September 13, 2010

Anonymous Posts: Part I
(9.6.10-9.12.10)

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 :)

Oh, ok.

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.

#1
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.

#2
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?

#3
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)

#4
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.

#5
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.

27 comments:

  1. Hey there #2, I just wanted to let you know that there are people out there who are neither hetero nor homo (nor bi) sexual, but actually asexual. From what I understand from my asexual friend, it's not that you don't like (or even love) people, it's just that no one really interests you sexually. I obviously don't know you, so maybe that's your situation and maybe it's not but I wanted to let you know that the option is out there in case you think it does sound like you.

    But it may also be that you just haven't bumped into the right person yet. Attraction is a funny thing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. #3 Major hug to you for all you've gone through. I can understand how your fear of losing your friends and social life plays a big part in your decision to not come out but, despite this being a big cliche, are these people who you are afraid might reject you really your friends if they can't accept who you are?! Sure, some of the guys might have a harder time accepting it but isn't what you guys go by "bros b4 anything else"....it's almost a for better or for worse pact and if they'd want you out of the frat (which I am sure could get them kicked off campus) screw them for not deserving you. In 1, 5 or 10 years time when you will be liberated from college and able to be fully out, will you look back and remember all the unmemorable parties you were at or rather how much you disliked hooking up with girls, being there...hurting every time a brother of yours called something or someone gay or a fag...and not being true to yourself and to your friends (i bet you $100 not even 10% of them would stop wanting to be your friends just because you are a guy who likes guys).

    You have one year left and although I don't want to tell you what you should do, as it's nobody's business to do so...I want you you to realize that the power of choice and change is yours, so don't be afraid to take a step in the dark for the sake of the candle on your side...after that darkness there might be light so bright it could blind you...all it takes is a little faith!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I want to let all of you know first of all that I really appreciate such frank honesty. It's always wonderful to see fellow Dukies sharing who they are, anonymous or otherwise. I'd be happy to talk to any of you, so just shoot me an e-mail or Facebook me if you like.

    Also know that the Center is a great place and a valuable resource. There's always someone to talk to, an event to attend or food to snatch, so go any time. There are really good people here who are involved in the LGBT community, including both those who identify and those who are allies.

    Basically, I want to encourage you all to be who you truly want to be and live your life as that person would. We all know how much it sucks to depend on others' opinions and expectations, so why pay them any mind?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Echoing what Spencer said, it's amazing to see the frank openness and honesty in these posts. Thank you to all of the authors for sharing these thoughts with us.

    # 1 - It sounds like you're well on your way towards being comfortable with getting involved, which is fantastic. Know that we would love to meet you (your post is absolutely not out of place, we love grad students!) and that there are so many incredible people in this community ready to support you if you choose to make that step. It's definitely not an easy transition to make though and it's one that takes a lot of courage. The advice I would give is to remain strong, feel secure in the wonderful person you are and confidence will grow from there. Easier said than done I know, but we're all here rooting for you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. #2 - Like what anonymous said above me, there are people who identify as asexual, perhaps this is similar to how you feel? Regardless, there's such a huge gamut of human sexuality that often labels aren't always the best things.

    #3 - I don't think you should feel as if you've missed out on the opportunity to be honest with yourself - you do have a year left after all. In fact, you've taken a huge first step just by posting this. I don't know the specifics of your situation, but I do wonder if maybe it wouldn't be as bad as losing your entire social life were more people to know? People, especially friends, can surprise us for the better so often. This was certainly the case for me in high school - I was outed and expected that none of my (mostly highly masculine, straight male) friends would speak to me again. In fact it was quite the opposite and they've been incredibly supportive. You're not alone though - it sounds like you have an amazing friend that you can confide in. There are also so many other people on this campus who would be more than willing to listen and understand what you're going through - and often they'd be the people you'd least expect. I wish you the best though and hope you'll find a way to share this with more people you trust.

    #4 - You sound really cool and open minded - not many people are as open to learning about new experiences and people as it sounds like you are. Come visit the Center anytime! No one will make the assumption that you're a lesbian and there are always super friendly people and staff hanging out there. We also have our BDU general body meeting this Wednesday at 6PM and Fab Friday this Friday from 4-6PM, which you're more than welcome to come to. We love meeting new people!

    #5 - Starting out college can definitely be tough enough without having to deal with the ending of a long-term relationship, it's not an easy thing to go through. I can't stress enough though that you don't need anyone else to fix or suppress your insecurities - you're a beautiful person all by yourself and should know that you're wonderful independent of anyone else. It's hard to hear this and even harder to accept it though - I've definitely suffered from self-image and insecurity problems before, and still do. We all do actually, it's just that 99.9% of the time everyone is wearing a mask so we don't notice that others are too. The difficult is telling and accepting within ourselves that we're amazing people who totally deserve to be happy. It's awesome that you came to the Chocolate Fountain Social, I really hope you'll come to more events in the future. As I said in some of my other responses, there're so many fantastic people/new friends in this community who would love to meet and get to know you. Hopefully we'll see you at BDU on Wednesday or Fab Friday!

    To any of the above posters, I would be more than happy to chat with any of you, my email's oww@duke.edu, or find me on Facebook. Thank you all again so much for your amazing posts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. #3: So much to say about this (and all of the posts), but before I go to sleep tonight, I want to preempt the inevitable "those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter" cliches. Because this is much more complicated than that, and I would urge responses to appreciate that sometimes those who mind do matter. And it's not so easy to just say, "well alright, fuck you. I'm finding new friends." "Just do you" is great advice most of the time, but we can't ignore its consequences. You know?

    Like I said above in the post, the best thing to do is explore options. Spencer mentioned the Center, but this might even be a bit too much. Janie Long (our hero, surrogate mother, etc, etc) holds office hours every week. The official description:

    Dr. Janie Long, Director of the Center for LGBT Life, is available to meet with any student who has questions or concerns. Making an appointment via e-mail is strongly encouraged. On Tuesdays from 1:30-5pm, Janie holds office hours in 208 Crowell Building on East Campus for those who find this location more convenient than the LGBT Center. To set up an appointment, please e-mail Janie at jlong@duke.edu.

    For what it's worth, the Center's also launching a discussion group once a month, starting September 20 (next Monday) in the Center from 7-8PM. This is something I'm in charge of at the Center and it would be awesome if you could attend. Actually, let this be my first official invitation to everyone here? See you there?

    Also CAPS, obviously, has been a lifesaver for so many people on campus (myself included). Some decisions I've made in the past three years stick out as especially smart: Common Ground and CAPS are two of them.

    I apologize that this is sort of just a cold run down of resources, but I wouldn't be able to sleep unless I listed them.

    P.S. Your best friend is a keeper. She knows what she's doing. (Hi, Best Friend, you rock.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Meh. That first part makes me sound pessimistic. Oli's right (he usually is) and we can often be surprised by people. I just don't want the sentiment to just be "well, just come out and it'll show you who your true friends are." Because it ain't so simple.

    But at the same time, if Common Ground has taught be anything, it's that People can surprise you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. No, you're definitely right Chris, it (almost always) isn't as easy as saying "ok whatever, time for new friends!" and it's important that you pointed this out. Being uprooted and having to find a whole new social circle is nothing something anyone wants.

    I didn't mean to sound trite or dismissive, more that sometimes people really can shock you with how supportive and open they can be. That doesn't make opening up to them in the first place easy though. It takes a lot of courage to do so - and sometimes it fails, but sometimes it's so, so very worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. #3: Speaking as a closet case...and struggling to overcome all the excuses I keep coming up with... are the conclusions. I understand when you say I shouldn't be gay. I myself feel I shouldn't be gay. But I can't change that, so I will go with it.

    Three things that I've come to the conclusion of that I'm trying to live: Don't be afraid. Have faith. And you always have a choice (not in the who-to-like sense. But in the "I have no choice but to stay closeted" mentality).

    If you don't fool around with girls, you're still the man. Even if you can't drink the whole handle you're still the man.

    If you have the strength to be who you really are, then you're REALLY the man.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I wanna take time and respond to a few of these individually, but I just wanna say..

    I was talking to my dad a bunch this weekend since dropping the bomb on Nana, and he was doing super great with using terminology like "coming out," "gay," "you and hilary (lol)"

    And he gave me a piece of advice. Now, let me just first say that my dad gives the best advice ever. I can't ever follow it immediately, but it's always The Best. So he says to me, "Well you don't want people in your life that are gonna make you feel bad for who you are. We all face persecution, but that's no reason to choose to keep those people in your life."

    I know, I know. It's pretty much impossible to just up and cut people off, (esp family and close friends) without giving THEM a time to process too. If you think about how long the process took you to get to this point...others are gonna need a transition too. I've figured out this is most conducive when you leave room for questions, and when you try not to cry or get angry. (I have a tendency to lose my cool).

    Ok I'm getting really off topic here, and I gotta go pick up my new (used) car. I'll be back later.

    i love all of you

    ReplyDelete
  11. #3.

    First: it takes a lot more concentrated effort to affront everyday speech ("fag," etc.) than to stand up for a single gay member of a frat. There are probably some homophobes in your frat. Still, others WILL stand up for you. And group think will be more important than the exceptions in this scenario. It might have even been harder for you to get in initially if you were openly gay, but come senior year you ARE the frat. You rep them, and they probably can't get rid of you. And [with a few exceptions] they won't want to. Majority rules.

    Secondly: don't want the (bad) publicity? Well rest assured your case is not token or novel or new. There are open-but-not-"visible" gays, closeted gays, "straight-but open-minded," "gay but not open to themselves," and all kinds of iterations in most of the so-called top fraternities at Duke—if not EVERY frat here. The "irony" (of frats being secret bastions of machismo-but not quite straight behavior) is unoriginal, even if it's an unspoken phenomenon among Those Who Take Themselves (and ephemeral social cachet) Too Seriously.

    Third: you're eventually going to GET ON WITH IT and transcend social pressures—well...that, or you'll pay for it in the same way that millions of people too timid to secure their own happiness have paid, Viz. suffering through insincerity (your own), deceit, unhappy marriages, clandestine [possibly unsafe] sexual practices, self-loathing, etc. It might seem less drastic at this vantage point, but as a good friend once told me, "it's hard to imagine compound interest." More like impossible.

    The advice: there is NO VENUE—I'm unequivocal here—within the Duke stratosphere that will ameliorate this process for you better than Common Ground. The Center for Race Relations hosts the retreat for Race/Gender/Sexuality issues once each semester, meaning you have two opportunities to apply (mind you, people have applied numerous times before being admitted, so it's not a good idea to wait). Even if you decide not to divulge anything re:sexuality, you'll still draw from the experience in cosmic and substantial and lasting and inspirational ways. It's harder alone. It's harder with strangers. It's harder with friends. Common Ground is comprised of forty people who, within the context of an intense weekend will be in NONE of these categories and thus Categorically Optimal. And I know for a fact that Common Ground is very interested in a Greek representation and perspective among its participants.

    the p.s.: You might be "the man" for your binge drinking prowess, since that's practically implicit in the pop college definition (Gays, despite having a strong contingency of prolific drinkers, might be less impressed). But a more classical definition would give you more credit for bravery—it'll behoove you to muster some for the year ahead.

    —E.F.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow. This is so awesome to see this kind of openess (echoing Ollie and Chris). Thanks!
    #1 – Graduate students are absolutely welcome in this community. =) I’m so glad the blog has been helpful! In terms of coming out, I think it sounds like you are on the right track. I’m sure it’s nerve-wracking, but maybe relating to other graduate students in organizations like DukeOUT might help you see how others have navigated these waters beforehand, and perhaps give you tips on how to do the same.
    #2 – Hey there! Questioning is awesome, to quote Jack Grote on a previous blog entry. If I was going to give you “advice”, I would just say, keep it up! It’s really great that you’ve even started this path. I might check out your resources (CAPS? Janie? Fellow LGBT friends?) for more guidance too. I don’t think figuring out your sexual orientation is a light switch-for me, it took many years and even more questions. Good luck!
    #3 - I agree with what Robert said. It’s good to keep things in perspective-think about 5-10 years down the road. Starting the coming out journey with all of the amazing resources that Duke has to offer you (the LGBT Center, CAPS, Duke Library’s HQ (LGBT) section) might be a lot easier than it would be to start this coming out process without all of these (free) amazing things to help you.
    Also, it was my personal experience that the friends I had before I came out were the same after I came out too. Those who care about you will always care about you. I your friends will really respect you for saying, "Screw it, I'm going to be ME." From my experience people here at Duke (and beyond Duke) view that really, really positively. It definitely takes a sort of confidence/strength to be who you really are. (It’s also more fun too. :D)
    #4 – Yes! You are so welcome to come by the Center! Maybe come to a BDU meeting, Fab Friday (4-6pm) or just drop by the Center anytime M-F.
    #5 - Not all of us party!! There are more social outlets than West. For example, the BDU party this past Friday night was really a ton of fun, and I was completely sober for it, like I always am. So in that sense, while there may be a perception that you're "missing out", you are actually just being yourself and doing what you enjoy. Which is way cooler.
    Something I'm trying to figure out is how I can be happy without being in a relationship with someone, because being LGBT kind of shrinks the number of fish in the Duke dating pond. From personal experience, I would just say that focusing on yourself (and all those awesome classes you said earlier that you enjoy!) might be the way to go for now. Also, making LGBT *friends* might be a better thing to "work" on. Jack has said this on the blog before, but in all seriousness, it is really cool to have a group of friends who identify as LGBT to turn to. They can relate with you on an entirely different level than others, and its something I really, really value. And it's hard to make friends with folks when you're constantly looking for Mr. Right in them. But good luck, and hope to see you around here soon if we haven’t already met. =)

    ReplyDelete
  13. To #4: Yes, if I saw you at a social function at the LGBT center, I would probably assume you're a lesbian, but you can clarify that you're not. I wouldn't be offended.

    So, if you do come to the LGBT center, prepare to accept that some people will assume you're gay and that you might have to "come out" as straight.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I get the feeling that some anonymous posts are "fake" and it bothers me. I don't want to call out any post in particular since that would be detrimental to dialogue/pointless. I'm not even necessarily referring to this specific group of posts--I'm thinking back to some old anonymous posts too. I wish people would not submit fake stories. If you want to make a point, do so directly. Don't weave it into a made-up story. I come here for real life and honesty. Fake stories are created by people with limited imaginations and they perpetuate stereotypes and untruths.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Right, 1:57. Obviously we've considered that.

    To be honest, though, when designing the blog, we only took into account (and spent a lot of time planning on how to deal with) spam and hateful stuff, etc.

    What we didn't predict that people'd make up posts and stories that we couldn't tell were true or not. Maybe just because it's jerkish thing to do? And kind of a waste of time on their part? Meh.

    Though there's obviously nothing We can do about this, I take solace in knowing that at the very least "fake" posts have some element of "truth" to them. As in they deal with Real stuff? So they start conversations that are helpful on some level.

    I very very rarely consider whether a post is fake or not. The beauty of these Monday entries for me, is that what's written is all I've got to work with. I know that I'm responding to the situation/text and not whatever I'd bring to the conversation if I knew who it was. Or even if I knew it was true or not. Am I making sense?

    Having said that, I have faith that a vast majority (like 99%) of anonymous posts are legit. Call it naivete.

    But this is also why it's nonetheless so very important to balance these Monday posts with open and visible writers.

    That means sign up :)

    Word, though, 1:57.

    ReplyDelete
  16. #4: I'm a straight ally and I've been to several BDU meetings, and I've never felt like people assumed I was a lesbian (although they may have). Everyone is very welcoming regardless of your sexuality. Some people might think you're gay, but they won't act any differently towards you if/when they realize you're straight. So I wouldn't worry about it. :)

    #5: This doesn't directly relate to your issues with being out at Duke, but I just wanted to say that I went out maybe a total of three or four times my first semester at Duke and ended up making great friends with people who also don't go out a lot. I know it may seem like everyone on campus is out getting drunk, but there are a lot of people - in the Center and elsewhere - who don't party every weekend night.

    ReplyDelete
  17. #1- First off, you're never out of place on this blog, trust me, I don't even go to Duke haha, I'm a UNC undergrad. That being said, you should feel comfortable to come out on your own time, and there are a lot of not completely out people who go to the Center, it's just knowing which entrance to go through. Most people in the Triangle are perfectly okay with it, but if you don't want to be out-out then, if you feel comfortable, you can declare your sexuality when people ask you to go out with random guys by saying that you're not interested. I can't offer much advice, but I know that if you came to the center looking for friends and acceptance, you'd be overwhelmed by the vibrance and love with which the Community operates.

    #2- So, I can't really relate but as so many people have said above me, Asexuality is a part of the LGBTQIAAPO...WXYZ nonsense, and it's a perfectly legitimate part.

    #3-Major props to you number 3! I wish I knew who you were so I could give you the biggest hug I can muster. To the nitty gritty though, you have 1 year left, but that's SO MUCH TIME! Don't feel like you missed out on anything, you're finally getting a little comfortable, so if you want to you should try to explore all of your resources! Duke has great options and I think that the best thing for you to do is to embrace your sexuality. (I know that that's a huge step since anonymity is absolutely giant for you.) If you want to be gay and okay with it, just continue to be yourself. Don't act like a "stereotypical gay guy" or whatever and don't be embarrassed about it. People at Duke are accepting and if they're not okay with your sexuality, then they're really not people you should be associating with. Also, if you've done things with other guys in your frat who might be gay or are questioning as well, then they have no place to tell you that you're weak. By the way, Summer's a beast.

    ReplyDelete
  18. #4-Hiya and welcome to the club o' allies! A great time to go to the center (as Ollie pointed out) is definitely for Fab Friday [4-6 Friday]. It's really vibrant and absolutely amazing so feel free to walk in and I guarantee if you make an effort people will be your friends.No one will assume that you're a lesbian, trust me, LGBT people don't just make blind assumptions. That, and most girls who walk in to the center with a feminine gender expression are usually first seen as allies until they identify in another way or are comfortable saying that they identify in another way.

    Just come and hang out, if you say something absolutely stupid then people will laugh it off and gently correct you. It's a lot of information to absorb at once and everyone understands that it's a learning process. I can't wait to meet you!

    #5-Well golly. I'm glad that you at least got to have that experience, and I think you should be too. Instead of thinking back like "Wow I miss him so much etc. etc." Just think "That was really great and I hope that I can find someone else with those qualities." I know it's super difficult, but try try try to make the best of it. Sometimes when we have something absolutely wonderful we seem to want to get lost in the nostalgia.

    Also, there are absolutely beautiful and wonderful people on West who don't drink or smoke and are LGBT identified, just saying. That and you can't expect radically life-changing friendships and deep connections right off the bat. You have to start out superficial. No one (especially LGBT identified people) is comfortable bearing their soul the first time they meet someone [except for CG, which I totally recommend].

    Lastly, I'd blame the insecurity issues on the fact that you're in a new place and you're still not completely okay with being gay. You might identify if someone asks you, but, when you were in a relationship, did you mention him as this guy you were seeing/your boyfriend. You don't have to scream at the top of your lungs that you're gay, it's not that big of a deal, but you do have to let people know. Otherwise, you risk making friends with people that aren't comfortable with who you are.


    To the anonymous poster above me: There haven't been any stories that have stuck out to me as being inherently fake accept for the HIV positive post awhile back which was just later . Just because something sounds a little wonky doesn't mean that it's not real. Sometimes real life is a little crazy and situations seem dramatic, but when dealing with something as delicate as sexuality, you must accept that truly anything can happen. I obviously don't know who you are because you don't want to reveal your identity so that you can speak gruffly, but people post here and post anonymously for a way to express what happens in real life and as a venue in which to speak freely.
    Next time something dramatic happens to you in regards to your sexuality that seems to mirror something off of Degrassi or another TV show, something so life-changing that you feel the only way you can adequately express it is through anon posts. Know that there are people who check this blog everyday and who will treat it without questioning whether or not it is the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  19. 1:57 - to reverse what chris said, even if 99% of these anonymous posts were "fake", it still wouldn't change the fact that it gives at least 1% a place to speak. getting advice on being closeted at Duke from a resource like this is one of the reasons I think that this blog is so valuable. I know because I did it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That was the first of what I think will be a series of many baby steps for you, #3. Be patient, and if you can keep stretching yourself like this, you will learn to love yourself just as much as I love you. Chest bump, frat-style!

    ReplyDelete
  21. #3: As a fellow Greek, all I can say is that if the bond of brotherhood that you share with your brothers is as strong as it is for my brothers and I, then nothing will matter. If you do decided to come out to them, for some of your brothers, it may be difficult for them to get used to and that's okay. All that matters is that they try to be better. The reason they may be using such derogatory language is because they don't know that it really is offensive to you. I know my brothers didn't either until I pointed it out to them. Granted, some of them still slip up and call something gay or a fag, but they instantly apologize and rephrase what they're trying to say. Give your bros some credit. They're probably a lot more open-minded than you'd expect. Oh and it's my personal experience that being gay doesn't affect your social life at all. You'll still be able to hang out with your brothers. You can still have fun at the next mixer. You'll still get invited to semis and formals. You'll actually be able to just enjoy the party without having to worry about which girl you'll pretend to enjoy hooking up with. For me, that freedom to actually just have fun was more important than living a lie. You are the man. No one can take that from you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. so chris...did you just completely censor out that entire other thread? wow.

    ReplyDelete
  23. #5- I'll pile on too and reiterate that truly not everyone parties. I don't have any taste for partying myself. I've thought about it and one of the reasons it seems like so many people party is that you're going to see the people who party a lot more easily than those that don't, because obviously they're right there at the party. But if partying isn't your thing, then find a group that matches your interests more, or invite some friends out to do something else. Go see a move, go to Jordan lake and look at the stars, go to the observatory and look at the stars, go on a Cookout run, the list goes on.

    I also want to second what megan said about looking for friends. A good group of friends can be a great support, especially when it comes to helping with self-image and insecurities. And as nice as it is to be in a relationship, I personally think that there is a very lasting quality to a deep friendship that I have never felt is quite as present in a dating relationship. And I think that megan is right as well that it's had to make good friends with people if you're always looking at whether you can see yourself dating them. I'm straight-identified myself, but would definitely say that a couple of my best friendships came when I started trying to become friends with girls I knew, and no longer trying to date them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. #2- I think I know what you mean. Although I see myself as straight, I've rarely been attracted to the opposite sex and have questioned my orientation many times. I've found that for me, the physical attraction in a large part comes with and after the emotional attraction/connection. This may be because I have trouble trusting people with physical interaction/contact, and this may not apply to you at all, but that is what I've found to be true in my own case.

    ReplyDelete
  25. hey chris,

    asking why you censored an entire thread is not a personal attack. I would appreciate it if you would post this comment this time.

    thanks,

    denver

    ReplyDelete
  26. i noticed that this post says there were 9 entries this week. where are the rest?

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is not particularly directed at #3, but more directed at some of the respondents to him:

    Sexuality is obviously a meaningful part of any individuals life, I don't think its as obvious as people here are making it out to be to choose an overtly expressed sexual identity when counterveiled with the risk of changing close friendships.

    I would agree that bigots are probably not the type of people that one would want as a close friend, but this 'those who matter don't mind' thing ignores I think ignores a lot of subtlety.
    Think about a close, platonic female friendship--best friends who feel 100% comfortable with each other, who can shower together and share a bed together and have no reservations about any topic of conversation. Is it possible to keep that dynamic unchanged if one of the individuals "comes out" as lesbian or bisexual? The issue a lot of times is less about being rejected, being persecuted (although I think in the case of #3 these are possibly worthwhile fears), but a fear about not wholly belonging or feeling entitled to relationships that strengthen us, that support us, that might be as pivotal to our "identities" as our sexuality is.

    Even if #3 comes out and is pleasantly surprised by how "progressive" and "tolerant" his brothers are, even if all his brothers become super-PC and decide to stop saying its gay to fail to consume sufficient quantities of alcohol, even if he's always invited to mixers and everyone is still nice to him, and even still cares about him as much as they did before, that doesn't necessarily mean the trade off will be worth it. AJ spoke to the idea that people will get "used to it," but who's to say that #3 or anyone else ought to prefer being an out queer whose friends have finally "gotten used to" him/her versus being a queer who trades off the need to be discreet/secretive about his/her sexual life in exchange for there not being distance and discomfort in the relationships that are most important to him/her?

    ReplyDelete