So We went a week without anonymous posts last week, which we can just blame on FWOC and Tailgate, right Community? Right.
And then You were all like, "Let's send in more anonymous posts than ever this week and let's make them super interesting and fodder for The Most Conversation." And then you did.
We got nine entries this week, y'all. And some of these are superlong. So what I'm going to do is put up the first five (chronologically, as always) today, and the last four tomorrow? Is that ok? I feel like this'll help in making sure every post gets the attention it deserves and won't overwhelm Us with all the ! that is in these. I'm truly sorry if this offends the authors that are going up tomorrow.
I feel like this week is a good time to review some things as well: Our goal is to make sure that every post gets at least one response and the best thing we can do is speak from personal experience and frame it as such. Chris and Janie always stressed to me, too, that the best "advice" is to not tell somebody what to do, but to explore the options with them.
Anyhow. *deep breath* Let's do this.
Although I’ve only been an official Duke grad student for a few weeks now, I am so grateful for how welcomed I have felt in my academic program and as a member of the general Duke community. I have been fortunate enough to have a great roommate and to have found several people with whom I have become quick friends. My experience thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am happy, for the most part. That being said, I am not yet out to the majority of the new people I have met. I’ve only been out to my friends and family for a year and a half, and the prospect of coming out to people who barely know me is a bit daunting. There is a part of me that knows most people don’t care, and I vacillate between not worrying about how others will react and being terrified by their reactions. I suppose this is normal, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I am proud of who I am, most of the time. Being gay is simply one part of me, albeit an important one. I’m also a firm believer in being honest with people when I am ready, and this has served me well so far. At the same time, however, I’ve already encountered some awkward situations with people trying to set me up with guys. The most recent encounter resulted in me coming out to my roommate. I lucked out, because she seems fine with it, despite being completely surprised. But, I’m nervous about the other experiences I might have that may not end so well. I have a strong support system of friends and family, but they’re not physically here. So, if things don’t go so well, I don’t want to feel isolated in a new environment.
I want to become involved in the LGBT community here at Duke and meet other LGBT-identified people, but I realize that in order to do so, I must be comfortable with a certain level of visibility. I’m frustrated because I’m not sure I’m there yet. I’ve been reading this blog for several months now, and I give a lot of props to all of the contributors and readers who are so helpful and supportive of each other and the anonymous posters. I admire you for being so visible and comfortable. I hope my post is not completely out of place on an undergrad blog (it would be great if DukeOUT started something similar), but I wanted to share my concerns in the hopes that some of you could offer any advice on how to gradually transition to being more out in a new environment. Maybe one of these days I will be comfortable enough to introduce myself to all of you. Thanks for listening.
I'm a girl. I started "questioning" not because I was attracted to another girl, but because I just wasn't ever attracted to any guys. I still don't find myself eyeing any guy (ever), but I also don't have any crushes on girls. I mean, sometimes I think "oh, he's cute/good looking," but I don't ever get that crush feeling. Similarly, for girls, I might think "oh, she looks good," but still no butterfly in the stomach nervous tension, etc. Can anyone else relate to this never-really-being-attracted-to-anyone ordeal? Is it what made you start questioning, too? How did you figure out how you identified if you didn't have any attraction to base it on?
I've never done this before, so here it goes: I'm a Senior at Duke, and I have a big secret that only one person knows. She told me it might help me get it off my chest and like rant about it a little if I could do it anonymously. Apparently you guys are gonna hear me out no matter how fucking stupid I sound? Anyway, so the big secret is that I'm gay. Even though saying it here doesn't really count because it's basically anonymous, I have to say that it feels really good to just say it a few times. Like, I'm still at a point where I'm grossed out that this is who I've become, but she says that the more I say it proudly, the better it will feel. I've never told anyone except her before because of all the obvious social constraints: my parents wouldn't allow it, I have a girlfriend I've dated for awhile now, and I'm in a fraternity at Duke that kind of puts us all on a pedestal as the best fraternity to be in and so on. We're supposed to look good and fuck girls and play around because we can. And I do. I do all of that shit and I'm sort of lying the whole time you know, getting through it, and there's not a single guy there who would get it. Why would they? Because I know what we say about guys and what we call each other: all that shit about stuff being "no homo" and how so and so is a "fag" because he does this or that. We just rag on each other and I know it's wrong to talk like that, but now it's like it's even more wrong because I wonder how they'd talk about me if they knew? Like, if they knew that some of them really piss me off calling some kid a fag because he couldn't drink the handle, would they start calling me a fag too because I like guys, even though I could at least drink the whole damn handle? I'm still the fucking man right? I get freaked out because realizing I'm gay - realizing I've hooked up with guys drunkenly and enjoyed it, realizing I've done more than just experiment, realizing girls just don't get me hot or turn me on - doesn't make me any less of a guy does it? Like I still want to drink and play ball and "bro out" but now it's so fucking confusing because some of my brothers really are chill guys and I need that kind of thing in my life. If they found out I was gay, they wouldn't want me around anymore because that's fucking weird. And then I think about the gay stuff I've done with some other guys in the frat - I wonder if they liked it, too, or if they're weirded out just as much as I am or if they think it was like a one time deal and that it'd be weird of me to suggest it ever happening again. I've been at this school for four fucking years and I only have one person I can be honest with? And the person I'm honest with isn't even myself. It's my friend. When I tell her I'm gay, I believe it but when I tell myself I'm gay, I keep trying to come up with all these reasons why I might not be - or at least - why I shouldn't be. At this point in college I've missed out on any opportunity to be honest about this and maybe meet some other gay guys who see where I'm at, so what's the point in coming out of the closet now? I'll lose my whole social life and basically everything I've built here at Duke. Writing anonymously is kind of my only option. So that's what I'm trying to do right now: be honest with myself and I guess with all you other people reading. The point is that I'm gay. I'm not gay in the way my brothers mean the word -I'm not weak and I'm not weird. I'm just gay. I like guys. And I'm really, really afraid.
(You who encouraged me to write this post, you know who you are. I'm sorry I can't take a bigger step but I appreciate you being there at this one. You're my best friend and you know that)
Hi! I'll be honest - I have never met a gay person. I know it sounds shocking, but I'm not from America, and homosexuality is neither common nor embraced in my country. I also admit that I’ve not gone out of my way to meet any member of any LGBT community, whether it be the tiny one back home or the thriving one here. (For that reason I also apologise if I say anything un-PC in this post – believe me, it will be a completely honest mistake.)
However, now I want to. I’m a straight girl, and I have a boyfriend. I really don’t see that changing any time soon. However, part of why I came to Duke was to experience new things, meet new people and forge friendships I would probably never have at home. I’ve been reading the blog regularly for about a year, and I want to go down to the LGBT center some time, just to have a look around and, I dunno, check it out.
When is a good time to go? Do I just show up? Will people automatically assume I’m a lesbian? (I just feel like that might create a little awkwardness.) What would I do there? I’m scared that my naivety when it comes to the LGBT culture will cause me to say something totally insensitive and mess up and offend someone.
I have been stuck between a rock and a hard place during my first two weeks at Duke.
I love Duke. I love the atmosphere; I love the new friends I've made. I love my classes, even. (I'm a nerd, so it all plays well with each other). Sure, the work can be stressful, but I've always had stress to perform well in high school, so now it's just the ol' bump and grind.
On the other hand, I've had to make this tough mental and psychological transition from my home to Duke. See, I am not too open about being gay. I mean, I’m way more open than I was a year ago as I just started coming out to my friends this past spring, but I am still hesitant to tell people that I am gay unless they ask me, with which I properly respond. I am gay, and I am comfortable with that fact. And I am comfortable around others, even with those who don't know I'm gay. But I am finding myself being quite socially awkward amongst my peers.
I've been at Duke for three weeks. I have not been out to West on a Friday or Saturday night.
I feel like my social awkwardness impedes me in making friends and being in more open situations to meet people. Well, in my mind, I don’t find it to be awkwardness. I find it as me being myself. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t “party.” But I feel like that’s what everyone does, especially my gay peers and it’s difficult for me to come out of my comfort zone in those situations. I am obviously trying to meet new people, but the media through which I am meeting people is not deep enough to form strong bonds and friendships, if you know what I mean.
My first boyfriend and I ended our relationship before we both went to our respective universities because we knew that distance would be an issue and we needed to meet new people and gain new perspectives. It was only a summer relationship, but it taught both of us what was required for a relationship to work. Obviously I miss him a lot, and when I try and meet new people, maybe find “dating material,” if you will, I think about what we had.
And I miss that.
I miss the relationship I had with a person who was a good friend who could tell me that he loved me and mean it. I miss the text messages we would send 24/7 when we didn’t see each other. And now that I am here and I don’t have that, I crave it. My cravings for a relationship have put me in a sour mood for some of my time while I’ve been at Duke because I have been unsuccessful with starting another consequent relationship.
Yes, I’ve only been here for three weeks, so why don’t I just put the brakes on first and slow down, have fun, and get a routine going first before we even start to think about a relationship?
I have some pretty mad insecurities and self-image problems that I feel need to be fixed or suppressed, and my first boyfriend did that for me. He made me feel better about myself. Without him, I feel those personal problems seeping back into my life when now is not a good time for those issues.
When I meet somebody here who I suspect is gay, I am afraid to take the next step, in fear that upon first look, I will turn him off. Therefore, I often don’t even make the attempt.
But back to the point: Why do I have these self-image problems and insecurities? Why can’t I stop them, and do I really need a boyfriend to fix those?
The answers: I sure as hell don’t know, ditto, and no, but it would make me feel better.
If I keep a more optimistic attitude, then I should be okay, but the issue is brushing off the pessimism in my brain to welcome the optimism. I’m working on that with little avail.
To wrap this up, because I know it’s too long already, I want to say that the chocolate fountain social was the first step I’ve taken to boost my confidence, reach out of my comfort zone, and meet more people with whom I share a common interest (yes, that interest would be guys). I thank BDU and the LGBT Center for reaching out and accepting me as a member with open arms, because I don’t know where else I could get such a reception. With a little, or a lot, of work, I can truly actualize who I am.
I am gay. I am human.