to consistently immerse myself in settings where I don't have to worry about all the ignorant bullshit. This Community (which is fucking epic, if you can't tell) not only offers the conventional emotional empathy, but there's something to be said for the intellectual empathy it provides as well. Am I making sense?

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  6. #1- please, please just know that you are *not* alone. I am a lesbian and when I first started questioning, I became wrapped up in the idea that there was no one out for me to reach out to- no one that could relate to my experience. I learned quickly that this is absolutely not the case. I wish you the best on your journey to figure things out. Always know that there is support out there for you, and like the others said, even talking about it on here is a great step.

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  7. #1

    Ditto to Megan. Trust me, if God is going to send you to Hell, it will be for much better reasons than loving the one He created you to love?

    After all, it's not good for (wo)man to be alone, right?

    #6

    And reading that just broke mine. You are loved. Never doubt the fact you are loved.

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  8. #4

    you are awesome. get used to it. you will accept that your astonishing compassion for others and remarkable determination in the campaign for LGBT equality is something few possess.

    #5

    This is my first comment on a post to the bdu blog after some subtle encouragement (not subtle). This time last year I was going through the exact same, and I still am. By no means am I completely comfortable with my sexuality but I feel that I'm slowly excepting the reality that being gay is something amazing. I still have the same worry about what my parents would do if they ever found out what the true me was actually like. I too have the constant worry that they might stop funding my education (and shopping addiction, isn't that a major tip off??) if they ever found out. It causes me physical pain every time I hear some ridiculous anti-gay statement or joke or insult directed at my younger gay cousin and am unable to scream that I am one of them. How can anyone be that cruel? Even reading the words "love you" at the bottom of an email or text, painfully typed out over the period of an hour, causes me to ask, "would they still if the knew?" I didn't even have the fortune of being around closeted and self-loathing, straight identified gays at home. Nothing can ever induce the amount of terror that I felt walking into the LGBT center for the wednesday afternoon beginning of the year greeting. That absolute terror was the best thing that I've ever done. It took months for me to even be able to walk into the center without checking to make sure no one saw me open the door and go inside. It is still difficult. New situations, new people who automatically assume I'm straight are still awkward to me. I don't know if I'll ever be completely comfortable with myself, but being gay is part of who I am and has recently become something that I wouldn't want to live without. Despite my struggle to make sense of it and fear of being discovered, I would never give up my homosexuality.

    I doubt this was any help as it turned into more about me that you but I hope at least some of it is useful.

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  9. #1. my response is really poorly written. i hope it helps.

    I was kicked out of my church the moment I came out to my family. It was the most fucking awful experience i have ever gone through and i'm still really psychologically fucked up because of it. I had an exorcism performed on me by my own parents and they even tried to send me to a christian boarding school. I lost one of my best friends and all of the friends from the church that I had grown up with and known my entire life. For my last two years of high school I found the only accepting church nearby and attended/played organ for the services there on my own.

    It has been three years now since all that happened. My parents still haven't apologized. Or even admitted what they did. The church I had grown up in still hasn't apologized--they are still rejecting anyone that identifies as LGBTIQ and that's the most painful part. Right now I'm kind of desolate. If you had told me that things would still be this bad three years after I had come out I would have never believed you. It's terribly depressing to see the same disgusting comments and the same hurtful remarks made by the family you love in the name of the only god you've ever known.

    Watching them kick my brother out for being queer just a year later hurt just as bad.

    I am terribly sorry for everything you're going through and i don't know if anything i'm saying right now is worthwhile. I just had to respond. what I want to say is that you will make it through whatever awful shit you're going through now and you will be a better person because of it.

    Also, fuck hell. i remember so many nights of sobbing myself to sleep praying desperately for god to fix me. i remember reading all the bull shit christian self help books about how to cure or stave off homosexual desires. and now i realize that's what hell is. that's the total separation from god that most religious texts speak of. the kind of total self hatred that consumes you and takes away your true gift, your true calling to be a happy, well adjusted person. that's the kind of hell i'd be worried about. besides, if the real God does exist and She believes that queer folks belong in eternal damnation then i sure don't wanna be upstairs with Her.

    Yes, I still identify as Christian-ish. Dont ask me why. I just haven't been able to get over the fears of leaving the identity of Christian. The idea of saying out loud that I'm not Christian scares me shitless and I'm not to the point where I can really, truly break that to my family. And i'm not at total peace with the whole idea in my head either. We'll see. I even work as an organist at a progressive Christian church. Yeah, that part of my life's kinda fucked up. I love my job though. So much so that I think i would keep it even if i didn't believe a word they said. I say all that because you're not going to have this thing figured out soon. and you need to accept that. and you need to know that that is OK.

    right now self love and self acceptance comes first whether that means hours of dolly and reba mixed cds and a shit ton of diet pepsi wild cherry or whatever. you've got to really be ok with whoever you are before you give two shits about what god thinks about you.

    then go try some different places of worship. some REALLY different ones. remind yourself that lots of people out there believe LOTS of crazy, crazy shit. and that's ok. but it doesn't mean you have to believe it. in the same way, people of whatever religious identity you belong to might believe some crazy, crazy shit (especially about queer folk) but it doesn't mean you have to believe it.

    lastly, know that this is going to take fucking forever. and that's ok. it really fucking sucks. but that's ok.

    know that youre loved and that you matter.

    i promise to never ramble this bad again. ever.

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  10. #1 - I'm not a religious person, and this has been said much better than I ever could (Megan and Billy's responses come to mind), but know that what they've said is true. It is really difficult to let go of beliefs you've had your whole life, but know that there are so many people out there who love and accept you, just for being the wonderful person you.

    #2 - Fab Friday's a great way to meet members of the Duke LGBTQ community! We love meeting new people and UNC students are always more than welcome.

    #3 - Hahaha, amazing!

    #4 - Agreed 100%!

    #5 - It's amazing how much your post reflected my experiences a few years ago - I guess it signifies how many young people go through this.

    Your line "I just want to be straight. To be able to have a girlfriend, with whom I hold hands and kiss in public without glaring eyes. I want to bring a girl to meet my parents." really struck me - I remember feeling it so many untold times during high school.

    It's definitely not an easy process coming to terms with all of this - for most people it takes years and a lot of soul-searching. And you're right - there're certainly a lot of screwed-up aspects of our society, often so many that it can get unbearably exhausting having to hide and conceal and put up with all the crap and bullshit life throws at us. Which is why it's so heartening to hear you give society the big "fuck off" - you sound like a strong hearted person and I have no doubt that you will, as you say, make the best of it at Duke.

    I also don't think that you need feel superficial or something of the sort for wanting to be with another guy. In fact, I think that it's another one of our most base instincts that society has unfairly vilified to fit in with it's puritan morals. But that's another discussion.

    Ultimately, your Duke experience will (cliche ahoy!) be what you make it. If you have confidence and self-belief (and it seems that you have them in droves), then you're well on your way to making the next four years some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of your life. If there's any other advice I could give you - it's to never let someone tell you that you should be some way other than the way you are - because they're quite likely full of shit. Believing in yourself and knowing that you're an awesome person who's capable of amazing things is the greatest attribute you can have.

    Well, that was kind of cheesy and ranty, but I hope I managed to help in a small way. Remember, any of us here on the blog are more than happy to chat about anything at all, don't be afraid to get in touch.

    Good luck!

    #6 - This really is one of the hardest things in the world to have to deal with. I don't know your circumstances or parents, but I'd say it's very likely that their love for you will overcome whatever else may happen. Just know that you are courageous and brave for coming out.

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  11. #1: I am right there with you. But then again, maybe the confusion is worth it... I think we learn a lot about ourselves by going through this deep questioning of our identity. I don't know what your religious beliefs are, but I do know that what ever God you believe in created you on purpose. Just as you are. If you're interested, the documentary "Fish Out of Water" gives a nice perspective on the whole religion vs. homosexuality debate.

    Keep questioning! Eventually you'll find the answers you're looking for :)

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  12. #5: I feel your pain. Your experience with the hook-up buddy is one that still haunts my mind today. I felt so betrayed when he uttered the words to me "I'm actually straight you know. It's just fun." WTF?! It's annoying. But you have to realize that people like that will never be happy until they realize the truth. And in the long run, the truth may actually be that they're straight and were just experimenting, but it's the conntotation with which they say they're straight. As though, they're not some perveted beast plaguing humankind, corrupting the minds of society's youth with its message of equality and love for all. I think that at one point in most of our lives, we all had that dream of the perfect wife/husband with 2.5 kids, a dog, and the house with the white picket fence that only seemingly gets crushed by society's imposition of its views and beliefs. But don't let that stop you. Society can only win if we allow it to keep implanting the seeds of hate. Continue to question the power of society. Once you find it within yourself to no longer be constrained by it's views, then you will be truly happy and accepting of whoever you decide you are.

    #6: I cried. I cry almost every time I talk to my mom. As the only child of a single parent, my mom and I were always close. But now that she knows the truth, a gap has grown between us. But, that gap is beginning to close, slowly, but it's closing. Don't give up. Your parents will love you no matter what. The things they say and do may not act like it but you have to believe that they are doing what they think is best for you. In their minds, they're trying to help you, they think you're making a mistake, that it's just a phase and you need some guidance. Chances are, they don't really understand what you're going through and they're just confused. Give them time. I can't tell you how much. But don't change anything about yourself to make them happy because you'll only end up being miserable. Trust me, it's a road you don't want to go down. Keep your head up. Things will work out.

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  13. To #5

    if I had a laptop I could write something more substantial (--"substantive"--)) but sometimes life is shitty and all I got is this iPod touch to type on (and like, a bible to read); instead I just wanted to encourage you to be STOKED. You're in that already good angsty-rumination-life-is-a-never-ending-epic-of-personal-discovery frame of mind that's gonna let you grow up into this convention-shedding modern individual with Proust and Foucault and wise professors and a caring RA or two and a delicious retinue of support on your side, bolstering your self-assuredness. Because people here Know How It Is, or at least they''ll try (the BDU affiliates)--I mean I don't even exactly know, since I still enjoy fucking women and might therefore someday (hopefully not haphazardly but like, who really knows?) procreate to hearty cheers of ya know, Hey He Really Did It and nice china from the wedding registry and fathers day cards--but potentiality barely matters, I understand when that realization hits: "I'm not straight" (even though you had male fuck buds to drive that message home, which I didn't encounter til college) and suddenly the vision of your MILFY wife and adoring neighbors and Range Rover,etc vanishes into obscurity.

    And then, even when you think you've gracefully transitioned into a supremely post-whatever New Man you step out of Dukes liminal academo-social bounadries and are then like, kicked out of your house and other such absurdities. I'm just saying it's a crazy ride ahead but you're gonna do it stylishly, I can tell. And if you can cultivate the IDontGiveAFuck attitude without stooping to cynicism it's a pretty good cruise. Rad post, number 5.

    --E.F.

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