January 3, 2011

Anonymous Posts (12.20.10-1.2.11)

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 :)

It's been a while, Readers. Last week we didn't get any anonymous posts :((((((((((((( but it looks like we're getting back on track just in time for the beginning of the semester (eek).

A couple things to discuss:

- The Center's facebook page has too few fans, y'all (especially considering the number of people who 'like' this (seriously, Those 5 Million People? Seriously.)). If you're not a fan yet, let's fix that now!

- Risa wrote her first post for our friends at Develle Dish (hi, Develle Dish!) today. Check it out here :)

- This is probably my favorite graphic of the break so far. (via my friend Chris Russo's (sweet illustrator and pokemon/Nicki Minaj enthusiast) awesome Tumblr)

- This NYT article has been floating around on Facebook this week. Not to knock Utah or anything, but wtf a little, Utah? These kids are so badass though, and this piece is filled with so many great moments, like: "Ms. Goddard has warned officials that such policies may violate the federal Equal Access Act— a law passed by Congress in the 1980s, mainly to protect Bible study groups in schools, that has become a prime tool for protecting Gay-Straight Alliances from arbitrary hurdles." That has to hurt a little bit.

Alright. I... think I'm good for now. Anonymous posts, yo!

You know it’s funny. Despite me being out to all my friends and my immediate family, I still have reservations about what I post on Facebook that could “reveal” my sexuality because of my extended family. Sure my sister’s own sexuality was met with support or indifference from members of both sides of the family, yet I still fill insecure about disclosing my own. College has really opened things up for me, and I feel more comfortable in my own skin and identifying my own sexuality. But I feel as if this new me is invalid when I’m around my parents or online. Maybe it’s the stigma of the gay stereotype, or my mom’s desire that I’m not as “loud” about my sexuality as my sister is. I know my family won’t mind and my parents have expressed their support, but it doesn’t stop these feelings.

Being at Duke has allowed me to be open about my sexuality. Coming back home for the holidays has kind of left me feeling smothered and choked--not only with my family (who aren't all that accepting) but with a few of my old friends who I considered very close before college. Whatever the case, I know I can't hide who I am and who I've become; a stronger, more confident and happy person. I'll be spending the day with two close friends on Tuesday. I'm going to come out to them then. This is something I wouldn't have EVER thought of doing before starting college.

Why is it that LGBT people have to come out? Straight people don't have to "come out" as straight. If it truly makes no difference that we're gay...why do we have go through a production of telling everyone?

And who should we come out to? I don't have time to tell every single person individually. I shouldn't have to... straight people don't have to.


  1. #2: I'm so glad for you! I'm sure your friends will be very supportive and your friendships will become even stronger.

    #3: I think the difference is that we live in a heteronormative society, so straight people don't have to "come out"--it's naturally assumed that they are. So for LGBT people, this heterosexual assumption can be confining, especially if their friends constantly ask them about dating the opposite sex, etc. I think a lot of LGBT feel like they shouldn't have to lie every time those topics of dating/attraction/etc are brought up. Hence, the coming out. It's an empowering and liberating act for most of those who do it, to break out of a constricting heteronormative shell and say, "Hey, this is who I actually am."

  2. #3 I totally agree with the whole not having to come out... but alas, that's tough when a great deal of the populations have a "default straight" image of everyone.

    But honestly... Please come out to the people you care the most about whether it's your family and/or best friends. They'll be the ones who need-to-know/love-you-the-most.

    But I mean... just do you. You don't have to come out to everyone. You're right! You'd be wasting the time of yourself and others. Chances are that some person will be like, "Yeah? And?"

  3. #1:
    Sometimes it just takes a little while to realize that you don't have to hide. Even if you know that everyone will support you. It's your decision and you can come out at whatever pace you feel comfortable. It will be all the better if you know that they will be supportive, but that will never invalidate your apprehensive feelings. I'm sure that your ext family would be happier if you were more comfortable telling them rather than feeling almost pushed in to it.

    I'm so proud of you! I'm totally cheering for you, even if you can't hear me! Hope it all goes well =)
    Totally agree with Steven above on post three, it's a great point and one that I was about to make.
    I know that it sucks having to declare your sexuality, but it does truly come from everyone assuming that you're straight unless you're completely flamboyant, in which case they will assume you are gay based on stereotype. It's not just you though, it's a common feeling that a lot of LGBT people seem to express. It would be great if no one assumed anything about anyone, but that's not the reality that we live in currently.

    If it makes you feel better, I'm an ally and am subject to the opposite assumption about my sexuality almost every day. I just correct them politely and move on, it hasn't been so terrible for me thus far, but that's just me.

  4. #3 – I can definitely think of a lot of reasons why someone would chose not to come out, that support your proposal. For example, threats to safety (if one were to come out), fear of parental (or cultural, or religious) reactions, a decision to lead a more private lifestyle, or perhaps a “questioning” stage where one simply isn’t even positive of how they identify. Coming out is certainly a personal decision, and it’s not necessarily right for everyone.

    In my own life though, I’ve found it really beneficial to come out and stay out, simply because it makes me feel happier and more at ease with friends, etc.

    But to run with your proposal here, let’s play out a scenario of a LGBTQ person who decided perhaps NOT to come out. Let’s say they’re male, assumed to be straight, and all of a sudden the conversation with his friends turns to dating. (I feel that’s pretty natural at some point.) Between the friends, you go around the circle until it finally gets to the gay male. What does he say if he hasn’t “made a production”….of “coming out”? Does he change pro-nouns to cover up the fact that the people he’s interested in-are men? Or does he simply say he’s not interested in anyone at all? (Or is that a lie?) And if he does decide to talk about the people (men) he’s interested in, and hasn’t “made a production” out of it, will he friends be hurt or shocked that he hasn’t revealed his gay identity to him prior to this time?

    That’s just some food for thought. I’d absolutely respect everyone’s individual decision, but in response to your question (and perhaps also answered by the scenario above) it makes sense to me to come out (if it’s safe, you’re comfortable, etc.) simply because you’re allowed to be more honest and speak more freely about people you like/are dating/partnered with. To echo Steven, it’s the result of living in a heteronormative society where people assume false things about queer individuals from the get-go.

  5. #1: You should feel comfortable coming out however you want. I wouldn't tell you to just blow off your family, but this is about you. It's not about their opinions, and it's not about relativity to your sister. Take ownership of your strengths and of your whole identity, you deserve to.

  6. #2- I can empathize with feeling sexually suffocated at home. I went back so gung ho on coming out to the entire world that I played that silly "I'm coming out" song in the car on the drive back. I didn't do it, though. It seems I forgot how difficult that environment is, how repressive, and how fortunate I am to live in a place as open and expressive as Duke.

    Next time.